April 2006 Wine Festival near Limoux

Wine Festival in La-Digne-d'Aval - April 6th a small village outside of Limoux

We drove 30km from Carcassonne in two cars. Free transport by coach from Limoux car parks to the chosen village of La-Digne-d'Aval.

A drive of around 20 minutes. Very well organized, Over 20,000 visitors last year to this annual festival, a local village is chosen each year. The festival funds pay for the restoration of the church.

This photo I took with a view to painting! This village is a painters dream, we met a nurse with a wonderful display of his art work of this village on show.

He was very happy to talk through his paintings and how he reached the finished piece of art, Sheila and I picking up idea's all the time, we live in hope.

Transport up to La-Digne-d'Aval what a wonderful free service

At the end of the coach journey, a horse drawn carriage awaited us, for transport up the hill. We choose to walk up, enjoying the atmosphere on the way. Coaches back and forth to Limoux from 10am till midnight. We were 1st coach to arrive, thought we would enjoy going early, beat the rush, a good move.

We left around 5.30, thousands of people started to arrive for the evening, what a fun a day the six of us had. No one selling wine to take home, which was disappointing for us.

Pretty Village setting, round with church in the middle very 14th Century, Languedoc style.

We paid 5 euro's each on entry and where given a special wine glass all engraved, plus tokens for four glasses of wine of your choice. after this the cost was 10 euro's for a plastic jug (yours to keep) containing a full bottle.....the wine we were drinking, Limoux's famous white, also chardonnay, red, and a sparkling wine. Limoux is very famous for its white wine, making sparkling wine since 1531, long before Dom Perignon. I think this is one of my favourites, they make a wonderful Chardonnay. This wine is enticing me from red wine. It was a magic day, helping to play a part in this villages history, also learn more of the wine growing in this area.

Different methods of ploughing between the vines over the years, were being demonstrated.

Languedoc-Roussillon area (covers 740,300 acres). Source of one in 10 bottles of the world's wine. After centuries of being regarded as a source of cheap wine, to be served from jugs or blended with produce from other parts of France. This area is the largest single wine growing region in the world, it is finally now beginning to develop it's potential, now named land of promise, 290 million bottles are now being produced. No wonder they like to celebrate, any excuse to taste the produce, they have many festival's over the summer, we look forward to being around, when the grapes are collected and celebrate a good year.

The village dressed up, also their gardens, windows, much pride was shown here.

Some of the crowds around the centre stage, we had a table in the tented area, out of the sun.

A wooden model is made of each church that has benefited, with help from these festival's.

Each village benefits in many ways not just the church, it is a chance to restore and get the village ready for presentation and celebration and the many visitors it will bring.

Wonderful sample of different foods available throughout the day, constant fresh bread supplies.

John, Irene, Des, Janet, Sheila and Louise toasting the day.

The six of us had a wonderful lunch BBQ veal, chips and a couple of wines to wash it all down, Louise visited the patisserie and we enjoyed a wonderful desert, sitting under a canopy, watching the presentation, and the parade of the wooden churches, (goes on far too long, perhaps because I don't understand the language too well).

It felt like a July summer's day today, as we sat chatting enjoying the atmosphere and sun.

We enjoyed a band playing as we watched apple juice being made also bread being baked, outside in an old army truck. We managed to buy bread supplies for home, still no wine for sale to take home.

Home made Apple juice, made the old fashioned way, good leeks... fed on wine I think!

A good walk following the parade, as we explored the village it helped us burn off lunch and the samples we had over the day.

Our carriage back to the coach, myself, Des, Sheila, & Louise. John & Janet followed on foot

We enjoyed the journey back to Carcassonne via horse, then coach back to Limoux visiting a cave (place selling local wine) on the way home, but no wine could be sold on this day! We finished off the day on the Moet with some good cheese and a digestive, good day had by all.