The Mediterranean coastline has changed a good deal over the past few thousand years. A place where this can be seen rather well is Gruissan. In Roman times, the topography would have been very different. The Massif de la Clape nature reserve, and the Ile Saint Martin were islands, not at all connected to the mainland, but surrounded by the estuary of the Aude River. The limestone rock, on which today stands the ruin of Gruissan castle, was probably just a bare rocky outcrop then. Narbonne had a harbour, and the Roman ships would have sailed into the bay behind modern-day Gruissan.
All that changed, when the harbour gradually silted up, and the lagoons formed between Gruissan and Narbonne. The Etang de Gruissan is on average 55 cm deep – great for the flamingos, which were notably absent the day I took the picture above! 🙂
In the Middle Ages, a fortified castle was built on the limestone outcrop, to provide shelter from marauding pirates! Houses were built at the foot of the castle, with the streets surrounding the rock in a circular pattern, which can still be seen today.
The sleepy fishing village turned into a major seaside resort during the course of the 20th century. Two marinas were constructed in the 1970’s, with space for 1650 boats! All around the marinas, developments were built, to cater for the increasing number of visitors.
Unlike many seaside resorts, Gruissan is very much “open all year”. Many people live there year round, and a good number of restaurants do NOT close down for the winter. One such restaurant is called La Cranquette. It is located in the old town, and specialises in seafood. You can tell I went there before the trees started to leaf out!
Inside, the decor is somewhat eclectic!
Whilst the decor is somewhat important in a restaurant, the food is the star of the show!! And the food in this restaurant was very good!!
All the food was very delicious and beautifully presented! A feast for the eyes and the palate!
Afterwards, a walk along the beach was a must – out of season the beaches are often empty!