Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pretty, Perfect Pezenas

Awakening in Pezenas is like opening your eyes in paradise. Living here amongst the narrow twisting streets hemmed in by tall buildings is like being immersed in ancient history. This was the local capital in the 1600s attracting nobility who preened in luxurious lifestyles and built magnificent mansions, many of which remain today. Even the King visited. 

The town is built like a dartboard, laid out in concentric circles. The inner core is centred on a hill where a castle once stood and was once surrounded by a high, thick stone wall with only
remnants left today. The streets are cobble-stoned, narrow and twist sinuously like a serpent. The high stone buildings date to the 1600s, or earlier. The next circle was built in the 1700s with more narrow streets, straighter, and narrow, tall four-storey buildings crammed together. This is where my dearest and I resided, loving the narrow spiralling staircase and old scarred beams of Chuck and Steph’s pad. The rest of the town, what little there is when the population is only 8,000, then peters into the vineyards of the surrounding countryside.

How can you not love this area, for rural France has a character and
elegance not found in the New World's countryside. Even in this tiny town women dress with sophistication, art and culture flourish and the cuisine and wines match those of Paris. And it all comes together at the Saturday market, which offers an incredible selection of gourmet choices.

When we went for drives, we were overwhelmed by the thousands and thousands of acres of vineyards and hundreds of wineries. The Languedoc wine region is immense, explaining why wine is so plentiful and inexpensive. Even gas-station kiosks sell wine: red, white and rosé. 

Location is everything, and only 20 km to the south is the vast, blue Mediterranean with long sandy beaches and incredible seafood. Also nearby are many historic, picturesque towns and great hiking.

Ah, life in Pezenas is simple, but oh so pleasant.

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