Vive la France!

Vive la France!

Welcome to my blog -- follow us as we travel around France.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Languedoc - Day 1: Stay at home day

Since today was Sunday, the plan was to sleep in, but I woke up at 6:30 and never really got back to sleep, so read for awhile before getting up a little before 8:00.  I'd put a load of towels in the washer last night, so switched them out for another load: numbers 1 & 2 of the 5 loads I did today, and all had to be hung outside.

Before breakfast, I put on my walking togs and walked into the village for a baguette.  It isn't a very long walk, but it felt good to get out.  There is a new little grocery in the village that has bread on Sundays, but is only open til noon.  They have just about everything we need, as they it is also a butcher shop and they have a nice selection of groceries -- sort of a convenience store.  The young woman there told me they had been there for 4 years, but the sign outside says since 1916 or something like that, so they may have been the grocer in the older part of the village.  The bakery is in a new spot too -- I'll hoof it down there tomorrow morning.

We are in the village of Lezignan-la-Cebe -- Cebe being a reference to the onions this village is known for.  It is an old village with newer "suburbs" and our house is in one of those, having been built in the 1990's.  There's a pharmacy, a Tabac with a bar/cafe, the bakery, a pottery, and small grocery.  The houses in our area were built in what used to be a vineyard, and there are lots of vineyards around here.  Languedoc is a major wine growing region of France, but not as well known in the US as Bordeaux or Burgundy.  This is where they make the wine for the French market.  There are also a lot of olive trees. We're about 5 km from Pezenas and about 10 or 12 from Clermont l'Herault, which is probably about the same size as Pezenas.  This part of France is not well known by American tourists, probably because Rick Steves mentions only a few sights in the region: Nimes & le Pont du Gard, Carcasson, Albi, and Collioure.  A lot of British come here, though, and our house is owned by a British couple.  On the one hand, I think it is a shame that more Americans don't come here because it is really beautiful and there are a lot of things to see and do, but on the other hand, I'm glad they don't.

When you rent a house for any period of time here, it is like it is "your house."  Even the owners refer to it as "your house," not our house.  But with that comes the responsibility of doing certain chores, like putting out the garbage cans -- tomorrow is garbage day, so I had to move the garbage cans across the street.  The French do recycle, and along with the garbage, I put out the recycling can that takes everything but glass -- I have to take the glass down the street to a special collection point.  Even the smallest villages have recycle points for glass...all those wine bottles.

We had lunch at the house today, then after all the laundry was hung out to dry, we took a short drive down to Meze (backward accent on the 1st e), which is about 16 km from here and located on the Bassin de Thau, a large lagoon separated from the Mediterranean by a sandspit.  They farm a lot of shell fish there, including oysters and mussels and there are several seafood restaurants around the port.  There are some really pretty views from there, but the streets are really narrow.  It was really windy down there today, so we didn't stay long, but I'm sure we'll go back one day for lunch.

When we got back to the house, we found a stash of British magazines, so looked at those.  "Hello" is the British equivalent of "People" and I think it's a lot of fun to look at. 

I finally fixed the chicken breasts we bought to fix for last Thursday night.  We put them in the freezer so we could bring them with us.  They were really good with some fresh haricots vertes (green beans), little potatoes, and a salad.  Sorbet for dessert.

We've been looking at the maps and Michelin guide to figure out what we'll do tomorrow, but don't have a firm plan. My cousin Janice Forey arrives on Thursday and will stay with us for a week, so we want to save most things to do after she gets here.

A nice start to our 2-week stay in Languedoc.

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