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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 9

From the chambre d'Hôtes in Argens-Minervois I walked the ten minutes into the village for a good meal. Most eating takes place outside but under a ragbag of canvas awnings for shade and protection against occasional rain. I notice smokers are counting this as "outdoors" and are continuing to puff away at the tables. There was a three generation family close to me and a guy in his fifties seemed to be attempting suicide by smoking. He smoked one after another throughout. A grand elderly lady who may have been his mother impressed me with her clear speaking French combined with with good humour and dignity, a true matriarch.

This morning I chatted with my lady host at breakfast and found this palatial house and its extensive gardens are supported by their proprietorship of the local vineyard. Domain des Maels. All their wine is AOP Minervois, none being used to make communal stuff, and they export to other European countries, but not the UK, although I got the impression they would like to get into our market.

Much evidence of felled plain trees today, apart from the loss of shade it takes away much of the character. Some replanting is in evidence but it will take years to regain its purpose.

I only walked about twelve miles and arrived here at le Somail in time for lunch. The first restaurant was full, and am I glad. I had an excellent lunch at the second including grilled avocados and goats cheese with an imaginative salad. I have booked in again for tonight.

I am staying at Le Neptune, a Gîte de France abode owned by a Belgian couple who come here for five months of the year to run this business. All very pleasant. Even in this small town there is a Tourist Info office and I have been able to book ahead for tomorrow at Capestang, which I think is more than 20km. I hope there's some shade.







A little café where I had morning coffee


Nearly all boats seen are hire boats but this was a characterful change



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