Friday, February 9, 2007

A Stolen Travel Guide to Languedoc/Rousillion

Monsieur Reid here. I thought I'd shamelessly edit/steal from the Rough Guide to Languedoc & Roussillion that is here in our Leran rental house to entice some of you to the region. This area is not Paris with it's high prices and legendary snooty waiters we always hear about. Nor is it Provence where tourists can outnumber residents. I love both those places and have had wonderful visits, however I don't think I could live there, much less afford to buy a house.

So here are the top places not to miss when in the Langedoc/Rousillion. Some comments will be taken directly from the book because we haven't even scratched the surface of this area.

1. Le Grotte de Niaux-prehistoric cave paintings similar to Lascaux.

2. Train Jaune-a little yellow working train running high up into the Pyrenees.

3. La Petite Camargue-"Little Argentina" , like the real Camargue with horses, cowboy like fellas and open space.

4. The Orb Valley-A spectacular river valley with villages and views.

5. Collioure-A beautiful and interesting villiage on the Mediterranean coast.

6. Tauromachie-Bullfights French style, they don't kill the bull. If you want Spanish bullfights, they are two hours away in Barcelona or further in Madrid.

7.Rabastens-A medieval church with spectacular stained glass windows .

8. Le Canigou- A snow capped Pyrenees mountain sacred to the Catalonians.

9. St. Roman - a medieval monastery apparently in caves hewed out of the banks of the Rhone.

10. Seafood - No comment necessary.

11. Montsegur- I can see it from here. A mountain top fortress where the Cathars, overwhelmed by the forces of the Pope, were burned to death for their heretical beliefs.

12. Nimes amphitheatre- Bullfights and other spectacles in a Roman amphitheatre.

13. Oppidum D'Enserune- A pre-Roman settlement. That's PRE.

14. Beaches- An hour and a half from Leran.

15. Cordes-sur-Ciel- A great little hilltop village reminiscent of Italy.

16. Swimming at the Pont Du Gard- This ought to be at the top of the list and no mention of swimming involved. Christ, it's a three tiered aqueduct built by the Romans spanning a huge gorge, the Rive du Gard. I believe its right on the fuzzy borderline with Provence, but like Montana claims Yellowstone on their maps, Languedoc lays claim to the Pont du Gard.

17. Water jousting- In Sette, a centuries old sport in fantastic boats.

18. Cirque de Navacelles-Adramatic ox-bow canyon that with some cedar trees and red rock would fit right in back in Utah.

19.Christmas traditions-I guess they have some traditions which sets this area apart from the rest of France. Ho hum.

20. Outdoor activities- Yes, for France this is the real thing. The Pyrenees and the Canal du Midi and the beaches.

21. Pezenas- An ancient town with an old Jewish Ghetto. The main attraction now is the brocante, or antique vendors. Lots and lots of them.

22. Carcassone-The most famous walled city/castle in France. Look up pictures of this on the internet. Why it's down here at number 22 I can't imagine.

23. Toulouse-Lautrec- The museum in Albi is worth the trip because it has the largest collection of Lautrec's work anywhere. And Albi is an interesting city.

24.Aigues-Mortes- An ancient fortified seaport village that is now miles from the sea. It is one of few examples in France of a city built on a grid rather than in the more organic, natural fashion.

5 comments:

Noah said...

...And,
proximity to barcelona and the fascinating connection to Catalonian culture/food
Cotes Du Roulssion villages wine
Gerard Gauby (one of the moost famous winemakers in the area)
Proximity to Limoux where sparkling wine was most likely invented
Proximity to Bayonne as in Jambon de Bayonne
Which is Close to San Sebastian in the basque region of spain, where they speak possibly the oldest surviving language in the world
Domaine Les Roc des Anges, Marjorie Gallet, one of the top up and coming wine makers in france, she is in montnar near perpignon.
Why would anyone need to be enticed to visit? This is one of the coolest parts of the world. At least if you like eating and drinking.
Im hungry.

Doug said...

No eating and no drinking around here, Noah. We are here for the bookstores and the churches. Some really great churches near here.

d said...

how far is eurodisney? is there ANYTHING to do or what!!?? do you have cable? french fries?

Noah said...

Nothing like a big long book in a language you dont understand...

sarah alexander said...

yeah, and then try to imagine reading it in FRENCH!