Hello Everybody! Les and I have just had another beautiful weekend in Languedoc, this time centered on the Valley of the Orb, a lovely river that descends from the mountains to the west of our little village. Here are the highlights:
Friday evening, we went to a lovely little town called Lunas, to attend a piano concert featuring Paulo Lopes. A little Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Schubert, but our favorite was "Suite Espagnole" by Albeniz. The town itself is absolutely gorgeous! Check out our picture album entitled Lunas to see for yourself.
Saturday morning, we started off in Cessenon-sur-Orb, the town where we'd celebrated Bastille Day on July 14. There's a market there on Saturdays, and I've added some new market pictures to the Cessenon album, as well as pictures of our salads. I also created a new "Food" album, because we're finding it such fun to photograph all the lovely healthy food we're eating. People around us seem to get a kick out it--I tell them I'm doing a blog and they nod and smile. They probably think we're crazy, but who cares?
From Cessenon, we drove to Saint-Chinian, another lovely river town, famous for it's wine (Appelation Saint-Chinian). Here, the river really does "run through it", as you'll see in our picture album St. Chinian. We stopped briefly on the town square for their "vide-grenier" (flea market), and walked along the river a bit as well.
And then, on to our "Ballade" (hike), which was labeled "difficile" and was instead impossible! This one started with stone steps--up, of course. We went up for an hour, and decided that we'd better turn around. To get an idea of the French attitude about guard-rails (or LACK of guard-rails) in precarious spots, check out our album called "Exploring the River Orb". There were places I CRAWLED over, rather than risking losing my balance and tumbling into the rocky landscape below. It was scarier going down than up, but we did it. Finally at the bottom again, we found the origin of the running water sounds that had been haunting us, a lovely swimming hole where people (much smarter than we are!) were frolicking.
Then we headed to a small village called "La Tour sur L'Orb", to find the "Chapelle de Saint-Pierre de Brousson", for yet another concert, once again in a vineyard, accessible only by a dirt road. Sebastien Vachez, guitariste francais, played some personal compositions as well as some "Valses Breziliennes". It's amazing how many people (about 70) they can pack into a tiny space (12th C) like that. We love watching the place fill up, and listening to the people chat. Lots of native French, a few British, and a few German, but no other Americans.
Our biggest surprise was upon leaving the concert. We were stopped, before crossing the tiny bridge from the vineyard into the little hamlet, by.....a herd of GOATS! Check out the album and you'll see them coming over the bridge, checking out our car, and then going on into the vineyard itself. Maybe they wanted to go to the concert as well!
Sunday found us at the big market in Narbonne, an ancient Roman town. They even have a part of the old "Voie Domicienne"(Domitian's Road) , c 100-200 AD, uncovered in the town square. You can also visit L'Horreum, an underground storage complex used by the Romans, as well as a whole church turned into a museum of Roman stones. Once while we were there, we went to the ruins of a Roman villa. It's a very special place, a crossroads for the Canal du Midi, the canal built in the 1600s to link the Atlantic with the Medit. Sea. See our album entitled "Narbonne". It was also the home of France's Frank Sinatra, Charles Trenet. He wrote "La Mer" (Somewhere Beyond the Sea), and we visited his house, now a museum, last year.
But our main event Sunday was a visit, once again to the Orb River Valley but beyond, to the Buddhist Temple in Roquederonde. You'd think it was very strange to see a temple like this here in southern France, but actually it fits into the mountains very well, and is quite beautiful. Since they were having a Buddhist conference that day, we couldn't go into the Temple, but we did peak in and saw the huge gold Buddha. The temple was dedicated 4 years ago by the Dali Lama himself. See the album called "Buddhist Temple" to see pictures of the Dali Lama with Carla Bruni, then first lady of France, at the dedication.
So now we are down to 3 weeks remaining of our summer adventure. This morning we have a workman here, installing our downstairs heating unit (this house didn't come with heat on the first floor) and a surrounding rustic cabinet. He arrived at 7:45 this morning! After a 45 minute discussion of what we were actually doing, we decided that 1. the "cave" is not square, 2. he would follow the tiles (which may or may not be square, but they look like they are, and 3. he would keep it simple: a "table" top in wood, shelves on each side, and a total of 5 supports. I told him I was sorry I had no radio for him, and he said that was fine--he'd sing! Nice man, a little hard to understand with his very southern accent. Pictures, before and after, will appear, we HOPE, next Monday, when it may (or may not) be finished!
Wherever you are, we hope you too are having a good summer! And thanks for checking in with us.
A bientot, Elise & Les