Saint-Ferréol is a ten-minute drive from my home in the Lauragais, and with temperatures forecast to top 40 degrees Celsius this afternoon, I’ll be going there for a swim as soon as I finish writing this post. Thomas Jefferson, in contrast, was more interested in the engineering aspects of Saint-Ferréol because it is, in fact, a reservoir, not a lake.
It seems that during his travels, he acquired a taste for the wines of my area. When he died in 1826, his cellar inventory recorded the presence of 49 bottles of Blanquette de Limoux, a tipple which promotes itself as the oldest sparkling wine in the world. There’s a claim I shall enjoy investigating another time! Perhaps I’ll start my research by opening a bottle this afternoon after my swim in the lake - or reservoir - of Saint-Ferréol.
Finally, here’s a picture of the reservoir when it was drained in 2017. After 350 years of service, the dam walls needed some repair work!