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Missive 5;

Mentioned our arrival in Corneilhan last time. It is really rural out here. Our little village, 10 minutes walk away is supposed to have about 1,500 inhabitants. your wouldn’t know it to visit.

Swear there acorneilhanfrance-8-of-12re as many tractor movements through the town and cars,  one bar no cafe we’ve found yet, a couple of greengrocers that open peculiar hours and days, a woman’s hairdresser, and a butcher closed until end of Sept and a patisserie open 4 mornings a week. The coffees at the bar are wildly different each day. Anne keeps saying why have another? I keep thinking one day they’ll get it right and I’ll be able to say “voila”. Corneilhan is a typical ancient European village with the compressed terracotta roof pattern when you see from above and two monumental churches that are hardly ever used. A walk in any direction other than the road to town takes you into an endless vista of vineyards.

But there are lots of really quaint villages around.

We are essentially well-off the tourist trail here,

though it is not more than about 20 minutes to find the coast or other more “touristy” villages. With exception of coastal places like Sete and Beziers, Montpelier the rest I’ve never heard of and suspect most bar a few immigrant poms wouldn’t have either. Yep, they seem to flock here too as we encountered in our area of Spain.

The Canal Du Midi flows nearby. Looking forward to walking some of its banks and coffee-ing in many of the cafe’s I’ve seen pictured along its sides. We dropped into Villeneuve Les Beziers for a wander around the little village and along the canal alongside for an afternoon. Check the interesting restaurant name..

Beziers, monument through huge wrought iron gates, looking down on city from atop Cathédrale St-Nazaire (the city’s big one in terms of churches ) and mains street where the coffee is great

And the French people, well at least the ones we’ve met, those who have opened conversation with us have been fabulously friendly, helpful etc, certainly they have let the stereotype of aloofness and arrogance that we all hear about down. They have been great. Only negative is some are just so bloody impatient when driving. Guess they’re the young ones!!

As you know, once the All Blacks are mentioned you can’t stop them. Interestingly though, we seem to get a positive reaction to our accents, well perhaps we just don’t notice the others. Had a couple who it turns out are from Belgium and have a holiday place in the area sitting next to us over lunch in Beziers the other day. They really got into telling us about all the spots we should go to, then morning tea alongside the Canal Du Midi a guy who didn’t give a stuff about the All Blacks became passionate in telling us about a nature reserve and lake not too far away so we will be busy for the rest of our stay, just based on millau-france-14-of-53these experiences. Actually, saw this bar in Millau, went for a drink, clearly the French didn’t win the world cup, it was closed, shut, ferme, non ouvert, couldn’t get a beer there.

Weather has turned cooler in last week. Temps now start down at about 12 – 13 and rise to 24 -26. Quite pleasant especially since our car here has only a fan and windows for aircon!

Been a busy week this one, Sete, Beziers, Pezanas, Villeneuve Les Beziers, St Chinians, Murviel Les Beziers, Capestrang, Colombiers, Valra Plage, Serignan, Cap D’Agde, and we are not finished yet. And markets, there’s at least one a day round here, and our GPS automatically finds them somehow! Wonder who sets that thing every time we get in the car?

Most interesting part of markets (for me anyway) is the food and produce stands.colombiers-france-10-of-51

Look at this mouthwatering display.montellier-france-62-of-80



University of Montpellier, Faculty of Medicine, the worlds oldes

University of Montpellier, Faculty of Medicine, the worlds oldest medical school still in operation.

We spend a night in Montpellier after dropping our good friend Andrea of at the airport. Nights on the Place de le Comedie pedestrian area are full of light and people.This is apparently the largest city pedestrian area in the world. The opera house is lit in blue at one end beyond the statue.

montpellier-viaduc-1-of-1 We stay in the historic district for our time here. The Saint Clement Aquaduct is proably one of the most recognised of city features. We see it as sun falls.




Another dimly lit lane from my night stroll around. As always old cities seem more interesting after dark


A number of small villages entertain us as we head (much to Anne’s consternation and subsequent delight!) to see the Millau Bridge. St. Guilhem le Desert is a beaux city (term used I believe to denote Frances most beautiful towns and cities) and a National Site.

st-guilheme-le-desert-france-133-of-137Within the town is Abbey Gellone.

What a checkered history this Abbey has, even more than most religious buildings in Europe as far as I can see anyway. It’s worth reading about.

Abbey of Gellone, Saint Guilhem Le Desert, France

Abbey of Gellone, Saint Guilhem Le Desert, France

Late afternoon at Millau Bridge doesn’t show it off to it’s gleaming white best, but it is impressive to say the least, structure of 2.5 k’s in length with its tallest pier being  higher than the Eiffel Tower has proven worth the effort to get to. They claim it took 3 years to build at a cost of 320 million (yep million) euros.We stay omillau-france-37-of-49ver-night, but the next day is overcast and showery so photos reflect this too. Bugger.








And back to the beginning – life in rural France; well, bird shooting season opened here yesterday. We now wake to the banging of shotguns. Some seem to be just outside our window. Give you a fright when they are real close. Had to rush to Carrefour for some additional undies….

When we look out the window there’s all these bright orange caps walking in the fields and vineyards. For starters I thought they must have been looking for he orange crested pheasant to …whatever with. Then I saw a gun over the shoulder so I guess they feel they won’t shoot one and other if the orange cap works!!

They are at it again in the evening, so if this becomes our last missive you’ll know we must look like birds on a wire.murviel-les-beziers-the-men-of-1-of-1

This is what men should do. Each day, up to the village corner for a get-together and tell a few lies. Usually there’s some vin rouge and/or espresso too. The village a few k’s away from ours.

Au revoir from Corneilhan