Europe: Part 2-Second Half of France (+ Spain!)

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July 29, 2014 by maddieswab

Sorry this post is a bit late, but we had no WiFi in my aunt and uncle’s house the last few days I was there, and I just got back to the US yesterday! Anyway, here’s the rest of the photos and adventures we had in the south of France and Spain!

We visited l’Abbaye de Fontfroide in Narbonne on Tuesday for an easy outing for one of the hotter days in France and it was so pretty! They were getting ready for a concert there that night, so it was a bit hectic and there were no guided tours that day, but it was neat to be able to explore on our own terms. I also picked up some mints made from donkey’s milk, which I was super skeptical about, but we all ended up liking them! The Abbaye was so breathtaking, but I think the thing I loved the most about it was the garden with so many roses, lavender, flowers, and herbs. It smelled so good. And Aunt Amy, Florian, Charlotte, and I got to sit and spend a good amount of time in the garden while the rest of our gang climbed up the nearby mountain to reach the cross at the top! It was a fun and relaxing afternoon for sure!

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That same day, we visited Peyriac de Mer to walk over the salt marshes on these bridges that wind all over. It kind of grossed me out to see that we get fleur de sel from gross marshes, but hey–everything comes from somewhere! It was the perfect afternoon, with a great breeze and the fun hike over and around the marshes.

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Wednesday was our biggest outing for sure! We went to Figueras, Spain for the day! We visited the Salvador Dali museum there (since it’s the city where he was born) and got to see his tomb in the museum. It was amazing to see that large of a collection of all of his art, as well as some other artists’ works that he owned and admired. It was a hot day, but we still had fun. Plus, I ended the day with my first paella, which was beyond delicious! I’m a sucker for anything with seafood in it 🙂

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On the way to Figueras, we stopped in Banyuls sur Mer for a snack and a wine tasting! Banyuls sur Mer is famous for wine that pairs perfectly with chocolate and while I’m not a huge wine person, the two wines I tasted were surprisingly good and I really noticed how they would pair well with chocolate! Then we stopped at a pastry shop (I chose flan!) and ate our snacks by the beach before continuing on to Spain.

On Thursday, we mostly just relaxed and swam at the pool at our gîte after the exhausting day we had before. But we did go for a boat ride on the Canal du Midi in Homps, France. It was super relaxing and it was pretty fun to see and hear about the history of the canal!

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On our last day in Pouzols-Minervois, Friday, we went to visit l’Oppidum d’Ensérune, the ruins of an ancient city. It was a really nice day for walking around the ruins and it was interesting to see this ancient city and compare it to Carcassonne and Minerve. It was a nice wrap-up to our week in France!

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On our first day driving back to Belgium, we stopped for a bit at le Viaduct de Millou in France, the tallest bridge in the world. It was freaky to drive over, that’s for sure! But hiking up a nearby hill and getting to see the bridge in all of its glory was breathtaking. It’s so, so amazing how people can build something not only large and magnificent, but also resilient since it hold up so many people, cars, and trucks.

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We stayed that night in Bourges, France and we ate dinner in town (I ended with Speculoos crème brûlée for dessert–yum!) and visited a gorgeous cathedral. The next morning, we continued back to Belgium! Overall, it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had and is something I wouldn’t normally do since I’m more of a city girl. And what made it even better was that I was with some of my favorite family members whom I don’t get to see often. I definitely won’t forget this week in France 🙂

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I’ll be posting my adventures in London and Belgium (+ the Netherlands and Germany) later this week and early next week!

 

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