GETAWAYS | THE LANGUEDOC & SOUTH WEST FRANCE
Just past the Spanish-French border you’ll find a land of wine, vineyards and delicious food. It’s called Languedoc. The biggest wine producer in the world has beautiful landscape and hundreds square miles of vineyards. We’ve never seen so many fields of vine before, so we were stunned by the view!
Languedoc and its Minervois region is great for a short weekend break from the city and its busy pace. Some 3-hour drive from Barcelona.
Region of wine and bread
It is this charming and quite place one imagines when thinking about a typical French village. Its stone housing and churches remember the Middle Ages. The houses are very well mantained with pintoresque blue wooden window shutters and pots full of colourful flowers. Each village has its charming cafes, filled with the locals having their afternoon cup of wine, and of course the boulangeries where you will find one of the best baking in the world: the baguette, ciabatta, crossaints and the ones with almond filling… so rich! For foody people, just like us, this might be just enough of an excuse to come and visit France.
You will develop more understanding for the proud French people who tend to complain about the food in most of the other parts of the world. No wonder! Interestingly enough, though, we didn’t drink good coffee in France. The ones we were served were all watery and pretty awful. Spanish coffee is much better.
Welcome back to Medieval villages
The architecture and landscape are dramatically different from the Catalonian ones. And it is of just 4-hours ride form Barcelona.We stayed in Olonzac at a very French and elegant B&B led by an New Zealander-English couple and their fluffy cat, Monsieur Gabi. The place is highly recommended with its spacious rooms, huuuuuge comfortable beds and elegant light interior. The biggest perk probably are the tres sympathique owners. They are very helpful and friendly and would tell you all the best places and sights to visit along with some interesting stories. You can find their place here on TripAdvisor.
We learned from them the story of the Cathares, peoples of this land who live there between the 12th and 14th centuries and were called heretics by the catholic church. We went sightseeing and saw some beautiful old places such as Carcassone, one of the biggest and best preserved Middle Aged fortifications, a UNESCO World Heritage. Then we moved on to Limoux where you will be able to eat your lunch much more quietly on the main square and tase some oldest sparkling wine, even older the the well-known original from Champagne. On your way back you can stop by St-Hilaire, the abbey where the oldest sparkling wine has been invented.
The place that we liked best was Minerve, a small village recommended by our dear hosts. Not yet discovered by all the tourists (we went in low season, during Easter). It was almost empty and charming.
Wherever you go it’s pretty and cosy. The French care about their surroundings and pay attention to detail decorating with flowers streets, roundabouts and their house windows. The Languedoc is worth a visit if you are looking for a quiet place for weekend, close to the nature with distinctively good food and charming villages.