Montclar (Aude), France September 2020

This was a busy day. Finishing brunch at the Gruissan Marina, we set off for Limoux for a pre-arranged wine tour with Guinot Wine. Vanya had booked it over the Internet with the Limoux Tourist Office.

Having allowed plenty of time for our journey, Limoux is only an hour and a half away from Gruissan, we decided to call in on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Carcassonne. Almost fully restored during the 19th century by Eugene Viollet le Duc, Carcassonne is one of the most impressive walled cities in France. It has an almost fairy-tale appearance with it’s watch towers, imposing double walled fortifications and labyrinth of narrow winding passageways. It also has a fair share of history with the Romans having built fortifications here as early as 100BC. The city is perhaps best known however as a primary city of the Cathars until it was captured in 1209, during the Albigensian Crusades, by Simon de Montfort.

The downside of Carcassonne is, unless you choose both to visit during Winter and stay well away from the place at lunchtimes, you’ll more than likely find it packed with tourists. Because of the significant crowds we didn’t stay long but, if you haven’t seen the place (as was the case with Vanya), it is always worth a visit.

We arrived at Guinot Wine with 5 minutes to spare only to learn that no tours take place at weekends because of the Corona issue. By chance the owner of Guinot Wine turned up at his office with a Finnish client as we arrived and it was he who gave us the bad news. The Tourist Office were remiss in booking us on a Saturday tour. He was very apologetic but said he could do nothing for us until Monday. Having said that, he gave us a bottle of his very best Cremant – seriously good it is too!

There was nothing to do but find somewhere nice to stay – we settled on a Yelloh Campsite some 20 minutes away in the countryside at a place called Montcalm. Very nice that was too. We stayed for two days taking advantage of the hot weather and Yelloh’s swimming pool – it has both a slide and a bouncy castle!! The wine tour could wait until Monday and we’re already behind schedule for Greece – so what?!?

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