The weather being what it has down here in South West France (awful), we have decided to take every opportunity to get out. My favourite month of the year is almost over and most of it has been wet and cold. Weekends are always full of Vide Greniers and Brocantes at this time of year and Sunday was down for good weather, so there was no stopping us. We even took the precaution of going to bed early on Saturday night so that we could get off early the next morning.
We arrived at 8.00am, just as the town was coming alive.
It was a lovely fresh bright morning and the first thing we did was fill up on caffeine.
You can see the beginnings of the leaves forming on the beautiful plane trees.
After that we wandered the streets, that were surprisingly quiet. We didn’t find too much to buy but I bought another handbag – I really must stop it is becoming an obsessive habit. After all how many handbags can I really use?
The area is awash with beautiful wild valerian, in all its hues.
Millau is a super little town and beautifully located, at the confluence of the Tarn and Dourbie rivers, with the Tarn and Dourbie Gorges to the east. They are both spectacular and take your breath away, well worth a visit if you are in the area. You have St. Affrique and the Roquefort caves to the west. That too is spectacular scenery and another area that is so worth investigating. Head south on the A75 and you are on the med in around 1 hour.
We left Millau before 10.00am and as the day was young, we decided to go south to the Med and another Vide Grenier/Brocante at Agde. We climbed out of Millau, which gave us a stupendous view of the town and the Millau viaduct, designed by the British architect, Sir Norman Foster & the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux. It is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast’s summit being 343 metres. For such a huge structure, it has a fine and delicate look to it, allowing the landscape to dominate.
The journey on the A75 is spectacular and we stopped at a viewpoint called Belvedere to take these photographs. My camera can’t hope to capture the majesty of the view but it gives an idea of how beautiful it is.
We arrived at the Brocante at Adge fairly quickly but were a little disappointed. It made us feel like an anagram of Adge! It was packed and prices were very expensive and so we took a quick look and left with nothing. We decide to look for somewhere to eat and unfortunately made a duff decision but nevertheless, we ate outside which is always a pleasure. We also noticed the huge difference in the plane trees on the Med, which were much further on in their growth than those in the Aveyron.
After lunch, we decided to leave the Med and head north again, with the intention of visiting one of France’s most beautiful villages, La Courvertoirade on the way home. However, we took a wrong turn and found ourselves in a super little place called La Tamarissière. It is located on the west side of the mouth of the Herault River.
It was fabulous to walk along the beach with the fresh wind in your hair.
After our walk we sat and had a drink, taking in the traffic on the river.
After a pleasant hour in La Tamarissière, we headed back up the A75 and stopped at La Courvertoirade.
It has the honour of being listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. We can proudly say that the Aveyron tops the charts with 10 of the most beautiful villages. We have visited 6 of them so far and wanted to visit La Courvertoirade for a while. It is a stunning place located on the equally stunning Larzac plateau. It dates back to beyond the Knights Templars in the 12th century and can be described as a complete miniature mediaeval city. It is a great thing that you are not allowed to drive up in your car. Your car must be parked in the car park and you enter La Courvertoirade on foot, through the Portal d'Amoun which was part of the fortifications erected in the 15th century to protect the inhabitants from the disasters of the 100 years war. It was erected by the Knights Hospitallers who took over from the Knights Templars.
We happily wandered around this magical place and chose one of the wonderful little cafes to have another drink.
The day was hot and its shady little garden provided a relaxing refuge from the heat.
You only had to close your eyes to be transported back in time. The only sounds were insects, birds and peoples voices, much the same, no doubt as in the Knights Templars days. After our little interlude, we continued to walk around the village, visiting the church.
The feeling of history within the church was intense. I believe that the altar was a recent addition as it looked to have been made from newly carved stone. Outside of the church was the grave yard with its fabulous grave stones.
The beautiful stained glass window over looks the grave yard.
We continued on, taking a very precarious route down to the street below. There were no barriers and the steps were roughly hewn from stone, all at different angles. I could not help thinking that in the UK there would be all kinds of barriers and warnings!
We wandered happily taking in all the charming sites of this special place. A little cat that did not let visitors disturb its comfortable afternoon doze,
plus these little fellas, that I am glad to say were also not disturbed by the visitors!
Nowadays, the village is mainly inhabited by artisans and you can see the influence of their touch in this amazing place. Where else would a peony in all its over blown glory, contrast so deliciously with the background of the ancient stone.
So we finally dragged ourselves away, full of the intention of going back and with the hope of staying overnight, which I think would be captivating. This time we headed back home over the Millau Viaduct.