Our weekends are spent working on this blog and planning the next week. We’re never quite sure where it will lead but the photos speak for themselves. This past week we visited Minerve, as small village at the confluence of two river gorges. Visitors must park on the outside of town and walk through it. We also visited Lastours which has 4 castles built on one hill. Three of the castles were Cathare castles and the fourth was built by D. Trump just to piss the others off.
Abbey Fontfroide is a beautiful place with gardens and lovely stain glassed windows. No longer an abbey, it is primarily open for tourists, concerts and art exhibitions .
The Canal du Midi through southern France is one of the oldest canals in the EU. It has a lifestyle of its own. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal_du_Midi
Peyrepertuse Castle is one of the best examples of a Cathare castle. Built into the side of a mountain, it can be seen for miles and is very impressive looking up at it and from the inside.
On the way, we stumbled on the start of an International Bike race for 23 and under racers. It’s kind a warm up for potential Tour de France riders. The link to a Youtube on the race is here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRumKYgsqo
This past week we also visited some excellent local winery’s with the thought of stocking up before we head to the UK at the end of the week. On Sunday, we attend a small wine tasting and BBQ at Domain Gayda. Beautiful clear day and you could see the snow capped Pyrenees in the distance. Met the owner of the vineyard and some charming British Expats. When we returned to Limoux, the other residents of our apartment were having a gathering in the ‘back yard’. It was a long, fun day.
This is our last week in Limoux, France. We leave Friday for the UK. We’re taking three days so we don’t have to rush too much and can take in a site or two along the way.
Limoux and southern France has been a wonderful place to visit. We really haven’t strayed too far from Limoux but there has always been something new to see and do.
We left Monday, May 8th, for Prades, France. We stayed in a lovely, 4 room B&B that looked out onto to Pyrenees. We took the ‘Little Yellow Train’ into the mountains from Villefrance-de-Conflent to Font-Romeu which is about an 1 1/2 hr. ride. Font -Romeu is a ski town and also has a large Solar Energy Testing site. The train ride was actually pretty disappointing. I would recommend driving the route instead.
We also went to the market in Prades, hiked to the Abbaye St. Martin du Canigou ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_of_Saint-Martin-du-Canigou ) which is an active Monastery. After the hike, we stopped off at the Baines de St. Thomas and relaxed in the thermal baths and topped the day with a short walk around Villefrance-de-Conflent, a walled city at the base of the Pyrenees ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villefranche-de-Conflent )
On the drive back to Limoux we stopped in Eus, another walled city, Collioure and Port Vendres on the Mediterranean where we had our first taste of Rabbit Stew.
After a day of recovery (laundry), we drove to Lastour, France where you can visit 4 castles built on the same hill. Kind of like driving to 4 corners in the US just to say you’ve been to those 4 states.
We only have 2 weeks left in Limoux before taking off to England where we’ll spend a little over 6 weeks. We’re planning several day trips, attending some music events and maybe an overnight or two to nearby towns.
So far, no major mishaps. Only a missed train, broken glasses and a few missed turns.
Weather over French countryside.
Street musician at Prades market.
A drive through the Pyrenees-
Collioure and Port Vendres-
We’re not really foodies but we did go out for a great French meal at a restaurant down the street from us. Below is picture of Kaye’s entree.
Having a car has allowed us to expand our exploration. We visited 3 Cathare Chateaus northwest of Limoux ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharism ). The countryside was beautiful and from the Chateaus you could see it all. Of the 3 we visited, Montsegur has the most dramatic story as it was the place that the Cathare rebellion was ended. Over 200 Cathare followers were burned at the stake after refusing to give up their religious beliefs.
St. Hilaire near Limoux. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Hilaire,_Aude ) and Robert Blanquette De Limoux Vineyards.
Chateau at Puivert
Rennes – le- Chateau -inspiration for Da Vinci Code
This has been a fairly laid back week and a half . We gave up our bikes on Tuesday. We’ll miss them because it expanded our territory a little and we were able to bike to the big grocery store a few miles away and stock up. Without the bikes we’re more ‘local’. I managed a swim, Kaye, a good walk or two and we did some planning for London which is only a month away.
Feeling a little restless after giving up the bikes we took the local bus from Limoux to Couiza which is about 12 kilometers away. Our intention was to walk to Rennes-le-Château which we thought was 2 kilometers from town. After walking about 2 miles uphill we realized we weren’t going to make it to the Chateau and back down and make the return bus. It was actually about 2 1/2 miles to the Chateau so we retreated back to town and walked around town until the bus came by. Some of the photos are from the beautiful church in the town of Couiza. We’ll have to save the Chateau for another day.
Chandelier in Couiza Church
Storm passing through Limoux
Attended 3 of the performances at the Limoux Brass Festival. Excellent bands and music. Everything from show tunes to New Orleans Jazz.