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Over the Mountains and Far Away ...

sunny 23 °C

We’ve been mountaineering … O.K. Anyone who knows us well will immediately smell a rat - not that we’re incapable of making a moderate climb - it’s simply not really us. So we let the car do the climbing and then we walked about a bit when we got to the top. “But which mountain top?” you may ask.
Many, many mountain tops.
For the past two days we’ve been whipping our little Polo pony up and down the Black Mountains to visit 12th Century castles like this one at Lastours…
Chateau_de_Lastours.jpg

and Abbeys like this one 13th century one in Caunes Minervois….

Caunes_Min..s_Abbey.jpg
This area is so historically endowed that it is simply a huge museum, but the real beauty is in the natural landscape. At this time of the year the mountains are an artist’s palette; the canopies of giant oaks and chestnuts glint golden against a dark green backdrop of pine, cypress and fir; acres of vineyards add wide splashes of red, orange and brown, while fields of high pasture are still lush with summer grass. In these sweet autumnal mornings, when the boulangerie’s wood smoke and fresh baked baguettes deliciously scent the village air, we watch as the warming sun vaporises the cottony blanket of mist to unveil the soaring mountains and above them, the clear azure sky.
Maybe you think we’re going a bit over the top … but we are not. Judge for yourself. Here is a valley of vineyards…

Autumnal_color.jpg

But driving in the mountains, (or even the towns), is not for the faint-hearted. The cars are generally very small, but some of the roads are too skinny for anything but a malnourished Citroen deux Chevaux, (the tiniest of French mini cars). Even our diminutive VW Polo refused to squeeze through some of the gaps that Dot, our SatNav gal, directed. Two-way single track roads thread their way along scary rock ledges and wind through ravines and gorges that are carved deep into granites and marbles by rivers that have cascaded down the mountainsides for millennia.
Here is some of the beautiful roadside marble …
Red_Marble_quarry.jpg

And when the road emerges into a hamlet or medieval village it snakes its way through impossibly narrow streets like this one …
Narrow_Village_street.jpg

Every road here should come with a warning, “Unsuitable for People with a Nervous Disposition,” but we love the wandering roads, the mountains, the medieval villages, the canal, the castles, the food, the wine …. in short - we absolutely love this place. In fact, we love this place so much that we’ve cancelled our trip to Paris to stay here another week.

Posted by Hawkson 09:24 Archived in France

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OMG! What a great blog! Such beautiful photos (breathtaking, really) and great informative text. Just sold our house here in Michigan this week.. Can't wait to go see some of the places you've visited! Merci milles fois James et Sheila..

Dona et Jean

by Dona Dugay

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