Another spectacular day in south of France, Languedoc region

Left late this morning from the villa. Stopped to take some pictures of the vineyard. Also waited for the maintenance guy to finish putting cover on pool and put away the lawn furniture for the season.
Beautiful sunny day and we decide to go back to Olargues, le plus beaux village we spied yesterday. I set the gps, put on some fabulous Italian music as I forgot to download French music (tonights project 🙂
We stopped a few times, savoured the moment, the sunshine, the surroundings and took a few quick shots on my ipad. I will share on my facebook site – if you care to check them out … https://www.facebook.com/pmacdonaldtravel
Patrimoine de Cassan was the first stop, less than 10 minutes out of Roujan. It once was established as a monestary by Charlemaine in year 805 AD. So beautiful the site, and trees, peaceful and blowing in the cool wind. The hot sun was more than enough to make this a fantastic experience, warm, and historic.  
Trees lined the two lane roads, high and old, bearing green leafy branches way up high and ancient bark down at my car level. I must have commented 20 times today at how stunningly beautiful these country roads are. Why does anyone take the highway here? I don’t want to miss a thing!! I never tire of the vineyards, row up on row of green leaves turning ever so gently as the autumn falls on the region. Some with old gnarly stems and trunks, some young and vibrant still, bright green leafy tops as if starting a new crop. Some tied to fencing and some standing alone and strong out in the fields – row upon row as far as the eye can see and the mind can imagine. Such a beautiful place. Little homes made of stone and tile, nestled in the fields and between orchards and groves of green trees. Small dirt roads, or gravel pathways for vehicles to reach the destination.  
On many roads we drove we would pass wineries signs that take the driver up a road, and there at the top would be an old huge fortress looking building… perhaps at another time it was a monastery or abbey or fortress or was it always used for a large family farm and winery? Olive groves shining silver leaves in the bright country sunshine. Wow …. inspiring me to paint with words and one day with watercolor.  
A brief 35 kms from Roujan is the hillside town of Olargues, a medieval village, also defined as a Plus Beaux Villages … one of the few identified as such in France …. it was quiet and peaceful. Only the sound of church bells ringing from time to time.  
Walked up to the old ancient Cathar church that is all but destroyed. Some revitalization make it possible to walk around on the grounds but not go inside. It was obviously built at one time on stone ground with stone walls rough from the earth.  
We went by a museum – not open. We wandered and took pictures for over an hour. One tiny store open, in what seemed to be the “centre-ville”, selling products from the region. One woman sitting at the table making what looked to be ornaments for hanging on string from a tree?? Made of fabric and ornamental decorations, perhaps glued to wood or cardboard? For sale was honey, jams, wines, oils, soaps, jewelry, and some antique nik naks.  
The views included stone structures far in the fields, indications that once people lived in them or used them for farming. One such structure had a large olive tree growing up inside, likely since the roof had collapsed so many many years ago!
The Eiffel bridge, red, and constructed very similarly to that of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. This bridge is painted bright brick red and crosses a ravine, people walk and ride bikes across it. We could see that from where we climbed.  
A river flows down below and glistens in the strong autumn sunshine. Also we could see old bridges of Roman design …. high archways of stone and brick. And below, shorter archways likely for letting water run through for human use. Brilliant and spectacular views.  
Bright blue sky, hot yellow white sun, terra cotta red roofs of tile, buildings of stone still standing and huge old doorways with heavy wooden doors and shutters still in their place doing the duty for which they were designed.
People live here. Evidence of mail post delivery, flower pots on the stone shelves and in hangers outside of windows. Cars parked and a school yard full of young people, looked to be elementary school at recess 🙂
We saw a few dogs and cats wander and no more than half a dozen people in the time we wandered. Quiet sleepy town, likely napping in the warmth of the afternoon? Even the tourist information center was ferme! No cafes or restaurants were open, although it looked like they may have been in the busy tourist season of summer. Now only quiet cobblestone streets and tiny alleyways welcomed us to their town.
We followed the same route home to the villa. All in all about 5 hours we drove and walked today …. a mere gentle 35 Kms, 70 round trip 🙂
In Herepian, we pulled a uturn and stopped in a bar restaaurant and told no kitchen till 7 pm. It is not even 4. Haha. Cool to watch the triple kisses on alternating cheek of locals greeting each other. L’artichaud is the name of the bar. It is an Americanized bar, with signs showing the distance to Miami beach, lol. Bathroom has a large poster of yoda, “may the force be with you”. 
Must be 15 people in here now. Loud with French voices, heavy accents and laughter. Coffee and beer, as well as wine being drank.
Saw two men in tight bicycle pants arrive and leave. Left at bar, two Demi casse cups from their espresso. I think they were in the bar maybe five minutes tops!  
Looks like they may have live entertainment later in the evening? We pack up and drive on from this small town. We weave our way back to Roujan.
Once we arrive we take a walk, not wanting to miss the chance to enjoy the view from the villa property in the sunshine, before we rustle up something wonderful to eat 🙂 I take another 50 photos of vineyards, grapes, vines, individual leaves and the vistas from almost every step I take.
I love this vacation! I am in love with south of France. The pulse of this place is now part of me. I will always carry with me the views, the sights and sounds of this place. I am changed by my ten days so far in France.  
So much more to write. Time to post this for now and have a drink of rose …. and a light snack while I wait for dinner 🙂
Thanks for staying with me, for travel with me and for following the blog posts.
Bon soir, and au revoir for now, 
Pamela in France!

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