After leaving Carcassonne and the herd of tourists, the following day after breakfast, we went to Lagrasse a picturesque medieval fortified village in the ancient Cathar area. Lagrasse is one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’ (Plus Beaux Villages) and sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
We wound our way through the countryside until we hit town and parked up. We walked up the hill to the bridge and gazed at the river as it sparkled in the sunshine (yes, the sun was shining and it was warm). We crossed the footbridge to look in the Abbey, then back over the old bridge into town. We continued to tour the narrow streets and decided Lagrasse rightly deserved its Plus Beaux Villages title not just for the 14th century covered market, the 12th century bridge, many medieval houses and the 8th century Benedictine Abbey but for the small and interesting bits and pieces that are dotted around the cobblestone streets. Pretty water fountains, silly signs and lovely flowers wherever you look.
The village is now home to numerous potters and artists and many were working in the sunshine, sawing huge joists of wood while renovating their historical old houses but still keeping the ancient facades. We finally stopped at the Cafe de la Promenade; most of the cafés are on the wide and shady Bvd de la Promenade along with a few shops. We were charged over €5 for two very sorry cups of coffee and felt ripped off by the grumpy owner who was laying tables for lunch. Anyway, we decided a picnic was in store so went to the “Ronde Des Pains” Boulanger Patisserie. We bought two quiches and two gooey cakes for the same price as the coffee – now we knew we had been ripped off! Across the street amidst the art galleries and medieval architecture were a group of young people sitting in the shade of a plane tree and enjoy a pleasant drink and making music. Wish we had found this little cafe earlier and stopped here to watch the world go by. Anyway after a couple or three hours it was onward and upward towards another Beaux Village – Castelnou.