April in the Languedoc-Roussillon, South of France can be unpredictable says Honor Marks but there is usually plenty of sun and the air is warm and redolent with the scent of blossom as summer reaches out its fingers in welcome…
The Asparagus is growing everywhere (wild and cultivated) and there is nothing to match the taste of it freshly cooked with melted butter and maybe a poached egg. The wisteria is amazing and so colourful it’s breathtaking. In mid April, the Easter festivities have come and gone.
Here at Maison de la Roche, I’ve had a new kitchen installed and am enjoying the opportunity to become a domestic goddess! No names, but a certain well known baker from the UK visited and taught me how to make bread, which would be very useful if I didn’t happen to be surrounded by a number of extremely good boulangeries.
Talking of food – enjoying lunch and a glass of rosé alongside the Canal du Midi is one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy a midday break. If you want to counteract the deed, a walk through the pine forests, vineyards or poppy fields close by is both beautiful and healthy.
For those who love hiking by the sea, the board walks at Peyriac de Mer will not disappoint. This seaside town is situated beside the Etang de Sigean and Bages, immediately south of Narbonne. In Roman times the water level of the étang was higher than it is now, and so the étang served as a huge port for Roman Narbonne, with many smaller ports on it, such as Bages and Port Mahon at Sigean, where Roman jetties still exist.
At the same time, Narbonne, and places like Bages, Peyriac and Sigean were open to the sea; the sand-bar of today from Guissan to Port la Nouvelle did not exist two thousand years ago. To get to Peyriac and Bages which are both stunning villages in their own right, you cross the marshes and salins or salt pans on narrow track. Surrounded by salt pans and startlingly pink flamingoes – it’s well worth a visit.
Honor Marks runs the Maison de La Roche, a once neglected wine domaine in Languedoc-Roussillon which has been bought back to life as gites.