Friday, December 24, 2010


In a week where over a million people have had their Christmas plans delayed, or cancelled completely, due to Heathrow not being able to cope with a bit (30 tonnes roughly?) of snow, after allegedly having spent less than half of what their Chief Executive earns in a year on preparing for this winter, I must admit to feeling all kinds of lucky when not only was my flight not cancelled, but the trains to get me to Heathrow all ran perfectly, my out-of-date Qantas Club card got me into the British Airways Club Lounge, my flight left on time, I got an emergency aisle seat, AND the plane arrived in Basel early!

Of course, I did arrive in Switzerland to find that my brother had parked the car in France but, these things happen!

After a lovely evening spent wandering through the Christmas Market in Mulhouse (sadly, pronounced "Muloose", not "Mull House", which I imagined implied streets flowing with mulled wine, or at least streets filled with houses in which one could drink mulled wine) and admiring the beautiful buildings lit up with beautiful Christmas lights, we filled our stomachs with crepes filled with boeuf before heading back to our cosy hotel for hot cups of good ol'Aussie-style Lipton tea.

Having had a delicious sleep in... until 8:15am... (accordingly to my brother, this is quite a late sleep in!) we managed to cram our five-selves into the car along with our mountainous pile of luggage, and made the short journey to Fayl Billot where my sister-in-law's husband's mother-in-law and her husband were busy trying to cram two days worth of cleaning and preparation into two hours.

Sitting down to local bakery delights for lunch

Liz and Charles (said sister-in-law's husband's mother-in-law and her husband) are the owners of a renovators dream in Fayl Billot - an enormous French house that could easily have been a small hotel in a past life, it's that big. They are determinedly working their way through the three stories they now own, each of which need a lot of work done but each of which will be absolutely lovely once done. I have fallen completely in love with my room, which has three different kinds of wallpaper peeling off the walls and a ceiling mottled by sections of plaster having fallen off, burn marks evidencing a fire from a few decades ago, and the odd glimpse of wooden beams. I have a lamp that looks like a flower, a bed with an electric blanket, and a fan heater that imitates a fire burning over hot coals. I love it!

Since tomorrow and Christmas Day will both be filled with lots of quality kitchen time in order to produce our two-day Christmas food bonanza, tonight for dinner we went out and ate at a gorgeously rustic French restaurant run by a family that lives in the same building. In fact, it was almost like you were sitting in their rather large lounge room (complete with comfy recliner and fleecy blanket in front of the TV), in which they had conveniently placed several tables and chairs, and a bar. I ordered what I thought was pate, and instead enjoyed a delicious liver and red cabbage entree, followed by peppered boeuf steak and frites for main, fromage, rouge wine, and flambéed bananas for dessert. Frites, fromage, boeuf, flambéed, rouge... See, been here less than 48 hours and already sounding like a local. Beauty mate!


  1. Nice to read your entry on Faylbillot. We have a hosue there and have wondered how the renbovation of the one you visit was going. Quite a task!

  2. Your blog is delightful.
    Last year we bought a house in Fayl-Billot. The grenier windows caved in under the weight of the snow in December. Unfortunately we are not in the position to stay in our "renovators opportunity" - no loo, water or power - but contemplated a Christmas visit. I've just changed my mind. I would appreciate any contacts in the village who may be interested in meeting and/ or helping a couple of Francophiles.


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