France Travels – Southwest France

After our time in Provence we headed west and spent 2 days in the southwest corner of France.  Our first stop was the medieval city and UNESCO world heritage site, Carcassonne.  We had lunch, toured the castle and walked the walls surrounding it.  I was unsure if we should bother to go out of our way to visit Carcassonne as everything I read made it sound a bit like Disneyland, with tacky souvenir shops and guides dressed as medieval knights.  I imagine it’s pretty miserable in summer with major crowds, but it was a drizzly day and relatively quiet.  The views were pretty spectacular.



From there we drove further south to Cucugnan.  We spent one night at L’Ecurie de Cucugnan.  Our room was lovely and charming with the most amazing private balcony.  Unfortunately it was pouring rain by the time we got there, so we set up a bed picnic for our wine and cheese cocktail hour instead of admiring the view, a big bummer!

The view from our private balcony, would be amazing in summer!
We had a fabulous dinner at Auberge Du Vigneron, literally the best scallops I’ve ever had.  And I finally got my cassoulet!




The next morning we explored the Cathar castle of Queribus. We hiked to the top fighting the extreme winds, but the view was well worth it!  So amazing to think they built these fortresses on such high terrain over 1000 years ago!
The sunrise the next morning was unbelievable!
The famous windmill that mills flour for the local bakery Les Maitres de Mon Moulin.




After our hike we headed to Maury for lunch followed by wine tasting at D66 winery, the French extension of Orin Swift Cellars.


Our trusty little car saw some extreme driving on the backroads of the region!
The final leg of our journey took us further south to Collioure, a gorgeous beach town on the sea.  Once again the winds plagued us, making it hard to fully enjoy this beautiful town (and our hotel was NOTHING like the trip advisor reviews or pictures).  But we made the most of it exploring the town on the tourist train, enjoying the freshest seafood with local wine, and for breakfast, I had the absolute BEST chocolate croissant I’ve ever had in my life.  Seriously, if you ever find yourself in Collioure, find the bakery with the blue awning directly across from the bay between the town and road towards Banyuls Sur Mer.  They called it a “butter chocolate croissant” so it was shaped like a regular butter croissant and filled with a generous bar of chocolate, so rich and delicious, I can’t believe I didn’t snap a picture.  The bakery also offered Snickers and Twix stuffed croissants, and while tempted, I’m glad I went with this version.








Next stop, Barcelona!


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