Vive la France!

Vive la France!

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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Languedoc - Day 8: Marseillan & Valmagne Abbey

Since the boulangerie is closed on Sundays, we went to the little grocery for bread this morning.  Also, knowing that the stores will all be closed by noon, we bought meat for tonight's dinner.  Yesterday, we bought pork chops there and they turned out good (a little tough, but maybe I overcooked them).  Today I explained to the butcher that I wanted beef to make a "daube" (stew).  He got a shoulder of beef and cut off a nice chunk.  We got the beef, some potatoes, a bottle of red wine (for the sauce, of course), and a baguette for 7 euros 50.  Pretty cheap dinner for 3.

It was grey and windy today -- very windy & gusty, but the wind was pretty warm; it was 20 degrees most of the day.  We had decided to stay close to home, so I don't think we were ever more than 40 km from the house today.  We started out at Florensac where we did some wine tasting - a little early in the day for it, but we did more tasting than drinking.  Then we drove to Marseillan, which is on the Bassin de Thau, not far from Meze.  We were looking for a place for lunch, and drove down to Marseillan Plage (beach on the Mediterranean), which is a pretty tacky beach resort area, and there really wasn't a lot open as it is the end of the season.  We went back to Marseillan and found the port and a nice restaurant.  Mom finally had some oysters and Jan & I each had pizzas.  Now if anyone should ask I can say that I've had pizza with duck and foie gras -- not bad, but probably won't choose it again.  It was so windy that it was hard to walk very far.

Our next stop was Valmagne Abbey.  It is one of the most intact Cistercian abbeys in France.  During the religious wars, the abbot took sides with the protestants (Huegonauts), raised an army and attacked his own abbey, killing all of the monks.  The abbey was sacked again during the revolution, but eventually it was bought and used for aging wine -- there are still huge wine casks in the nave of the abbey church.  The positive side of this is that the buildings were never quarried for building materials, so they are largely intact.  Many old buildings were lost because they were torn down so that the stone could be used for other purposes.

It was a good day for Mom:  no hills and no cobblestones.

We came home and made the stew -- the meat had been marinating all day.  It turned out pretty good considering our ingredients are limited, and there's enough left for tomorrow night.

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