Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Day 4 - Nissan-Lez-Enserune

Closer to "home", a day of exploration. First, a visit to the ancient ruins at Oppidum d'Enserune, located a few kilometers north of Nissan. This hill settlement was first occupied in the 6th Century BC and continued until the 1st Century AD, at which time it was abandoned. Many of the remains are still buried and excavation is taking time (as funds, no doubt, are hard to come by). The museum contains an abundance of material collected from the site.

Very near the ruins there is the Malpas Tunnel, a short stretch of the Canal du Midi that passes beneath the ridge on which the ruins are located. We watched several canal cruisers pass by.

The weather began to warm up, so we decided to check out another beach resort area, Cap d'Agde. This is a modern development which has been tastefully executed though we are sure it becomes very busy in August! The Cap is composed of volcanic lava flows that extruded out into th sea from an inland vent. The rocks are black to dark brown and contain lots of evidence of volcanic ash and bombs (rocks ejected from the volcano that land on its surface. We drove past the large naturiste area (a commune that claims to be the largest of its type in France) and parked on the cliff edge near Le Conque. A short walk found us on the beach and swimming in the Med. Cap d'Agde has a charm that is lacking elsewhere along the coast but it does not compare with Collioure.

Early evening our hosts at Paradix invited us in for a glass of wine and we shared views and opinions on many things, using our expriences as illustrations. A delightful evening on their large balcony, watching a fine sunset. The wine, a Sauvignon Blanc from the local cooperative, proved to be excellent and confirmed a decision we had already made: to visit the Caveau for a tasting as well as a "few" purchases!