Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Long Day in the Languedoc

Wednesdays come around quickly and its off to another day's memories in the Languedoc. The photos on this post are of ruins we saw on our drive back to Saint Chinian. They absorbed my imagination as much as Carcassonne, but with no tourist in sight - that is except for us. I wish I knew the history behind these ruins.

The day started with overcast skies and a little drizzle – it only added to the texture of the village. We walked across to the Marche only to bump into our new found friends, Rob and Wendy. After purchasing the needed requirements we returned via the Marie to see if the library was open to access the Internet. No such luck, closed for one more day.

We decided to take a mid-morning drive into the mountains, the other side of Saint Chinian to Saint Pons. The road was wide and smooth, obviously built not too many years ago although one could imagine how nail-biting it would have been several decades ago. Along the way, there was a car pulled over to the side of the road. A local had decided it was time for lunch and was enjoying a baguette and a bottle of wine while his dog sat patiently waiting for any leftovers. His wife sat in the car.

We arrived in Saint Pons and walked across the car park to the Marche and casually started shopping when one of the staff ushered us to the door. We didn’t realise it was their two hour lunch break – nothing comes between the rural French and their lunch.

We returned to our villa to enjoy a baguette with a tasty pork terrine with cheese washed down with a beer.

After our lunch we were ready to explore more of the local area and took a drive to the west of Saint Chinian. The villages of Villespassans, Assignans and Cazedarnes deserved more time to discover on foot but you feel like you may be intruding on the resident’s privacy. These are villages without any commercial outlets but most have their churches and Marie. Most have lovely winding back lanes and seen from above have a snail shell layout. The back laneways are difficult to navigate, even a small car like the C3.

We reached a charming larger village called Cessenon-sur-Orb. Its central area had a few shops, bars and cafes opposite its picturesque church. We’d been without the Internet since Paris and we were keen to share our journey with friends and family. Sue had discovered that the best information on Internet cafes came from the local teenagers and so as a group of young boys and girls walked towards us, she asked them if there was Internet access in the village. Yes there was and the kids directed us back down the road to where we proceeded to send news home.

On the return to Saint Chinian from the corner of my eye, on the hill tops I thought I saw what looked like ruins. We turned up a small dirt road that meandered into the hills and there at the highest point was what centuries ago would have been a small community. The stone ruins took the shape of a small church, a castle and several other smaller buildings amongst the overgrowth of shrubs and blackberries. The buildings seem to have only small slits as windows. I assumed that it dated from medieval times and the it was built in this location for a commanding view of the valley below.
That night as we relaxed in our lounge room we heard English being spoken from the building across the street. Peering through our window we saw two middle aged ladies having a glass of wine on the balcony. We were invited to join them.

Lyn and Karen were from Canada and we exchanged viewings of each our villas. From the outside some of the villas look nothing but once entering the front door, some amazing decoration appears. Their villa was quite modern inside where ours retained much of the old world charm.
A long day was concluded with Wendy and Rob joining us for coffee.


  1. What an interesting post. I love looking at ruins and imagining what they were, and what went on in them . It always has a sad side though, that they should be allowed to get into that state. That one tower with what looks like two eyes and a nose with how the windows are placed is very interesting. Diane

  2. It was a great little sight-see and the people whom we rented the Villa from emailed me with some further information that I may add next Wednesday.
    I'm told that my photos show that it is actually cleaned up since he was last there.


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