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A taste of the sweet life

Autumn in the Languedoc-Rousillon

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As the fog slithers in amongst the houses & just below the rooftops in our village of Azille, on an occasional autumn morning in the Languedoc-Roussillon, we know that winter is on the way.

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But before we resign ourselves to heavy sweaters and wool coats, there is still a season to be appreciated here in the South-of-France; turning leaves in the vineyards, Mediterranean waves washing onto the shop-lined beaches,

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and the freshest of seafood right out of the nearby salt waters tasting ohhhh sooo sweet...

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...plus the "orsins de mer" (sea urchins) and just look at the mountain of leftover oyster shells !

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Finishing an amazing lunch with an ever-popluar, cafe gourmand and a walk along the beach...ahhhhh Autumn!

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Halloween Haunted House in Minervois 2014

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Halloween in Azille was a success this year, this Minervois annual event is becoming an event to plan next fall in the Languedoc-Roussillon - our team, above, is an amazing blend of cultures and personalities who enjoy making visitors jump out of their skins...

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Even the decor had an impact, from spiders to candles in the cemetery...all had its place...

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and all in its place...we'll wait for you next year in Azille - whooooooooaaaaaaaa !

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Gruissan Plage in Languedoc-Roussillan

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In the Languedoc-Roussillon we have the luxury of choosing which Mediteranean beach we want to play on.  Not far from Azille, near Narbonne, are a few sunny, sandy coastlines : Narbonne-Plage, Gruissan-Plage, Gruissan-Plage de Chatelets and the drive-on beach where the Kite-surfing takes place.

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If you want to have a more private day out on the beach, choosing the spot you prefer with less sand kicked in your face and not have to lug all your beach supplies in your arms, I would choose the drive-on beach on the other side of Gruissan 'old town'.

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Access is not easy and it takes a bit longer to arrive, but it is all worth the trek out to have a piece of beach to yourself and be able to park the car right at the spot on the beach that you choose, makes the day out a lot less stressful and fun !Gruissan-wading

 

 

 

 

 

We found this view to the South...

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 ...and this one to the North...Gruissan-beach-1

 

 

 

 

We had all afternoon to play in the cool sea with the sun out bright and shiny to warm us on the sand after each plunge !

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Fins are ready...

 

 

 

 

      ...waves are rolling in.

 

 

 

 

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challenging the waves...

 

 

 

 

...the waves have won !

 

 

 

 Whatever your pleasure, the languedoc-Roussillon will offer you many choices of fun in the sun - Enjoy !

 

Abbaye Fontfroide in Languedoc Roussillon

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The Abbaye Fontfroide, near Narbonne in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the South of France, is an amazingly well taken care of historical site.  Open all year long makes even a visit in the winter a magical moment going back in time - whereas summer provides classical musicians who play within the ancient walls.  The tour guides are very informative and give out details freely, talking about the history of the Abbaye and her buildings, churches and gardens.3-abbaye-ff-entryThere is truly too much to say in a short story, so I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. The entry walls, above, gave a drinking fountain to those in need, carved out of stone and built into the wall itself - an amazing animal head dripping water from its mouth into yet another carved basin!

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The interior courtyard was my favorite space...and I could only imagine the roses & greenery that make up this center garden su1-abbaye-ff-pillarsrrounded by many marble carved pillars, each one different than the other, as you can see here. The feet of each pillar also detailed out leaves, grapes and many other amazing carvings. Over time the gardens were used for burials (11th century) and the beautiful Cistercian roses.

 

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The Abbaye church was also impressive with its 23 meter high vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows all around letting in beautiful lighting, originally not colored due to Cistercian laws prohibiting colour to not interfere with prayers.

The Romanesque style church boasts 5 bays all impressive in themselves.

 

The visit can be accompanied by dining in the restaurant at the end of your tour or have a picnic on the massive grounds and enjoy the feeling of going back in time.

Meze, on the Etang in Languedoc

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Meze, a beautiful village sitting on the Etang du Thau.

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About an hour and a half from Azille is the Etang du Thau, just off the Mediterranean sea.  It is a large estaury providing the perfect bed for fresh shellfish.  On the north side of the etang you'll find the quaint little port-town called Meze with a view of the well-known Sete to the south.

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We began our walk along the quayside with a perfect sea-breeze dusting through the sunshine.  Ambling onto a path on the edge of the etang, along paths through a bit of marshland with seabirds on one side, and sailorboarders and salt water on the other.

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Continuing through coastal vineyards we arrived back at the port to gaze at the boats moored up along the quay and restaurants offering fresh oysters, mussels and seafood straight out of the etang itself.

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We finish our morning at the table of one of these restaurants, dining on oysters & rose, among other pleasures - Les Saveurs de Thau is a great little place with amazing service & seafood!

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We finish our day driving down the western side of the etang to the small port, Marseillan village, where the Canal du Midi begins & an iced coffee calls to finish the afternoon on the edge of the quay enjoying a nice sea breeze - we are happy!

 

 Just one of the many delights in the Langudeoc-Roussillon, South of France!

 

photos courtesy of Kate Sampson

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