P1090909Carcassonne has been encouraging property owners in the center of town to freshen up their façades. At first, the results seemed garish amid the predominantly sandy shades of plaster past. Painted ladies. But now that so many have been done, the effect is festive. P1100777P1070868It’s also an opportunity to hide all the wires that have accumulated over the decades. As one of the historic preservation people told me, folks put in an electric line for one lightbulb per room, then they added lines as they added radios, refrigerators, and other appliances, usually without redoing the wiring, and just bundling everything on the outside, because these walls are stone, as thick as an arm’s length. Indeed, the wiring in our apartments was frightful, and we had it completely redone. I see lots of hanging wires still, but the regulation is to hide them, so it must be coming.IMG_1535The central square, Place Carnot, fairly gleams now. Above and below. All those colors are so Instagrammable.P1090755IMG_1534P1090122Even the safety netting was celebratory.IMG_1532The main street, rue du Verdun, also is looking smart.IMG_1017IMG_1015Below, a façade that has seen some history. Those claw-like things are to reinforce where the wall is threatening to buckle.P1100775I kind of enjoy the traces from the past, like the walled-over door. But there’s a fine line between character and disrepair. I’m also chuckling because I took these photos over several months and somehow the sky is consistently azure.

More visitors are arriving this week, and I have to keep this short so I can finalize preparations. On the menu: asparagus omelette, strawberry-mushroom risotto (my kid’s new specialty), cheese soufflé (which I have had my past two rounds of visitors make and it was perfect both times, proof even beginners can make it!), and chocolate mousse.

I’m sure we’ll see some fun things to share soon.

29 thoughts on “Facelift

  1. I’m curious about how these facade changes may mirror or cause changes within individuals the community. The shift from uniformity and blending to more distinct identities and boundaries with color may not be a small thing, yes?

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    1. That is an interesting observation. The color palette has expanded, but there is still a cohesiveness. I will have to pay attention for hints of what you describe.

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  2. The “claw like things” reminded me of a small town that we once lived in. A lot of the older two story buildings in town had a row of stars across the middle of the second story. I asked what those were for and was told that they had run long pieces of pipe thru the building and capped each end with stars to keep the buildings from coming apart! I thought that was so smart and I was glad they had done that. Now I’m think they would just knock the buildings down and build a parking lot! A lot of times the old ways are the best.

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    1. The walls in the center are so thick that the interiors are almost like caves, staying cool even though it’s hot outside. So yes, it would be a real shame to tear down such construction.

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  3. I love the charm of the different colors but I hope they keep the history and not try to make it too 21st Century. Your menu sounds wonderful. I would happily make the cheese soufflé… with your help. xoxox, B

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    1. Just come!
      I think you can see the buildings are little changed. One thing we lose is the traces of old advertisements. But to get rid of weird wiring, historically inaccurate PVC window frames and other atrocities, it’s worth it.

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    1. Those were original colors with natural dyes originally but they faded very quickly. You might notice some of them inside historic buildings that have not received too much sunlight over the years.

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      1. Yes, we also live in the Aude and have watched my neighbour’s egg yolk yellow house fade to a much more subtle colour!
        We are using quite a few natural pigments to decorate inside

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  4. I love seeing the changes but I agree with you, I hate to see the advertisement lost. That said, wires and other extraneous stuff on the outside of the buildings is ugly and I am happy to see it gone.

    I hope that you are having a wonderful time entertaining. The menu sound delicious, please share your recipes.

    I was thinking of you thins weekend, my new neighbors who are from France brought me a scrumptious lemon tart! I had never had this particular tart and I enjoyed it immensely.

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    1. Oh, I would love to make yyou my lemon tart–the custard is classic but extra sour with less sugar and more lemon zest, the crust has walnuts and the unique touch is the wild blackberries that I press into the top. The blackberries contrast perfectly with the lemon, both in color and in flavor. Blackberries are so intensely sweet–quickly too sweet–but the sour lemon balances it.

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      1. Your tart sounds amazing! I would love to try it! Someday when I am back in France, I will make a trip to “your neck of the woods” and perhaps you can make it and let me watch so that I can learn your secrets!

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  5. The candy colors are very festive. They remind me of my last trip to Nice, meandering through the old part of the city. (So clever to camouflage the wires ainsi.)

    Your menu sounds delicious, by the way. I live on takeout salads these days – very healthy — but not terribly exciting. Your culinary skills impress me! And make me hungry!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Really too bad about the old advertising. The buildings look good, and I’m surprised they are rejecting the horrible pvc windows that are everywhere in France. Is it really true? And if they’re already there, must they be changed. It could be a hardship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The violations come down when property changes hands–somebody (negotiable) has to put it back to regulation. So if the place isn’t sold, then the PVC stays.

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