June 23, 2010

THE PYRÉNÉES ORIENTALES


Pete and Cyn have their house in a region called the Pyrénées-Orientales and the scenery could hardy be more different from the Loire. There are wide valleys and huge hills and mountains. In fact there was snow on the top of the highest mountain when we were there the first week of June.



It is all very dramatic and picturesque. The hillsides and valleys are a pretty patchwork of small vineyards, the vines all planted in perfect rows but each little plot at a different orientation from its neighbour. There are craggy outcrops of rocks and villages nestling on or between them with the houses clustered precariously against each other on the steep hillsides.



Pete and Cyn took us for a ride along the Gorges de Galamus. I was doing the driving and we didn't stop to take many photos. If you want to see a sample from the web, click here. With its steep valleys and frighteningly narrow and twisty roads passing occasionally through tunnels of overhanging rock, it was quite something.




As we climbed out of the gorges, we came across a small village, whose name I can't remember, and stopped to take some photos. It was possibly one of the Corbières villages. Later in the day we passed through other similar villages and as I wandered around with my camera it occurred to me that the region seemed much less wealthy than the Loire. Many of the buildings looked even more crumbling, apart from the few that had been restored beautifully and were in tip-top condition.





This is the side door of a house that we think was for sale, pictured below.




The church was in the process of being repaired and a local person produced the key and let us in for a private look around. Inside it was beautiful but in a sorry state and we could see that it would take a lot more than the 400€ a year allocated to it by the Mairie to restore it to its former glory. Some of the stained glass windows were broken and Cyn offered to help with this as she is studying the techniques in her spare time. Every little helps when the locals are trying to restore the church by doing the work themselves.









Our view of the mystery village as we left it behind us and climed further up the hillside.

9 comments:

  1. Gosh that looks so lovely, I feel like I've had a little holiday!

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  2. There are so many beautiful buildings in France, if only we could wave a magic wand and restore them. The costs are enormous and so many will just crumble away. So sad. There are so many ordinary new buildings going up, that many of the old ones will eventually be left to fall down. The new houses just do not look the part:( I love the old and mysterious bits of France. Diane

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  3. I bet that old house for sale could be beautiful with lots of thousands of euros thrown at it.

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  4. Sue and I have enjoyed two visits to the Corbieres region in the Languedoc area. Famous for the Cathar history, Minerve was one of the most incredible villages we visited. Although a poorish region, it is less touristy than a lot of France.
    We love it.
    Leon

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  5. Beautiful pictures! I almost feel like I was there.

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  6. That was a lovely tour you've just taken me through. It's almost as though you stumbled across a forgotten village coming out of the gorges. I wonder how many visitors it gets.

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  7. Thoroughly enjoyed all the photos. I especially like the blue shutters on the outside of the building.

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  8. What a great tour! I love this - being off the beaten path and exploring. So sad with the disrepair's and it would be wonderful if they could all be restored. I do not envy anyone having to negotiate those twisty narrow roads there - I love that pic!

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  9. What gorgeous pictures!! I'd love to visit this area.. looks inviting!! Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures!

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