9 Dec 2010

In the footsteps of the Visigoths

A couple of weeks ago, Caroline - a friend who lives in nearby Mailhac – suggested a ‘Visigoth’ walk that she’d recently done. It was to be a bit of a recce, as I’d suggested it to Claude as a possible group walk we could do next spring, when the walk/picnics start again. 

It’s a sign-posted walk of about 7kms, just outside the Minervois village of Villarzel-Cabardès. And what a gorgeous walk it was. 

The Visigoth connection is a burial ground dating back to the 5th or 6th century that was only uncovered in the 60s. It’s on the top of a small mound, surrounded by pines and with views over the surrounding countryside – very peaceful. And it was quite touching to see groups of graves of different sizes, some very small – possibly family groups buried together.

There were also the ruins of a church dating back to the Visigoth era – quite different with the herringbone-style stonework.

When Caroline did the walk previously, they’d parked their cars in the village and made that their starting point, and that’s what we did too. But I had to find a suitable place for parking all the cars and eating a picnic lunch, if we were going to do the group walk. 

And the only place that was suitable was through the private road of a very grand private chateau - Chateau de Villarlong. Fortunately, there was someone in the garden and we stopped to ask, and he said that’s fine.

The chateau and its grounds are amazing, even more so as there is an unusual display of blue sheep (no idea why – perhaps the owners/residents are artists?) ....

.... and a rather gorgeous life-size metal giraffe in the grounds.

And so as the weather gets colder, the Tuesday afternoon walks continue. Mind you, yesterday it was 18 degrees here in Bize, according to Meteo France. But the man who works in the post office in a nearby village (and he would know, I’m sure …) said it got to 21 degrees! Regardless, it was a beautiful balmy day – definitely t-shirt weather.

And here are a few photos of previous walks over the last few weeks.

And the photo below is looking back towards the Tour de Boussecos. The 'Tower' is the rock formation in the middle of the photo.

This post really does have a Visigoth theme - I've mentioned the Tour de Boussecos before: "...... a strategic watchtower – apparently built by the Romans, and later besieged by the Visigoths and then destroyed by the Saracens..."

Beautiful Bize is just out of the picture, to the left. I'm biased, but I reckon it's a corker of a photo - and worth clicking on!

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