November 24, 2016

After the Storm - view from the cliffs of Leucate. Sud de France

From the cliffs of Leucate we have a fantastic view up along the coast right to some huge buildings in the far back in Port-la-Nouvelle. That is The New Port for Narbonne from a long time back.

The white topped sea is due to a small storm passing over the district the night before our visit

Franqui a small village under the Leucate Cliffs in South of France

When you look down to the small village Franqui - a small outdated village under the cliffs of Leucate. Would you believe that this was the first summer resort to be build along the coast of Aude?

Would you think that this, in medieval times, was the only safe sheltered harbor between Port-Vendres and Agde?

Is it possible to belive that this was a place with 3 military small fortifications to protect the civilians from pirates from the Barbary coast? That the place first was declared "safe" as late as 1830.

The long time history is one thing I always find most interesting when in this very South of France. The history going back so many centuries.

This photo is taken after a November storm with large waves and a high tide still hitting the coast.

November 22, 2016

Find the ERRORS in Boulou, France

Should you ever be in Boulou in the South of France - do not miss the chance of seeing the fake facade of this house.

You will find it just around the corner from the police station, close to the tourist office.

Regard the 2 large windows and the small one. They are all fake inclusive the painted shadow effect.
The only real thing here is the water post in the lower left side and the sign "Autres directions". Regard also to this sign the "real", weak, shadows around it,

All honor to the artist ******

November 20, 2016

El Port de la Selva at Costa Brava in Spain

Even in November this natural harbor along the rugged coast of Costa Brava remains inviting with all the white houses down in the center of the town and by the beach. It is just too bad as the town is almost empty of people in this off season periode.

From the Costabravatouristguide: 
In this part of the coastline the mountain masses drop drown to the sea in sheer cliffs, majestically impressive and rugged, forming de Cap de Creus with the islands of Massa d’Oros and L’Encalladora before them.

Then there are Isla Culleró, Punta de Moli, Isla Poraló, Punta dels Farrallons, Penyas Roges, Cap Gros, Punta Blanca, Punta de la Creu and many other steep rocks and islets.

In the midst of all this ruggedness — remember, Costa Brava means ‘Wild Coast’ — El Port de la Selva is a haven of calm.

Monestary Sant Pere de Rodes at Costa Brava in Spain

Travelling along Costa Brava and not least exploring the Emporda where the first people arrived already some 5 centures BC is always a most exciting travel.

This time in the hills by the Port of Selva not far from Gerona we visited the impressive Benedictine Monestary and other nearby places around the Monestary.  And what a story to be found about this place at WIKI:

The true origin of the monastery is not known, which has given rise to speculation and legend; such as its foundation by monks who disembarked in the area with the remains of Saint Peter and other saints, to save them from the Barbarian hordes that invaded the Western Roman Empire. Once the danger had passed the Pope Boniface IV commanded them to construct a monastery.

The first documentation of the existence of the monastery dates 878, when it was mentioned as a simple monastery cell consecrated to Saint Peter, but it is not until 945 when an independent Benedictine monastery was founded, led by an abbot. Connected with the County of Empúries, it reached its maximum splendor between the 11th and 12th centuries until its final decay in the 17th century. Its increasing importance is reflected in its status as a point of pilgrimage.

In the 17th century it was sacked in several occasions and in 1793 was deserted by the benedictine community, which was transferred to Vila-sacred and finally settled in Figueres in 1809, until it was dissolved.

The monastery was declared a national monument in 1930. In 1935 the first restoration work was initiated.

(As the sky was almost blasted in the white light I added some coffee filter to the uper part)

Interior detail from the Monestary
The Monestary from the inside (a 3 photo stitch)

Santa Helena de Rodes. Costa Brava. Spain

Not far from the big former monastery Sant Peres de Rodes outside Silva at Costa Brava we can find this church ruin: Santa Helena de Rodos.  This was the village church for the people who lived up here in the hills and was there mainly to support the big Monestary with all kind of services in Medieval times.

On the plain below the hills: The Emporda (a place for trading) people was coming from Greece and Phoenicans as early as the 5th century BC representing the first settlers to this part of the world.

Recommend to visit should you be in this region: Gerona/Figueres.

November 16, 2016

Walking to the Naval Station at Cape Bear. Cote Vermeille. Sud de France

A fine walk by the road or the Coastal Path from the small village Port-Vendres and out to the Naval Station and the Cap Bear Lighthouse. In November with the crisp and clear air.

A sunny November day in Port-Vendres. South of France

This is the entrance to the deep sea harbour in Port-Vendres in Sud de France a fine day in November.
Taken some days ago as for today we have rain and thunder going on....

Some more from the net:
Port-Vendres is one of the few deep-water ports in this part of the French Mediterranean coast. It takes freighters and cruise ships, as well as large and small fishing boats which may be seen arriving with their daily catch.

The geomorphology of Port-Vendres meant that it developed in a different way from the nearby port of Collioure. Whereas Collioure has two beaches which slowly descend into a relatively shallow sandy-bottomed harbour, Port-Vendres is deeper and rockier. Collioure and Port-Vendres have therefore been used for different purposes - Collioure for small commercial ship and Port-Vendres for larger vessels and military transports.During the 20th century, this made it a main point of embarkation for French troops going to serve in Algeria. (WIKI)

The lighthouse at Cap Bear. Cote Vermeille in South of France

Outside of the small Catalan village Port-Vendres, close to the Spanish border, you can follow a narrow road along the cliffs by the Mediterranean out to the significant Lighthouse at Cap Bear rising 27 m of the cliff.

November 15, 2016

Autumn in South of France. Lac de la Raho.

Walking around the artificial lake Raho is app. a 7km tour. There is a fine gravel road around the lake following the shores. From this point we have a good view also to the majestetic Mont Canigou in the back - The Holy mountain of the Catalans.

Some more from the net:
Lac de Villeneuve-de-la-Raho is a lake located in the town of Villeneuve-de-la-Raho in Pyrénées-Orientales, France.

The former lake of Villeneuve-de-la-Raho had a size of 150 hectares. Considered useless, it was dried in 1854 and the land was then used for agriculture. Recovered by the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales, it was filled with water and became once again a lake in 1977. (WIKI)

The Bee Hotel with a Beezzinezz Clazz at Raho in South of France

I guess also the bees needs a place to stay over the winter - and of course what could be better than a warm place in a Bee Hotel with a Beezzinezz Clazz...

November 14, 2016

Return of a Catalan barque in the afternoon. Collioure. France

November afternoon in Collioure. South of France. A lone Catalan barque returns to its harbour in this little Catalan (French) village.

Some more from the net:;
The Catalan traditional fishing boats or "barques" ("llaguts" in Catalan), are as old as
the Mediterranean civilisation and boast a superb lateen sail, which gives them
unparalleled elegance.

Despite its rudimentary simplicity, this rig works wonders in the Mediterranean since
time immemorial. Greeks and Romans used it in their galleys, and the Barbary pirates
equipped their speed boats to board their enemies. It is this system which is still used
today on the fragile Nile feluccas and the Maltese ferillas.

The Catalan barques are built here, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. Banyuls, Collioure, Le
Barcarès used to have their shipyard on the beach or the dock. They brought life to
ports, they were their lungs and heart.

At the beginning of last century Collioure had, for example, a fleet of one hundred
"sardinals" (sardine-fishing boats) which employed more than 700 sailors. The port
also included over 20 salting workshops, fifteen shippers, coopers... The arrival of the
diesel engine of course transformed the "great Catalans", and sails were used only
occasionally. They faded in the '60s with the arrival of more modern and powerful

November 13, 2016

Collioure in Sud de France

4 photos stitched display many details from this part of the village Collioure.
On the nearby summit you can se the old fortification Fort Sant Elme. 
A bit under this the Olive Windmill. A photo from my visit in November.

Fort St. Elme in Collioure. Sud de France

Majestetic placed on this hill overlooking Collioure and Port-Vendres: Fort St.Elme.
The fort have a long history with the Spanish, the Catalans as with the French.

From the net, some "newer" historie:
Despite the latest modernisation and its adaptation to the artillery, on 13 April 1642, French troops of king Louis XIII achieved to take the fort. After the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, the Spanish threat remained. When Vauban, military architect of King Louis XIV, made a reconnaissance of the defensive structures in 1659 in the region of Collioure, he decided to build a counterscarp, which forms with the ramparts base a ten-meter pit where infantry and cannons could easily operate.

Around 1780, the fort’s facade was whitened to serve as landmark from the sea, with the Massane Tower, to better situate the port of Port-Vendres.

During the French Revolution, more precisely during the War of the Pyrenees, between 1793 and 1795, the region was the center of violent fights. The Fort Saint Elme was conquered successively by Royalists and Republicans. In 1794, the Spanish army took the fort. Six months later, the general Dugommier crushed with 11 000 cannonballs the garrison which surrendered on 25 May 1794 after a 22-day siege. After the revolutionary period, the fort, unified with the municipality of Collioure, was transformed in military warehouse. (Ref: WIKI)

November 12, 2016

Vine yards after the harvest. Banyuls. Sud de France

4 photos stitched.  From the road going up to the Madeloc tower and summit in South of France - close to the Spanish border by the foot of the Pyrenees.

After the harvest there is plenty of work waiting. Cutting branches, clean up fallen leaves etc. Where you see the smoke in the upper left you are also in the maximum height of vine fields in this hilled region. Above this level it is simply too cold for the wine roots to thrive.

BTW a fantastic day in November for a hike up to the Madeloc tower with a perfect vista to all sides when you finally are there - on the summit.

November 11, 2016

As the wind Tramontane blows at the small St. Vincents Chapel. Collioure. South of france

Just another day in November down here in the very South of France.
This day of the year we often have some wind from the Tramontane also whipping the sea as here right outside of the harbour in Collioure and the little chapel St. Vincent.

From the net:
The tramontane in France is a strong, dry cold wind from the northwest (in lower Languedoc, Roussillon, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands). It is similar to the mistral in its causes and effects, but it follows a different corridor; the tramontane accelerates as it passes between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, (WIKI)

St. Vincent Chapel. Located on a former island where, according to legend, Saint Vincent suffered martyrdom in 303.
The chapel was built in 1701 for the arrival of new relics of the saint.
At that time, hermits and religious retired in remote locations were accessed through the population who had regularly searched for advice from them.
Architecturally, the chapel is very small. This is a simple rectangular piece with an arcuate portal .
A large wooden cross bearing a martyr Christ can be seen behind, facing the sea

The bambou forest in Jardin des Plantes. St. Cyprien. France

Do not get lost in the Banbou forest in this garden.
Many metres high you walk in the shadow of the Bambous in this Park in popular St.Cyprien in Languedoc-Rousillon in South of France. And be aware of the peacocks that is wandering all over the place...

November 8, 2016

November in Collioure, Sud de France

Back in Collioure. This time complete off-season with few people around, only a number of visitors in the weekend.
Regard all the kayaks out there. Some EU Marines training along the shores of the popular beaches in this small Catalan village close to the Spanish borders.
Photo by iphone6+ (uploaded from ipad)