Bastille Week in Southwest France

By - July 22, 2009 (Updated: November 25, 2014)

Late Sunday night we returned from another incredible week in Monein at La Benjamine. As usual there was plenty of fantastic food, wine and many, many laughs.

I’m sad to say it will be our last trip to La Benjamine (although I’m sure we will return to the area). Our friends have sold and are moving on to bigger and better things. We are very excited about their new project, which will be in England, close to Wales (so we can cross another country off our list!) I’ll post more details as I have them. We will also be spending time with Dawn and Cedric in November when they visit us in Brussels.

This will hopefully be my last post on this version of CheeseWeb as my resident geek and I have been very busy on the new version. Fingers crossed that it will launch this week. I have many, many photos from our trip but I want to share a few highlights with you today.

Picnic Time

We were very lucky that we were able to share La Benjamine for a few days with our friends Rob and David. This was without a doubt the best picnic I’ve ever had.

Blue Lobster

We had our Bastille day BBQ in the vineyard a night early as rain was forecasted for the big day. We ended up getting a bit rained on anyway, but it was well worth it. We ate these delicious blue lobsters and a gorgeous cote de bouef and there was a bit of wine consumption… ok, a lot of wine consumption. (I’m currently accepting bribes not to post those photos…)

Gordon Ramsey

Ok, so this one was too cute to resist… Rob and David and their love child Gordon Ramsey.


To repent for our sins of debauchery, Andrew and I made a day trip to Lourdes. The cathedral was gorgeous but the religious commercialism of the city was a bit disturbing (more photos to come).


Another culinary adventure saw us making our own pizzas in the bread oven. Mine was delish!

Andrew on the Mountain

Andrew and I also spent an incredible day in the Pyrenees. We took the Petit Train from Artouste into the mountains to see the sights.

The Pyrenees

Well worth a steep climb to get this view!


All I wanted that day was to see (and preferably photograph) a marmot. Well I have over 60 marmot photos (although they are the same 3 marmots).

Mushroom Tart

No, my supper tonight will not look this good, but I did bring home a stack of recipes as well as the photos. I Can’t wait to see what’s in store for us at the new location!

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler July 23, 2009 at 00:00

    The Marmots are the cutest of all of the photos! I guess I just want to be away on a vacation! I’m crossing my fingers we at least get to go for a 3 day camp trip.

  2. Comment by Alison

    Alison July 23, 2009 at 00:00

    He is pretty cute! I have loads of photos of him (her?) and his friends. They did seem to concerned by the people that were around. I’ll send some happy camping wishes your way 🙂

  3. Pingback: Holling Grange, Herefordshire, England | CheeseWeb Travel & Photography Blog

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