Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Day 3 - Nissan-Lez-Enserune

Collioure is a long way from Nissan (1-1/2 hours) so we chose for Tuesday to be a rest day, rising late and doing little but shop for pastries and then lounge by the pool until mid afternoon when a few clouds rolled in. This prompted a short excursion to test the theory that other beaches in the area might be better than the ones visited on Sunday evening. As a bonus we included the Montagne de la Clape and the ancient fishing village of Gruissan, just in case the beaches didn't pan out.

We had found a recommendation on the internet that the beach east of Gruissan was worth a visit. Well, it isn't! The sea is clean, of that there is no doubt, but the sand has an unattractive color and texture and there is no shade. It's such a pity that some of our English and Welsh favorites do not have warm Mediterranean waters lapping on their shores. Perhaps global warming could help?

Gruissan is a mix of the old and the new. The original village is built concentrically around a small hill with a tower that goes back 1300 years - the Cathars once dominated the coast. Unlike the tourist-dominated old town of Collioure, old Gruissan has a sense of community. But this is being subsumed under a vast sea of new development.

We also visited a large disused quarry on the Montagne - this entailed a short walk to view the dark green waters in the quarry floor. Hiking is supposed to be popular here but there is little evidence of trails and footpaths other than to "sites of special interest".

For dinner we decided to eat out at the local Hotel Residence, a fine restaurant serving traditional French food. Beautifully prepared and presented, the three courses chosen were rich in flavor but light in content - not at all fattening!