Friday, April 10, 2009

A Grand Getaway


Beautiful blues everywhere

As the rain beats down on Aveyron, I'm fondly thinking about my somewhat sunny three days spent with a friend and fellow blogger in the Minervois. This major wine-growing area is less than a three-hour drive from here, yet I have never really visited it.

My partner in crime -- notice the Perrier. So don't go thinking we were drinking it up or anything!

An interesting aspect of this type of weekend is that both the guest and the host feel like tourists. I of course was getting to know the region, while my friend got to "play the tourist" and visit some places she had never been, such as the stunning Abbaye de Fontfroide:



Columns fashioned out of local marble in the cloisters of the Abbaye de Fontfroide

I enjoyed checking out Narbonne, a medium-sized town that is the sous-préfecture of the Aude department. I guess it's about as big as Rodez -- but the resemblance ends there:

Colors abound in Narbonne

I also fell in love -- no, nothing that exciting. Let's just say I really took to the village of Bages (also the locale of my last Wordless Wednesday post.)


The charming village of Bages

There's so much I could say --I loved this much-needed getaway: three days filled with intriguing visits, great conversation, delicious food, and nice wines (okay, so we didn't just drink Perrier)

My stay ended after lunch at a wonderful crêperie (La Table Bretonne) near the cathedral in Béziers, a fascinating but somewhat decrepit city that is one of the stranger places I've visited in France:


Creepy shutters above a large, thriving bookstore in Béziers

Béziers has plenty of crumbling architecture and bizarre storefronts -- call it my kind of town!

18 comments:

Loulou said...

I love the photos you took of the buildings in Béziers and Narbonne!
It was a wonderful to be a tourist in the region again. I am so glad that you came down!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Gorgeous! It sounds like a great time!

Betty C. said...

Loulou -- I have so many nice photos it was hard to pick. That's a good one of you, I think. I got quite a few comments on my Facebook album of them, did you see that? I put up about thirty there.

Rebecca -- thanks, it was a lovely trip. So many wonderful things to see and such a different feel to the area compared to Aveyron.

Randal Graves said...

Very groovy shots. So many interesting places to see over there.

Betty C. said...

Randal, a good time was had by all, as they say. The first photo was taken in Poujols-Minervois -- does that ring a bell?

spacedlaw said...

Lucky you(s)! Those places look wonderful.

Betty C. said...

spaced -- They were. It's hard to get used to this gloomy, dark Easter weekend when I think of what I was doing last weekend!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Oh, what I would not give to be there now.

Cabin fever has taken hold of me, along with some on-the-job challenges and some eldercare issues. I cannot get away just now, although it would be tempting to empty the savings account and just go.

I crave France. The feeling is almost physical.

Mimi

Betty C. said...

Hi Mimi -- Nice to hear from you again. Comments like this make me realize that I don't always appreciate what I have...that said, I got pretty bad cabin fever too this winter. I only got out of Aveyron twice in about six months, for one-day work trips to Paris that are fun enough but oh so short...

RennyBA said...

The town looks beautiful and so does your pics - thanks for sharing!

Wine-growing; what a great taste of spring :-)

Happy Easter!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Such a wonderful trip, and with Loulou too!!! You must go down to that region more often, great photos ..:-)

A World in a PAN said...

I discovered Minervois (the wine) ... in Beijing. A French friend was from that area and they had brought with them many many many bottles of Minervois (they had to do a lot of entertainment French style, they are diplomats). Since then I have a special liking for Minervois as it is linked to very happy memories.
I enjoyed reading your experience.

Le laquet said...

Simon and I have spent sleepy afternoons wandering through Bages and Narbonne whilst camping at the beach there - lovely memories! Glad you had a fab time!

The Duchess said...

Oohhh, the next time you and Loulou get together in Beziers, please let me know, I'd love to meet you both! Glad to hear you had a nice few days. Isn't it great what just a few hundred km can do for the psyche?

poppy fields said...

Great photos> Not far, but such different scenery :)

Betty C. said...

Renny, Anne -- It is a gorgeous area. Can't wait to get back, actually.

Le laquet -- That's interesting that you know Bages. I had never heard of it. What charm! It looks like a great place to read, rest and write.

Duchess, oh, I think you are from Béziers, aren't you? I will keep that in mind. I do hope to get back to the area.

Poppy -- I felt the same way. The difference between Aveyron and the Minervois is, I think, even more striking than the difference between Provence and the Minervois. I need a dose of the "real" South from time to time -- preferably without the heat, though, which we definitely didn't have to deal with!

Mélanie said...

It sounds like you had a good time ! I don't know Beziers , I should go there to visit , one day

Tinsie said...

Looks like you had a great trip. Your photos are amazing, particularly the one of Narbonne!