Summer is drifting lazily into autumn; most of the yearâ€™s tourists have gently ebbed away for the season, leaving little behind but fond memories as they return our picturesque corner of France to the locals.
Which, we think, is a shame. Lot is rarely more beautiful than on a soft and warm early autumn day, when the turning leaves add a blaze of burnished gold to the crests of the gently rolling hills.
Anyone who has read our blog will know that we have waxed lyrical about our wonderful and beautiful part of the world before. And youâ€™ll also know that we believe the best and most relaxing way to soak up all the scenery is from the saddle.
But thereâ€™s still plenty to do even when youâ€™re not on horseback; even now, when the long, hot summer of festivals and events has wound almost all the way down.
Thereâ€™s still the natural and man-made beauty of our part of the world to enjoy – and it can stay pleasantly warm and sunny here long into October.
Well we would say that. Weâ€™re a little biased. Weâ€™re lucky enough to live here. We love it and we want to tell the world all about it, but donâ€™t just take our word for it.
Earlier this year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published the results of a global study into quality of life. And the Midi-Pyrenees, the region to which Lot belongs, was found to be the best place in France to live.
Our part of the world also boasts more astonishing historical places to visit than it is possible to shake several sticks at, let alone one.
Cordes-sur-Ciel – the beautiful medieval town thatâ€™s less than 30 minutes from ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re by car – has recently been named the best town in France by viewers of the countryâ€™s national TV channel France 2.
The history books and Wikipedia will tell you that Cordes-sur-Ciel sits atop a hill in the northeast corner of our neighbouring Midi-Pyreneesâ€™ department, the Tarn. They will say that it is a well-preserved fortified town that was built in 1222 by the Count of Toulouse, who, though not a Cathar, tolerated what other Catholics considered a heresy.
They wonâ€™t tell you will need to have an ice pack to hand to soothe your chin after it hits the floor when you first cast eyes on the place. As you walk along cobbled streets that have been there for nearly 800 years, gazing at buildings that have stood for almost as long, looking out over a landscape that has been there for aeons, youâ€™ll realise, as the pain in your chin recedes, that youâ€™re somewhere truly special.
Then, a little further along, sitting in a plain of beautiful French countryside and protected from view until it’s ready to take your breath away, is the episcopal city of Albi, one of several UNESCO World Heritage sites close to ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re.
This is where we live. And, honestly, itâ€™s hard to think of better time to be here than early autumn. So, if you can make the most of the October holidays, join us at ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re and enjoy this part of France – away from all the tourists.