Vignette de Jour #3 – Pézenas

Travel has its hazards, joys, and inconveniences, not to mention surprises galore, which we’re lucky enough to experience on an ongoing basis, now that we’re not only newly minted residents of La Belle France but also visiting different locations in the South of France during our Home Exchange Travels. 

There we were, after a brief five-day visit to the Côte d’Azur, back on the road to drive to another home exchange in the département de l’Hérault, which is an ancient part of the former province of Languedoc, now called the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. The Hérault is one of the 83 French departments, created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. Essentially a historic part of anything but France. Confused? I shall enlighten the brave of heart in my next post, for tonight, I’m just plain too tired to delve into anything more complicated than just a series of snapshots.

We were driving from Vence, Alpes-Maritime, to Pézenas, Hérault, by way of Aigues-Mortes and the Petite Camargue. I wanted my husband to see the walled city of Aigues-Mortes, used by the sainted King Louis IX in 1248 and 1270 as a jumping off point for his crusades. Nature conspired against the King, not paying the slightest attention to his sainted, if altercative ways, and silted up his precious access to the Mediterranean Sea in no time flat. Ever since, poor old Aigues-Mortes has been a salt producing tourist attraction, and a darn profitable one at that! I remember driving over from Marseillan just down the coast on the other end of the Étang de Thau in 1968 or so, being hugely impressed by the stark, forbidding walls of this fortified city, as we approached it across an empty mud plain extending all the way to the towering walls of the fortified harbor town. Well muchachos, many a drop of water – silted or not – has flown down that river since then and empty plains exist no more. 
We hardly noticed the medieval city walls for the quagmired squirms of ever-shifting touristic masses and their tour buses and excursion boats on the canal. Stopping at a pedestrian crossing, we had to allow the entire content of a double-decker tour bus to cross in front of us, as they were herded into Saint-Louis’ town. So much for showing my husband one of the treasured memories of my youth.  Never mind, let’s head out of here! If it’s this crowded at the tail end of the Easter holiday, what will it look like during high season in the summer? 

Continuing along the motorway toward Arles, Nîmes & Montpellier, we were able to check off all the major points of your average must-see ‘Camargue’ list, pink flamingos, black taureaux, white horses and glistening mounts of salt. Which allows me the opportunity to point your attention toward one of my photographic images titled 

“Camargue Horses in van Gogh Sunset”

If you’d like to see more images, please click on the Photolera Claudinha link.

About an hour later, we had advanced into the hillside above Montpellier and arrived in Pézenas, our destination for the next few weeks. 

Since we seem to be living the good life in the South of France largely without Internet (no connectivity in our host’s abode for the first three days, similar to the internet-free first two weeks in our own home in Saintes) I’m seriously ad retro with my story material for you. For that reason, I’d like to conclude today’s vignette quite abruptly with a series of first impressions of the town of Pézenas, while I continue to work on my next post. 

One of the roads leading into Pézenas
patchwork door held together or decorated, depending on view point, by beautiful rusty nails
on the very edge of the oldest part of town
shaded by ancient trees, a very private garden
old town intersection
courtyard of a cultural center & expo hall
nice color choices & shadow plays with a major mustache
sneaking in the entry to an ancient building, now subdivided into 8 apartments
holding the camera between the bars of a wrought iron gate of a closed restaurant
sidewalk landscape
funky signage
vaulted ceilings
arched openings


yesterday’s glass today, and food, presumably
and Marianne upholding human rights
soreness, hoarseness: remove the cactus around your throat with lozenges
just another archway
side by side, la Porte d’Amour & a decorative window in the shape of the Shield of David –
the inscription over the door gives the date of 1662
and finally relaxing on the balcony after our long walk

4 thoughts on “Vignette de Jour #3 – Pézenas

  1. fabelhafte Photos Claudia, danke für deine großartigen Reisebeschreibungen- fast fühlt man sich dabei!
    kenne St. Louis auch nur aus der Touristenarmen VORZEIT, GLAUB AUF DEM WEG NACH PALAMOS HAB ICH MIR DAS ANGESCHAUT!
    Noch viel Spass in Südfrankeich wünscht Euch
    Eure Ev


  2. I find it hard to post the right words to describe what I am seeing. So I won't struggle … you photos are so great, we want to go to France!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s