Narbonne, Carcassone, Cassoulet, and Vineyards: France – October, 2018

Narbonnebeach“Let’s stroll by the seaside, take a walk by the seaside, soak up sun by the seaside, sip espresso by the seaside.” This has a delightful melody in my head; which, unfortunately, dear reader, you are unable to hear. Invitation: next time you stroll by the seaside, see which version you create 🙂

Dimanche, Sunday, Narbonne. We awoke at Château l’Hospitalet, not far from Narbonne – Plage. It’s a 10 minute drive from the Chateau to the plage (beach). viewofseafromchateaulhospitalet

Beach stroll and sea were calling: shells, branches off trees, families, dogs, kids on bikes, clear blue skies, cool breeze, soft sand beneath our foot. Sunday morning soulstrolling. Parfait.

Lunch by the beach was followed by Sunday afternoon wine tasting. A tour and tasting at Abbaye-Sainte-Eugenie was tasteful and entertaining.  Our guide was an elderly gentleman who spoke rapid French followed by etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Two dogs leaned in for cuddles at the bar, lay at our feet, and followed us about the winery.

Domaine des 2 ânes (field of 2 donkeys) was our next tasting of choice. We pulled in because the sign read ‘ouvert’ (open). Greeted by 3 dogs, a delightful host, and a variety of wine – delicious.domainedes2anes

Sunday afternoon nap required.

My journal entry for dinner that evening at La Table du Marché in Narbonne reads:

When life intersects: connected by food and culture. Dinner was a tasteful twist on traditional southern French cuisine with Japanese flavors. The chef (Panamanian) had lived in Vancouver, B.C. (my home for 25 years) for a number of years. He and his wife recently moved to Narbonne. He stopped by our table near the end of the meal and we chatted and conversed about food, culture, Canada, France, and wine. Marvelous.latabledumarchenarbonne

The following day found us driving toward Carcassone. Rainstorms had swept through the area prior to our arrival causing considerable damage in the region. Fortunately, the roads were drying and we were able to wind our way via a winery stop and tasting in Ribaute at Domaine les Cascades. Laurent et Sylvie Bachevillier run the winery and Gîte. Sylvie welcomed us and we conversed (in French) about their wines, the recent weather, and the history of the Domaine.winetastingdomainelescascades

Onward to Carcassone. Parking below the walls of the castle, La CitĂ©, we meandered our way through the grounds, into the old town, while the clouds lifted giving way to blue skies. Cassoulet, a traditional French dish, was calling. Simmered for hours with duck confit, sausage, white beans and other tasty ingredients – it’s one of my favorites. La Table d’Alais has the premier cassoulet, in my savory opinion 🙂 carcassonecassoulet

Post lunch we strolled through the old town, paying to tour the Château, Guide to Carcassone . I enjoyed strolling through the grounds, wandering the ramparts, reading history, and admiring the view. carcassonecastle

Returning to Chateau L’Hospitalet, we climbed the hill above the rolling vineyards and savored the beauty of the setting sun. Merci beaucoup: Narbonne, Carcassone, cassoulet, culture, history, and wine. windysunsetmechateaulhospitalet







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