Hérault has been sauntering into Autumn in majestic fashion, yielding up grapes for harvest and mushrooms for picking. The hunters are out, their presence heard rather than felt, in early morning forays pitting their wits against the wily boar. Mornings surprise with a welcome chill while afternoon warmth reminds us that winter is still a way off yet. Coat or no coat? is the pressing question of 8am...
It's perfect motorbiking weather. You can ride north to the Pic St Loup stopping off at Domaine de l'Hortus to see "Les Observatoires" - large wooden structures placed in identifiable constellations (supposedly) - or ride "La Vague" in the of the wave-like hollow between the mountains of Pic St Loup and Hortus.
|Seen at Domaine de l'Hortus "Les Observatoires" de Matthieu Pilaud|
Or you can ride south, basking in the balmy warmth, invigorated by the blue of a nearly cloudless sky and energised by the sea air.
|Mont St Clair, Sète, looking towards Balaruc-les-Bains|
|Mont St Clair, Sète looking east along the coast|
|View at lunch time|
|Cap d'Agde looking towards the capitainerie island|
We visited the memorial to the 900,000 French, Europeans and Harkis who were repatriated from Algeria in 1962 after 8 bloody years of war. Not the French state's greatest moment. The memorial stone looks out over the Mediterranean, the only link to their previous lives, having escaped in chaos and despair, but lucky to be alive... Many settled in Agde and became fishermen, teachers, shopkeepers, and contributed hugely to the development of the town.
Finally, we rode back to Montpellier via the coastal road towards Les Aresquiers which is now hunkered down behind some substantial protective walls designed to save the sandy beaches from the ravages of winter storms. After crossing the bridge over the canal, the smell of the sea is replaced by warm pine as you pass through the protected forest, to be followed by decaying salt marsh plants on the Etang de Vic on the other side. The flamingoes were visible in force on the Etang du Grec between Carnon and Palavas, heads down in the water, standing on one leg, or just having a snooze whilst basking in the sun. Their colourful pink bodies added cheery touches of colour to the greeny blue lagoon.
Judging by the traffic on the roads, we were all out and about enjoying being by the sea today.