Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Caunes-Minervois

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

During our trip to France, we planned to visit different markets. We lost a bit of steam during the final week, enjoying hikes and long lunches rather than traveling to various villages.
One morning, we had limited options for markets and we decided to drive to Caunes-Minervois.
The description we had read talked of a full and lively market, so we were a bit surprised when we arrived to find just a few carts set up. Not even a haircut caravan like we found in Roquebrun.
We bought a few apples to give the mule the next day on our hike. The apples were a bit shriveled, making us even more disappointed in the market, although it was late in the morning.
We kept imagining that we were in the wrong place, that we hadn't found the right market.
Spotting signs for the tourism office, we went to figure out where we had gone wrong.
The very nice woman shrugged off the incorrect market information and instead focused on the benefits of the town.
It's know for its special red marble and a Romanesque abbey. We hadn't missed the fabulous market: there wasn't one.
With a map in hand, we decided to explore the village.

You can see the marble on this fountain. I'm not sure why it was dry. 
We wandered through the stone streets and I took a shot of this Medieval building. I'm not sure it is a castle or the abbey. 

Once again, it was getting past lunch time and we became nervous about finding a place to eat. We headed toward the main road, but didn't see any restaurants. Back into the meandering old part of town, and we saw a bus full of people heading for a hotel restaurant. We had already looked at the menu and the prices there and decided it wasn't for us, but we felt jealous of that busload of tourists filing inside to eat. 
We consulted the map and changed directions.
Finally, we rounded a corner and found a restaurant. I could see that the indoors was a bar and several tables with umbrellas were set up outside. 
I asked one of the servers if we could get lunch and he answered, "Of course."
We settled under a big red umbrella and every picture I took has a red hue to it from the reflection. 

Earl looks tired in this picture, but I actually think this was the one time we got a bit tipsy at lunch. We started with an aperitif -- kir au vin blanc, which is kir in white wine. Then we had a half pitcher of wine. We had to sit at the table for quite a while and walk around the town taking pictures before we were certain we could drive back.

The food was mediocre, but we sat under the red umbrella, eating, drinking and watching people. There was a community table where locals came, some joining for lunch, others for coffee or wine. How nice that men and women alike greeted each other and sat at the community table. 
Because I could see that inside the building it was a bar, and some cafe/bars frown on having women inside, I sent Earl in first to use the "toilette." 
He came back announcing that it was fine, clean. He told me I could even go in the other outside door to avoid walking along the bar. So I did, but when I got to the women's restroom, I saw the sign that women needed to ask for the key. I trudged to the bar and requested the key. I'm not sure why the women's restroom needed a key and the men's didn't. Was it to discourage women? Was it so it stayed clean?
After our meals and dessert and a coffee, we walked around town some. 
Near the parking lot, canals had been built using the red marble and sending trickles of water from the river throughout the park area. 

Along with the canals were series of statues. Some of the art seemed abstract while other statues were more realistic. 

I think this one was called "the kiss." I know, not an original title. 

This was some sort of wild cat, maybe a jaguar -- plus Earl, of course. 

And here I am, by the riverbed, map in hand before we drove to Carcassonne to search for a chocolate shop. There's only so many days we can go in France without buying chocolate.
This isn't a village we plan to move to. I'd probably give it two baguettes.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave your link below and visit each other's blogs to share your love for France.


Sim Carter said...

Another washout, huh? But how much fun you two are having going on these location scouts!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Caunes! I think it's a great village. Very artsy, with lots going on.
That hotel/restaurant is fantastic. Hotel d'Alibert. There's an interior courtyard with tables, so you get views of the Renaissance façades. The food is excellent.
There are a couple of restaurants on the main street (the one with cars), which also are very good. The Table d'Emilie, la Marberie, even the pizzeria, are all lovely. And in the evenings, down by the river, is the Cantine du Curé.
Did you visit the inside of the abbey? It's very pretty, and you can go underneath the altar to the crypt. There's a little amphitheater in the back where they have jazz concerts in summer.
Just out of town, there's a little church, Notre Dame du Cros, with a beautiful shaded picnic area behind it, alongside a clear stream. The cliffs attract rock climbers, and it's also a nice place for hiking.
Because it's so pretty, it attracts a lot of foreigners. But it's pretty small (3,000 I think), and you might feel better in a place with a bit more going on. Caunes is lively for its size, but it's still just a village.

Paulita said...

Sim, Yes, thanks for playing along.
Francetaste, We did enjoy Caunes, just not a place we want to live. I thought it was beautiful. And we probably should have eaten in the hotel, it just seemed a bit fancy and pricey. Everything was beautiful and I took some pictures of intriguing carvings over doorways. We'll have to visit again. It wasn't a place we want to live, but we did enjoy our visit.

Philippe F. said...

Vous avez raison Paulita de rester ferme sur vos critères de choix. Vous trouverez votre maison de rêve en étant patiente. Et vous saurez que c' est la maison idéale dès que vous la verrez...comme un coup de foudre ! // You are right Paulita to stand firm on your own criterias. You will find your dream home patiently. Then you' ll know that is the perfect house as soon as you' ll see love at first sight! Post Scriptum : To be sure to eat in a good restaurant/brasserie/bistro, wherever you are, always have the Michelin Guide with you!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You can't find the perfect place too soon or we won't get to vicariously enjoy all the wonderful possibilities. Keep looking.

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