August 31, 2014

The vineyard roundabout in Argeles, South of France

In this region of France, Languedoc-Rousillon they have surely hundreds of roundabouts. Most of them designed in an artistic and/or creative way.
On my personal top list is this fantastic roundabout outside Argeles build like a small vineyard - complete with wine trees and a little rest house. Now in the end of August the grapes are ready to be picked. Maybe they later will be sold under "AOC Roundabouts - Sud du France" ....

It's BTW time to go North again, starting the long drive home, first leg planned tomorrow.

August 25, 2014

The madam at Cap Leucat, France: Looking out for pirates from the Barbary Coast

What a landscape - what a history. Cap Leucat originally a 50 meter high cliff island which today has become a penisula. Overlooking the 8km long beach Coussoules that today is a play ground for all kind of activities at sea and land (see below):
The village to the left (in the main photo), La Franqui, was in medieval times a sheltered harbour for attack from pirates, led by the legendaric pirate Barbarossa, who attacked sea travelers along the coast.
Even when the Moors was driven away from the mainland of France in the battle at Poitiers in 732 - they come back as pirates for almost 1.000 years from their bases in North Africa i.e. Algerie, Tunesia, Libya - the Barbery Coast.
They robbed ships not only for valuables but also kidnapped people for ransom or to be sold as slaves in North Africa and the Middle East. In times the life along the coast was so unsafe that only a few fortificated places was inhabited. Along this part of South of France this little village, La Franqui, with the fortified cliff was regarded as a safe heaven. North of here the next fortified place vas Agde, in the south: Collioure and Port-Vendres.
Looking down to the beach - maybe even in medieval times it may have looked in the same way when survivers after a storm was able to reach the coast and the beaches - as a contrast to the sun seekers in our time.
On top of the Cap Leucat we can still see traces of former settlement, small roads, stone fences and more details indicating the life that was up here in old times - also to support the 3 small fortifications placed around the cliff island and their app. 100 solidiers who was there to protect people from the pirates.
For all we know even those old vineyards was in use also in the far past.
Typical landscape at Cap Leucat as we find it today hiking around the small roads and paths.
After the time of the pirates Cap Leucat was a fine location to place a lighthouse - and today it is also a modern naval station up here.

The madam enjoys walking around up here in the interesting culturel landscape on top of Cap Leucat in South of France.

August 24, 2014

Tasting St. Emilion in St. Emilion - Bordeaux, France

In the old charming village St. Emilion right outside Bordeaux everything is about local wines.
As seen here by one of the many small places for tasting and buying local wines.
There is plenty of those grand, big Chateau's in the St. Emilion district.
Here is the madam engaged in tasting wines and learning of the Bordeaux district in the Vinoteque in Bordeaux.
Wine selections in the Vinoteque in Bordeaux.
City street in Bordeaux.

August 22, 2014

Sunday along Canal du Midi near Toulouse in France

What a pleasure to bike along the Canal du Midi in South of France.
Coming out of the shades from the big trees along the Canal in the center of Touluse to pop up by one of the sluices on our way - as displayed in the photo of today.
Some more about the canal from the net:

This 360-km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.) is one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times. Built between 1667 and 1694, it paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. The care that its creator, Pierre-Paul Riquet, took in the design and the way it blends with its surroundings turned a technical achievement into a work of art.

August 19, 2014

Running along Canal du Midi in Toulouse, France

We had last weekend a long bike tour along Canal du Midi in Toulouse, France.
Not only bikers was out this Sunday but also runners and walkers was met along the shaded paths under the grand trees along the shores.
We have been several times to several different places along this beautiful canal between the Atlantic and Mediterranian oceans and have only good memories from our experiences along Canal Midi.
Under a woman living a more relaxed life on a boat shored some place along the canal

The Madam relax with an ice-tea after biking app 50 km along the Canal du Midi in Toulouse

August 13, 2014

Soon to be: A.O.C. Collioure 2014 wine from France

Did you know that Collioure is a part of Languedoc-Rousillon the worlds largest producer of wine.
And here we are walking around in the vineyards just a few weeks before the grapes are harvested to become A.O.C. Collioure 2014 wine from France.

WIKI: The area has around 700,000 acres (2,800 km2) under vines and is the single biggest wine-producing region in the world, being responsible for more than a third of France's total wine production. As recently as 2001, the region produced more wine than the entire United States.

Wine production have a long tradition in Collioure as documented here:

WIKI: Viticulture was likely introduced to the area soon after the ancient Greeks introduced winemaking to the Languedoc are in the 6th century BC.

Under the Romans, viticulture spread throughout the area with the nearby cities of Narbonne, Carcassonne and Perpignan being major centers for the trade of Roussillon wine from areas like Collioure.

For a large part of its history, the region has been under Spanish rule and was even a part of the Catalonia region until the mid-17th century. Like other Roussillon wine regions, this Spanish influence can be seen in the types of wines produced here. Even today, wine experts such as Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson describe the wines of Collioure as being more like Spanish wines in profile than French.


August 12, 2014

A small village called Port-Vendres in South of France

On our tours around Cote Vermeille in South of France I did this photo of the center in the small village of Port-Vendres at some distance - in a way pushing the details tighter together (effect of zoomlens)

August 9, 2014

Biking from Girona to Sant Feliu de Guixols in Spain (Catalonia)

Here we are at the shores to the Mediterranian in a small village along Costa Brava North of Barcelona.
We have been biking the former railway track from Girona to St. Feliu de Guixols.
We started a few kilometer down from Girona and biked in all T/R some 67km
One of the inland villages we passed on our way to the coast.
A well deserved lunch by the beaches in St. Feliu de Guixols.
The madam to the right - our bikes to the left...
Find below the map from this biking:

August 6, 2014

Jardin de Papillons in Elne, South of France

I must admit that I have no knowledge of butterflies - which did not stop me from a short visit to this Butterfly Park in Elne, South of France.

Enjoy the photo which was taken inside a green house (hot house) with some +35C...

Another specimen of those beautiful butterflies
The madam enjoyed the fine day walking around in this Butterfly Park in the South of France
Also some of the flowers was a delight for the eye

August 5, 2014

Summer souvenirs from Collioure in South of France


I have posted many photos from this small village - not so far from the Spanish border.

colorful and charming - not least with the high season summer life down here by the shores of the Mediterranian.

Cote Vermielle starting here - changing name in Spain to Costa Brava - stretching almost to Barcelona.

2 photos stitched.

The local church where the belltower used to be a lighthouse

Typical for the summer - the overcrowded beach

Another view from the port in the popular village Collioure

August 4, 2014

Biking in and around Port-Vendres in South of France

The small village Port-Vendres by the foot of the Pyrenees is a good opportunity for some great bike tours in the village and up to the hills and vineyards around this fine French village - also one of the few deep sea harbours in this part of France, not far from the border to Spain.
Above 2 photos stitched in the ipad just as we leave the village.

Looking back to the deep sea harbour in the village

Vista over Port-Vendres from the foothill of the Pyrenees

August 3, 2014

Back in South of France Argeles Sur mer. The Port


It`s great being back in the very South of France - close to the Spanish border.

This photo from a tour on the bike from Collioure to Argeles sur Mer - here in a capture from the Port and the marina. Fair weather and lots off folk having their holidays (2 photos stitched))