This week’s post has been kindly written by Anne Roberts, who owns Aurelie in St Chinian with her husband. Thank you, Anne, for sharing this lovely walk with everyone!
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Today the sky was endlessly blue and the temperature must have been around 19 degrees in the afternoon, not bad for the 9th of March in Languedoc-Roussillon. Every year when we return to ”Aurelie”, our home for five months in the south of France, one of the things that we look forward to very much is enjoying the wonderful walks in and around St. Chinian and its neighbouring villages. The afternoon is perfect for a walk in the hills with friends, and we choose to do a walk starting at Cruzy, a village about 15 minutes by car from St. Chinian.
This walk is a particular favourite since the countryside is varied as we make our way along the marked route arriving back at the car about two and a half hours later.
Many wonderful old houses are to be found in and around Cruzy and more can be learned of the village from a former post on the blog.
The walk begins at the Panneau de Depart (outlining the route) in the parking lot behind the church. As we start to leave the village, we pass the public “lavoir” where the household laundry was washed in days long gone. I hope that the social contact more than made up for the obvious hard work that this must have entailed! Old lavoirs can be found in most of the villages around here.
The route takes us along a country road for a short while before we turn off to the left up into the hills and through the vines. This walk is called “Montplo” as we will see the hamlet of that name from various points as we walk along. It’s a steady climb up into the vines which are quite bare at the moment and show absolutely no hint of their bounteous harvest to come later in the year. The vineyard workers have been out for many weeks pruning them hard back. After climbing a little further through the vineyards, we can look back and have a good view of Cruzy .
There are wonderful vistas with almost panoramic views as we walk the paths through the vines, and now we see right across to Villespassans.
It’s lovely up here with a fresh breeze blowing, vines everywhere and olive groves (needing attention, it seems, this year). We step aside at one point for a rider and her dog and soon spot some other aspects of countryside living.
Eventually we make our way down to the country road again. Shortly, we cut down through more vines toward Montplo, passing behind it and then out onto another quiet country road for a hundred metres or so before turning off once more to the left, but this time, into the woods.
The woods have a secret. Not far in, there is a very large tomb of the Fau family set into the back edge of a field backing onto the woodland path and overlooking land which was once covered in vines.
The view from the tomb is over lovely countryside (probably much loved in the past by the occupants). On the other side of the woodland path are the ruins of an old house. We speculate that this might have been the summer house of the family before they moved into their more permanent residence across the path!
The walk takes us on through the woods and finally more into open countryside passing by well-kept olive groves and more vines as we approach the village again from another side with its more modern houses.
I don’t know how many times we have done this walk but it never ceases to delight us. Pleasantly weary, we return to the house to enjoy a cup of tea and the delicious goodies baked for us by our friend and neighbour.