St. Pierre sur Mer

Narbonne area map St. Pierre (also known as St. Pierre la Mer, just to be confusing), in the Departement of Aude, is one of a string of beach resorts that have been relatively recently developed. It's a less-fashionable and cheaper area, not at all like the Nice/Cannes/Monaco sort of thing to the Northeast. But the beaches are actually a lot better! Inland, one finds limestone hills, and lots of vineyards.

There are some quite traditional sweet wines such as Banyuls and Rivesaltes, and vast acreages of cheap "Vins de Pays d'Oc", forming the largest wine-growing area of France, and perhaps the world. More recently, ambitions have been raised, and there are some Appellations Contrôlées areas, such as Coteaux du Languedoc and Corbières. I'm particularly fond of the light and dry Rosés.

(Map courtesy of Maporama).

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

A panoramic view from my grandmother's apartment complex, looking over the houses on the Mediterranean shore.
On an excursion to the mouth of the river Aude, the four generations: my mother José, my grandmother Lucienne, daughter Isabel, and wife Chantal.
And Benjamin of course, who didn't want to be in the group photo.
They have an odd way of fishing here. A net, suspended from both banks, is lowered to the bottom of the river, and then a few minutes later, slowly pulled up while the fisherman collects the resulting catch with a small net. We bought a big fish caught more conventionally. (A 1.75 kg "loup".)
At L'Oustalet, an equestrian center (among other things), stroking a horse.
Roof tiles of various vintages.
The daily market.
Chantal selecting a basket.
More olives than you can shake a stick at.
More fruit, and the beach and sea beyond.
At the beach:
Near St. Pierre is a remarkable geologic formation known as "Le Gouffre de l'Oeil Doux". It's a large hole in the limestone massif, hundreds of feet across and down, that is filled by underground springs. It's a short hike from where my grandmother lives, and one suddenly comes across it after tramping through the hot, dry landscape, covered with wild rosemary. Swimming in it is supposed to be dangerous and forbidden, but lots of people seem to do it anyway, including high dives from the surrounding rocks. (To get a sense of scale, look carefully for the small dots that are people.)
Isabel and Benjamin in the "Garrigues", or dry limestone hills.
A double portrait in the hills.

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