Sunday, 14 July 2013

Our Little Trip to Pezenas

Pezenas is located in the Herault department of Languedoc Roussillon not too far from Montpellier and on first impressions it held a similar ambience to Montpellier, albeit on a much smaller scale. In other words 'cafe culture' was much in evidence and there were a lot of little cafe's and restaurants, not only in the main square but tucked away in delightful little alcoves and covered terraces.

Hotel Lacoste, Pezenas
The centre 'historique' was the main visitor's attraction and the first building that really caught our attention was the 'House of Lacoste' a property owned by the Montegut family who were the lords of Lacoste, hence the name. 

The only history available stated that the house was remodelled between 1509 and 1518 with further work taking place on the staircase in 1638 when it was ribvaulted. The main entrance was also altered during the 16th and 17th centuries.  Taking a little peek inside the entrance you find this amazing stone built staircase that runs up to the next level and we had really only just left the car park when we found this little gem which is clearly much older than the documented dates the description of the building shared. 

Street Entertainer in Pezenas
Expectations were high then as we walked on towards what looked like the main square and we were not too disappointed as we entered the square and found the first of what would prove to be many cafes and restaurants. It was lunchtime so most people were concentrating on their meals. But at least one (little) person was enjoying the street entertainment, no doubt as his parents were enjoying their meal in the adjacent restaurant. 

As you have probably realised, by hitting the town at lunchtime,  many of the shops were shut for the traditional 12.00 til 2.00 mid-day cessation of trade. Don't think we will ever learn that lesson, we still always seem to set off at a time that means we will arrive in a town either at the start, or smack bang in the middle of the lunchtime break, even now that we have lived here for more than 5 years. You can take a Brit out of Britain but you can't take the British out of the Brit; some might say!

Pezenas StreetsStreets of Pezenas, Languedoc Roussillon

But we didn't mind, we had packed our own lunch and we were happy whiling away a few minutes just enjoying the sun and beautiful weather that had finally arrived to mark the beginning of summer. It was a long time coming this year, but we are very glad to say, it seems to have set in nicely now. The streets were very attractive and we just took a little wander around the town, which I can now say is well worth the visit if you ever find yourself in this area. It is at the heart of the "Art and History Country", as stated on the placard outside the tourist information office where they invite you to go and find the Medieval Enclosure, Gateway fortifications, city walls and the castle mound along with several buildings of interest and a few different museums.

The other thing we missed out on of course, having decided to pack our own lunch, was the local delicacy of 'Petit Pâté' a small spicy mutton pie about the size of a cotton reel that found fame in the UK when Michel Roux Jr set the making of it as a challenge on Master Chef.  It is said the pie originated from India, but it has been taken to the hearts of the patisseries in Pezenas, because you can find it in any one of them.

It is not a huge town but stretching the visit to a full day is probably possible, if only just. However we decided after a couple of hours that the draw to the Mediterranean beaches was a bit too strong. So we left and made our way to Valras Plage, about 1/2 hour south. I think the absence of early summer sun probably influenced that decision. Now it had arrived, we wanted to take full advantage of it. So we did and very nice it was too, but not before we took a few more photos to add to our French Theme collection.

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