In vino veritas, in aqua sanitas

In wine there is truth, in water there is health.

We recently stumbled upon a local wine tasting event called “In vino Pézenas” which I guess was a play on words referring to the above latin phrase. I was delighted to discover that the local winemakers were coming out in force to display their wines at hitherto “secret” locations around the town. As you may know, in many towns and cities, large doors can open to reveal hidden courtyards to hôtels particuliers or private mansions. These are usually now converted into flats for town dwellers who are the only ones with access to these courtyards but, for 3 nights in June, Pézenas opened its doors to the curious, and the local winemakers displayed their wines for tastings by candlelight. It was a great way to get a historical tour combined with a wine tasting experience (a bit like a posh pub crawl)!

After getting a taste for wine tasting, as it were, we saw an event advertised at a local château that included wine, food and music. So we headed off to Château de Cassan on the longest day for an evening sitting at long tables chatting, eating and drinking until nightfall. I later learnt that 21st June is marked nationwide as La Fête de la Musique so it shouldn’t have surprised me that every town and village seemed to be hosting some sort of musical event that evening.

Another lovely day out that we had was to the nearby Pont du Diable or Devil’s Bridge. This old bridge was built in the 11th century by monks to help them travel between abbeys on their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The longer span bridge I thought was just as photogenic but that only dates from the 1930s. We visited as part of a day trip to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and the Grottes de Clamouse.

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is one of the famous Plus Beaux Villages de France and it really is deserving of its Most Beautiful Village status. We wandered around and had a very nice long lunch before heading off for the caves down the road.

The Grottes de Clamouse are spectacular limestone caves with allegedly the largest variety of crystals found in any known caves. The stalactites (hold tight to the ceiling) and stalagmites (might reach the ceiling) were impressive to say the least and, as the guide told us, all you need to make a similar cave is water, calcium and A LOT of time!

So water and wine have featured heavily in our latest adventures and (for those of you still awaiting news about the “chicks” mentioned in the last post) I am happy to report that the chicks have hatched and we’ll be moving to Vence near Nice at the start of July! If you’ve no idea what I’m on about, just head back to the last post and all will be explained!

À bientôt, bisous.

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