Celia's blog

Musings on life in Lodeve, Languedoc

Archive for the ‘Out and about’ Category

Lodève watercolours

Posted by celiahukins on 06/04/2015


I haven’t been active on this blog for a while but I have been busy doing other things. My English friend Janet is hosting an exhibition in Lodève, opening on 16 April at L’Art en Poche. If you can’t make it then, you can see some of her paintings here

Since January I have been recording the walks of the walking group here. The site is now becoming a useful reference; you can check for example for type of walk or points of interest.

Maybe I’ll post some more soon…


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Looking for vultures

Posted by celiahukins on 26/07/2013

we did


On a day before it got hot (seems like it has been hot forever) we drove up to the plateau to look for vultures. My friends had been there before and seen a dozen or so; unfortunately this time we only saw two (probably the same one twice). Our walk took us past a field of sheep, with a shepherd watching them. We were not far from Roquefort, home of the famous cheese, so that is probably where their milk would go.

More sheep
We parked at La Jasse du Larzac, on what was the main road to the south before the viaduct was built. Although Millau itself is still flourishing after the bridge has bypassed it, the restaurant at La Jasse has now closed, probably due to lack of custom although it is claimed there are “problèmes techniques”.
We had a good view down towards Millau town and the viaduct, which always looks different every time I see it because the light is never the same.

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Tour de France in Pézenas 2013

Posted by celiahukins on 12/07/2013

For various reason we’ve missed the Tour in other years when it has passed through our area. However this time it passed through Pézenas on its way from Montpellier to Albi so it was an opportunity too good to miss. I’d seen it once before a long time ago when I was staying with a French family, so I knew there wouldn’t be much of a chance to see the cyclists as they zoomed past.
Of course one of the best things about the Tour is the caravane which comes round with the various sponsors handing out goodies – Vittel, Haribo, Belin. There is a happy family atmosphere.
This is what I got – I didn’t get much as I was neither an old lady (they sit down) or a young one, and didn’t have any children with me. The young lad next to me who looked slightly shall we say mentally challenged did very well – good for him!
After the caravane there was just time for lunch before the cyclists arrived. I joined the crowd outside the Tourist Office.

And then suddenly the excitement increased. Here they come …
Here they are
And then they’re gone and that’s it. Sorry if you expected any better photos – I’m not a professional photographer!
You can see more at letour.fr

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A recital in Lauroux

Posted by celiahukins on 24/07/2012


As ever I’m a bit behind with the blog. Before it got so hot we went too Lauroux twice – once for a Sunday afternoon concert and another time not long after for a walk. You get there on one of those narrow twisty roads that lead northwards up from Lodève.

On the Sunday afternoon Conrad Wilkinson was giving a recital in the church.
Here’s a flier for the programme

Conrad doesn’t seem to have his own web page but here is a link I found He was responsible for bring the Labeque sisters to Lodève cathedral last year – sadly nothing this year.

We thought Lauroux was such a pleasant little village that we decided to start our Thursday walk from there.

Inevitably the local dog wanted to come with us. She did very well despite her arthritic hip (don’t we all?)

The route followed country lanes with views towards the Cirque de Labeil; brilliant sunshine but not too hot.

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A day in Sete

Posted by celiahukins on 05/07/2012

Boats at Sete
Sète changes with the time of year. We were there in April for the Escale a Sete. When we went there on Monday it was definitely summer, although the temperature wasn’t too high (high 20s) as Sunday had been unseasonably cold. Taking a wrong turn off the diversion as we approached Sète turned out to be a good idea as it led us directly to the Pointe Courte, where we had planned to go in the afternoon.
fishing shack
Tucked away behind the station and an industrial estate, the Pointe Courte is the original fishing village of Sète, where the fishermen still sit and mend their nets and go out for the catch in the mornings.

Poiinte Courte
And then of course there was lunch. a visit to L’Amiral where we have been before. Today from their 13 euro menu we had soupe de poissons, lemon sole with pommes vapeur, and ice cream or fruit salad, washed down with an excellent bottle of Picpoul de Pinet (l’Ormarine).

After that we climbed up the steps to the top of the Mont St Clair, from where you can see along the coast south to Agde and north to Montpellier and the Grande Motte, and inland towards the oyster beds of the Bassin du Thau. Then it was time to go back and relax by the pool.

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A bit of history around Lodève

Posted by celiahukins on 05/06/2012

You can’t ignore it.
St Sylvestre les Brousses
Turn a corner and there it is
Church at Nant

To the north, past Le Caylar, there are fortified towns of the Templars. This is La Cavalerie (almost deserted on a national holiday)
La Cavalerie
To the west, above Lunas, there are medieval cloisters at Joncels.
Joncels cloister
Joncels street
From Puéchabon you can walk to the 11th century church of St Sylvestre les Brousses.
St Sylvestre les Brousses
And of course let’s not forget Lodève itself

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Presidential elections in Pégairolles

Posted by celiahukins on 09/05/2012

On Sunday we drove to Pégairolles de l’Escalette, a peaceful village not far from Lodève beneath the Pas de l’Escalette.

The peace was somewhat disturbed because it was the day of Les Elections Présidentielles. The local Mairie was a polling station and those who had turned out to vote stood by their cars and chatted to friends who they might not have seen for a while. (Sorry I have no photos of this – it would have been too intrusive.)

The church bell rings at midday. It must be automated as services are no longer held at the little church; in fact the pretty village has many holiday homes which are not be occupied at the moment.

And now France has a socialist president again after 17 years. On verra (we shall see) ..

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Sunday in Sete

Posted by celiahukins on 10/04/2012

I’ve written about Sète before but each time there is something different to see. It’s a working port with a good range of cafes along the canals – and also a long beach on one side which stretches as far as Agde. And of course there is Musée Paul Valéry, run by the lady who used to run the art gallery in Lodève (why did they let her go?)
On a breezy Easter Sunday we drove there with our friends for the annual Escale a Sete We parked by the railway station and after a rather chilly wait got on the free boat which took us along the canal to the main quays. We joined the crowds wandering along looking at the boats.

We saw several groups of musicians, even some bagpipes (oh no, thought we had left them behind in Aberdeen)

It was soon time for lunch at l’Amiral, where we had the 3 course 15 euro menu. We all chose soupe de poisson and moules farcies and were not disappointed. It was lucky we had booked (for 12.00) as by 12.10 people were being turned away “Vous avez réservé? C’est complet.” She should have had a recording.

After our lunch we wandered around the quays, and met some Russian sailors (average age 17). We had seen them earlier in the souvenir shops, looking for presents to take home. They couldn’t speak French so were pleased to talk to us in English. They said they would like to come back next year, but we weren’t quite sure whether that would be an official visit.

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Nimes and Uzes

Posted by celiahukins on 02/04/2012

After some time in the UK, I flew back to Montpellier airport where I had left the car, and then drove to meet up with my brother in Nimes. After staying overnight we set off for the Pont du Gard, which was the main reason for our trip. Unfortunately it was very misty, so we couldn’t see the bridge at its best, as it is on the postcards against a blue Provencal sky, and as I had seen it the last time I was there. And indeed I didn’t bother to pick up my camera, so no photos. However as there weren’t many visitors we were able to enjoy the peace. And then just as we had left the car park thinking that the mist would last all day, it suddenly lifted. Not worth turning back and paying another 15 euros for the car park, so we headed on to Uzes.

Uzes is a former Huguenot centre and was a prosperous silk town until it was bypassed by the railway. We found a parking space just by the cathedral (free at lunch time – thank you France) and the impressive Tour Fenestrelle. We explored the town and bought some local wine, including Costieres de Nimes, from a little shop at the back of a courtyard (carefully selected bottles, “pas trop cher”, we specified) and then it was time for lunch nearby in the sun.

Afterwards we strolled around the town and got a different view of the cathedral, and then drove back to Lodève via the Gorges de l’Hérault.

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A visit to Lacoste

Posted by celiahukins on 05/03/2012

Sitting in the warmth in the Le Minuscule having a green tea I happened to read in MidiLibre that a tour of Lacoste was being organised for the Saturday afternoon. Lacoste is the hilltop village you see when you’re driving back from Clermont after a trip to the Wednesday market. If you’ve come from further afield, it’s a reminder that you’re nearly home. I was intrigued to see what it was really like, so I contacted a friend and we decided to go.

Of course I had to go to the market on Saturday morning first. The weather was warm and I got out a lighter jacket. In fact it was still cool in the shade there although it had been hot up at our house in the sun. Now that the days were getting warmer, memories of the intense cold we had suffered soon faded, although there was still little sign of growth in the garden. At the market it did feel slightly springlike. I bought some pasta from the pasta lady – she stuffs ravioli with local cheese or ham – and endives with ham in béchamel sauce (a good French dish) from the traiteur. Then it was back for a quick lunch outside (don’t fall asleep in the sun; I set my alarm clock) before setting off for Lacoste.

We took the easy road to Lacoste via the outskirts of Clermont. We met in the Place du Village, about 70 of us, mostly French, all wearing with strong walking shoes, some carrying poles. We worried that this might be a difficult walk and we weren’t suitably dressed – but in fact it was just a stroll round the village as we had expected. The leaders were interesting and enthusiastic as they had had involvement in the extensive restoration work.

We walked round the ramparts and then went on to the church of John the Baptist and then to the splendid crucifix, 5 metres high, which was built at the beginning of the 20th century and restored in 2004. Sadly their Powerpoint presentation didn’t work, but we didn’t really need it anyway.

From the village there are views over the plain to Gignac. The best way to approach Lacoste is from the Clermont side where the slope is gentle, as we did; on the way back you can take the steeper route which winds down the hill.

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