... Be sure to read about the La Cascade !!
La Cascade is the name we've given the 17th century house we’ve renovated in the South of France. It's in the medieval village of Durfort, a twenty-five minute walk from Soreze where we've given workshops for the past three years. The name La Cascade well suits the house because it's on a mountain stream whose waterfall fills the house with its music. There's a terrace overlooking the stream where we eat by candlelight under the stars. It is a large three story house that sleeps eight people, has a large living room with a fireplace, a dining room with French doors onto the terrace and a huge studio on the top floor complete with ancient beams and skylights. It’s taken three years to finish the house because we’ve installed modern bathrooms and a gourmet kitchen as well as furnish the rooms with paintings by Suzanne L’Hoste and Carole Watanabe, not to mention treasures found in village antique shops and flea markets.
Durfort is an artisan village that's been devoted to the making of copper vessels for centuries. Because of its location at the foot of a mountain gorge, there's a natural supply of running water that's necessary for tempering copper vessels. In fact, many of the streets have a channel of fresh running water down the center. La Cascade is located on such a street. The address is 27 Rue des Martineurs, or street of the copper beaters. There are several shops in town that sell everything from bed warmers to cookware made of copper. Les Montagnes Noir that rise so dramatically above Durfort offer miles of hiking trails. One can start from the front door and hike forever. Golden fields of sunflowers take over where the forested slopes end, a pastoral contrast to the rugged beauty of the gorge.
There are many nearby points of interest. Soreze with its jazz café and art scene is just next-door. There are many beautiful villages within easy driving distance, some of which are listed by the French government as Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Carcassonne is only 45 minutes away and Albi, with its great cathedral and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, is a little over an hour's drive. There's a large swimming lake about 15 minutes drive into the mountains and, if you continue through the mountains on the road to Carcassonne, you will pass through ancient stone villages that were Cathar strongholds in the 12th century. One such town has revitalized its economy by becoming the book village, a paradise for people who collect old images, antique books or materials for collage. We always come back from Montolieu with a treasure or two. Just outside of the book village there's a studio for making fine hand crafted paper and books that also has a fine collection of art books for sale. We usually make a point of stopping at the pottery on the way back. Even when our bags are full, we manage to find space for some charming little piece that we wouldn't find anywhere else. The graceful old city of Toulouse, an hour and a quarter away, has much to offer - from fine domestic and civic architecture to wonderful restaurants and a good art supplies store. You can view the city from aboard one of the tour boats that ply the Garonne.
Follow our progress from the beginnings and through the ongoing story of La Cascade. Share the adventure via our wonderful photolog. We think it's a good time to manifest our dreams; it's our way of voting yes to fraternity through creativity. In fact, La Cascade is in the region of France known as Languedoc, which in an ancient French dialect means The Land of Yes.