Belcastel, France – Day 4 Cont…

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France – The Most Beautiful Villages in France

Saturday 22nd April 2017 and ‘Day 4′ of our travels (continued).

A bit of background on Belcastel:

The incredibly beautiful village of Belcastel is situated in the Aveyron department in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France.  It’s about 20 kilometres west of Rodez and most definitely a must-see place if you’re in the area.

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Continuing north, we headed cross-country to our next destination.  As we drew closer to the river Aveyron and its many tributaries, the landscape became more dramatic with lush, tree-lined valleys, rock promontories and crystal-clear rivers and streams.

Amanda on the bridge at Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

All this beauty should have prepared us for the wonder that was Belcastel but to turn a corner and suddenly see the beautiful Château de Belcastel appear as if by magic in its hidden valley was simply breathtaking.

The beautiful stone bridge at Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.
My friend Amanda in the centre photo.

Belcastel is a picture perfect, chocolate box fantasy of a village.  Spanning a sharp curve of the Aveyron River, the majority of its buildings, including the restored château, are on one side of the bank whilst the church and a sprinkling of hotels and cafes can be found on the other.

The beautiful bridge at Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Each is joined by a 15th century arched stone bridge which practically sparkled in the glorious sunshine.   Just above are a few shots of this beautiful stone bridge.

To my amazement, I saw a gentleman guiding a young woman, in a car, over this bridge. There was barely enough room but she managed to cross unscathed.  I wish I’d taken a shot of this great feat now.

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Hidden away until the early 20th century, the village was relatively inaccessible and it was as recent as the 1970’s that the château was purchased and restored by a local architect. This spurred individual property owners to join in the restoration of the village and lead to its extremely well deserved Les Plus Beaux Villages de France appellation.

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Fish scale roofs (apparently referred to lauze-roofing), thickly forested hillsides, and overhanging balconies with skirts of verdant wisteria all add to the fairy-tale-esque feel of this spectacular place. Stunning.

We visited so many beautiful historic towns and villages on our ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’ trip but I have to say, Belcastel was one of my favourites.  God willing, I will come back here because this magical place deserves more than one visit.

Belcastel, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sincere apologies for the poor quality videos, that’s my doing.  It’s been pointed out to me that I should have turned my phone around.  Sorry about that.  😀

All photos and videos are the property of myself and Amanda.

Thanks for visiting.

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, France – Day 4 Cont…

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France – The Most Beautiful Villages in France

Saturday 22nd April 2017 and ‘Day 4′ of our travels.

A little bit of background on Sauveterre-de-Rouergue:

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue is located in the Aveyron Département of the Midi-Pyrénées in Southern France.  It’s roughly 35 km south-west of Rodez.

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Heading north, Sauveterre-de-Rouergue was our next stop. Having done a bit of research since then, it seems that this little village was something of a design project in its day

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Essentially made of nine blocks set three by three, the centre ‘block’ is a large, open, arcaded public square surrounded by eight separate blocks of buildings, each set around a garden with its own well. Not a bad bit of planning for the 13th century!

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue is a very old royal “bastide” that dates back to 1281 and retains its original layout.

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

There are still lovely half-timbered or Renaissance-style houses on the main square,  with about forty-seven arcades surrounding it.

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Nestled under the beautiful stone arches are a number of sweet boutique-style shops where local craftsmen and shopkeepers sell their wares.

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Well off the beaten track, the village was remarkably quiet for a Saturday afternoon and we enjoyed yet another impromptu picnic in the sun before hitting the road once more.

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site and I hope you enjoyed today’s collection of photos by Amanda and me.

Monestiés, France – Day 4 Cont…

Monestiés, Tarn Département, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France – The Most Beautiful Villages in France

Saturday 22nd April 2017 and ‘Day 4′ of our travels.

A little bit of background on Monestiés:

Monestiés is located in the Tarn Département of the Midi-Pyrénées in Southern France.  It’s 15 km east of Cordes-sur-Ciel and approximately 22 km north of Albi.

It’s a small village but it’s classed as one of the ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and our next stop after Cordes-sur-Ciel.

Our visit to Monestiés was very brief but we got to enjoy a quick coffee sat under a young Wisteria vine before buying bread for the journey to our next lodgings in St-Geniez d’Olt.

Monestiés, Tarn Département, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Though very small, there were a wealth of various architectural styles in evidence and not one but two beautiful churches to admire. 

Monestiés, Tarn Département, Midi-Pyrénées, France

It was not until we were on the road again that we were to realise that we had actually only seen a small part of everything this village had to offer, as the village was actually split in two by the main road.  Ah well … maybe next time …

Cordes-sur-Ciel, France – Day 4

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Cordes-sur-Ciel

Saturday 22nd April 2017 –  ‘Day 4‘ of our travels.

A bit of background on  Cordes-sur-Ciel:

Cordes-sur-Ciel is located in the Tarn department in the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France.  It’s approximately 1 hour 15 minutes north-east of Toulouse and 30 minutes north-west of Albi.

If you’re in the region, Cordes is an absolute must, just be prepared that it’s very steep and can be very busy in high season.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Day four and we were on the move again to our next location but not without wringing every drop of sightseeing that we could in the process.  Painfully aware that not only was it a Saturday and so market-day but also a blissfully sunny day, we headed into the small hilltop town of Cordes-sur-Ciel expecting to be crushed in our first French crowds.  Instead, though it was undeniably busy, it was cordially so and we were easily able to drive to the very pinnacle and admire the once again glorious views before exploring the town itself.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

I honestly feel that our fleeting visit did not do Cordes-sur-Ciel justice.  More ‘touristy’ than the places we had seen so far, this was nonetheless very tastefully done with a greater emphasis on local crafts and artisanry than the usual grockle bait.*

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Amazingly well-preserved, it was one of the larger bastide’s we were to visit and consequently there much to see and many narrow roads to explore.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Established in the early 13th century, Cordes quickly became prosperous on the back of its cloth, silk and leather trades and the stunning architecture reflects the success of its merchants. Gothic arches abound and almost everywhere you turn there are beautiful sculptural touches to the buildings in an array of differing styles.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Much of the towns surrounding walls are also intact and we would often turn a corner to see a grand and imposing gateway framing a picture-perfect view of the skies and valley beyond.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Cordes-sur-Ciel is a must see in the region and we were very lucky to see it in such glorious sunshine and relatively calm. It is noted for its crowds once the season starts in earnest.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

*Grockle bait. A phrase is taken from the south of England where ‘grockle’ refers to the migratory tourists that flood into the more popular coastal towns of Devon and Cornwall the minute the sun so much as peeps out from behind a cloud. ‘Grockle bait’ therefore refers to those products and/or stores which cater almost exclusively to said, tourists. Usually overpriced, under-appointed and thoroughly scowled upon by the natives. We saw the same brand of pâtés de Foie gras being marketed as produced locally in just about every town and village we visited…

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn Department, Midi-Pyrénées, France.

Special thanks to Amanda for her wonderful photographs and words for this post.

Christmas Part II – Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany 2016.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016

I got back from my trip to Füssen and Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany late Tuesday night and thought I’d do a couple of quick posts before I procrastinate and never get around to sharing.  If you’re ever looking for somewhere to spend a few days, whatever the time of year, both places are beautiful and well worth a visit.

This post is Part II of my Christmas experience in Germany and looks solely at Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a beautiful Bavarian medieval town on the famous Romantic Road.  It’s not going to be wordy just a few snaps taken from my time there. Hope you enjoy them and if you have any questions, please ask, hopefully, I’ll be able to help.  Thank you and season greetings.  Adele. x

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016

Rothenburg 2016

Rothenburg 2016

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016 This is the beginning of the Christmas market. It winds through further streets and into buildings behind the main square. The Rothenburg Christmas Market “Reiterlesmarkt,” named after a local Teutonic legend, which began during pre-Christian times as the story of a horrid rider who carried the souls of the dead. As Christianity swept through Europe, the figure developed from a wild man into a loving, gentle man who gave gifts to all people on earth.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016
Rothenburg Christmas market in the Market Square. It winds through further streets and buildings behind the main square selling small gifts, orniments, hot food and lots of mulled wine.
The Rothenburg Christmas Market “Reiterlesmarkt,” named after a local Teutonic legend, which began during pre-Christian times as the story of a horrid rider who carried the souls of the dead. As Christianity swept through Europe, the figure developed from a wild man into a loving, gentle man who gave gifts to all people on earth.

 

 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Hotel Eisenhut, Entrance and Reception Area. The hotel is in a great location, right beside the Christmas Market. The shared spaces are beautiful but the room we had was very dated. The room was clean and large but the overall appearance was a letdown. I would still recommend Hotel Eisenhut despite our room.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Hotel Eisenhut, Entrance and Reception Area.
The hotel is in a great location, right beside the Christmas Market.
The shared spaces are beautiful but the room we had was very dated.
The room was clean and large but the overall appearance was a letdown.
I would still recommend Hotel Eisenhut despite our room.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016 This was our hotel for 2 nights, Hotel Eisenhut.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016
This was our hotel for 2 nights, Hotel Eisenhut.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Rothenburg is truly beautiful, everywhere you look you’ll see cobbled streets, brightly coloured medieval buildings and quaint shops geared towards the many tourists that visit this wonderful place each year. I personally didn’t go for the shopping but mainly to soak up the Christmasy atmosphere in one of Europes prettiest and best preserved medieval towns.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. We'd been lead to believe that Rothenburg would be mobbed with visitors but we found it to be fairly quiet, with no queues in the shops and the restaurants being virtually empty. Maybe it's the recession or we just happened to fall lucky.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
We’d be lead to believe that Rothenburg would be mobbed with visitors but we found it to be fairly quiet, with no queues in the shops and the restaurants being virtually empty. Maybe it’s the recession or maybe we just happened to fall lucky, either way, I highly recommend visiting this town on the famous Romantic Road.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. The walls of Rothenburg.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
The walls of Rothenburg.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. The walls of Rothenburg.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
The walls of Rothenburg.

My favourite Brätwurst was the wild boar sold at stalls in the Christmas market. We spent most of our time eating and drinking. The mulled wine was a firm favourite, making us all feel very festive and warming us during the cold winters days and nights.

My favourite Brätwurst was the wild boar sold at stalls in the Christmas market.
We spent most of our time eating and drinking. The mulled wine was a firm favourite, making us all feel very festive and warming us during the cold winters days and nights.

Pretty Christmas decorations are everywhere.

Pretty Christmas decorations are everywhere.

Treat yourself in the many gift shops, stalls, coffee shops and restaurants.

Treat yourself in the many gift shops, stalls, coffee shops and restaurants.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.

When the tourists leave and the mist descends, Rothenburg feels completely different but equally as special.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. It's getting late here and the mist thickens. I can't help but think of Whitechapel, London and Jack the Ripper when I look at this photo.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
It’s getting late here and the mist thickens.
I can’t help but think of Whitechapel, London and Jack the Ripper when I look at this photo.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. The empty streets and mist gives the town a completely different feel.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
The empty streets and mist gives the town a completely different feel.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. There's hardly anyone around by 9 pm and then the mist begins to descend.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
There’s hardly anyone around by 9 pm and then the mist begins to descend.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Rothenburg becomes eerily quiet when the shops close and the mist starts to blanket the town.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Rothenburg becomes eerily quiet when the shops close and the mist starts to blanket the town.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. The walls are deserted at night. The mist gives the place a really creepy feel but we loved it.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
The walls are deserted at night. The mist gives the place a really creepy feel but we loved it.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. There's still a bit of life outside this hotel and in the adjoining walled beer garden.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
There’s still a bit of life outside this hotel and in the adjoining walled beer garden.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Very few people were on the streets after 9 pm but this hotel and bar seemed to be buzzing.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Very few people were on the streets after 9 pm but this hotel and bar seemed to be buzzing.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. The streets are virtually empty of people by 10 pm.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
The streets are virtually empty of people by 9 pm.

 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. The streets begin to empty just in time for the mist to cover the streets.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
The streets begin to empty just in time for the mist to cover the streets.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. The streets begin to empty.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
The streets begin to empty.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Beautiful cobbled streets of Rothenburg.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Beautiful cobbled streets of Rothenburg.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. On the walls, it's deathly quiet and scary but we loved it.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
On the walls, it’s deathly quiet and scary but we loved it.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Our hotel as the mist begins to descend.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Our hotel as the mist begins to descend.

We got up on our last day and went out for a walk and to watch the sunrise from the battlements.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Beautiful morning sunrise on the last day of our trip.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Beautiful morning sunrise on the last day of our trip.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Sunrise from the battlements.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Sunrise from the battlements.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Sunrise from the battlements.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.
Sunrise from the battlements.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - Christmas 2016. Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Adele x

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany – Christmas 2016.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Seasons Greetings
Adele

christmas-flower