Perches blog le festival des lanternes

Chinese Lantern Festival

The Chinese Lantern Festival is taking place near the Domaine de Perches.  A good enough reason to come to this part of France in December or January and stay at the Domaine de Perches. This is a wonderful way of enjoying the town of Gaillac at night, fully lit with Chinese lanterns and the amazing winter colours of the surroundings countryside at this time of year.

The Gaillac region is usually known for its wonderful vineyards and historical bastides or the medieval city of Albi. But now, all of a sudden, Gaillac is the talk of France thanks to the stunning, world-renowned Chinese Lantern Festival, Festival des Lanternes. It is the first time ever it has appeared in France or even in Europe. The event opened at the beginning of December after having taken two months to construct by the 40 members of the team. It remains open until the end of January.Chinese Lanterns

The Chinese Lantern Festival has been so popular – 14,000 visitors last Friday alone – that there was even talk of extending it for a further two weeks. Attendance figures are already almost hitting the 150,000 mark – above the predicted 100,000. People have come from right across France but also from Italy, Spain and the UK to see the enchanting display.

The festival celebrates Chinese culture originating from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) in the town of Zigong in the Sichuan Province which has been given the pseudonym ‘Lantern Town of the South Kingdom’.

Chinese LanternsHeld at the parc Foucaud, itself listed as a place of historical interest, the exhibits are spread right through the park, creating a dreamy, glittering backdrop as night falls. The lanterns themselves are shaped to represent ancient stories and myths. But there are also exquisite hand-made models of animals. There is the field of zebra, the panda forest and the dazzling 80m-long dragon, which is made up of thousands of pieces of crockery laced with tiny lights.

Chinese Lanterns

There are over 100 different hand-made sculptures. They are built from silk, paper, glass and porcelain and individually lit up. Many stand over 10m tall. Aside from sculptures of animals, there are also pagodas and temples. There is even a specific nod to Gaillac itself.  To reflect the town’s history of winemaking, several exhibits in the shape of wine bottles and glasses have been built especially.

So why Gaillac?

The mayor, Patrice Gausserand has explained that Gaillac and Zigong are twinned. As such, the Chinese Lantern Festival enhances the cultural relations between the two. Plans are already underway for a possible repeat-performance in 2018 and maybe beyond…..So keep your eyes open and consult our Blog or Facebook page regularly as we will keep you posted once the dates are released.

Dîner à la table d'hôte du Domaine

The art of French cuisine in the Tarn

The art of French cuisine in the Tarn

Pear & Goat Cheese Salad

The art of French cuisine in the Tarn is based on fresh local produce and aims to create appetising, healthy and balanced dishes. There are excellent local wines, many from the Gaillac region, to complement the food. The organic movement is gaining strength amongst the local winemakers, and is reinforcing the continuing quest for quality, and hence enhancing its reputation.

Many traditional dishes of the area, like magret de canard (duck breasts), pear and almond tart, cassoulet (duck, porc and bean stew) or foie gras (duck liver) are well-known as winter dishes, and are on offer at almost every restaurant in South West France. But the wide variety of local, seasonal, top-quality foods means that there are many other excellent, summer menus to discover, notably in the cuisine at the Domaine de Perches.

The art of French cuisine in the Tarn

The art of French cuisine in the Tarn depends on the freshness and quality of produce of local farmers. There are markets in Albi, Gaillac, Carmaux, and Castres two or three times each week, as well as direct suppliers. They offer excellent vegetables, ‘red-label’ veal from the nearby Segala, every kind of summer fruit from the Lot-et-Garonne, melons and goats cheeses from the Lot, and ewes milk cheeses from near Cordes.

Dishes and menus

All our summer menus at Perches aim to combine four dishes to offer contrasting, yet complementing, tastes in a balanced meal. All start with a chilled soup, each based on a fresh local vegetable – with fruit, herbs, and  spices to enhance the savours. The salad which follows adds a contrasting pleasure from a local cheese, fresh-water fish or local cured meat.