Tag Archives: Beziers

Postcard From France – The Canal du Midi

The idea of creating a waterway as a shortcut between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea had captured the imagination of successive French Kings and governments since Roman times. The regional route overland was slow, uncomfortable and haunted by bandits; the two thousand mile passage by sea took at least a month and was also dangerous as ships negotiating the Spanish coast dodged storms and Barbary pirates to pass through the Strait of Gibraltar.

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France, Le Tricolore et La Fenêtre

At the top of the climb we went through the charming town of St Pons-de-Thomieres and as we sat in the mid morning traffic we drove past the Hôtel de Ville and in the courtyard there was a magnificent statue of Madame Liberty, the traditional female embodiment of the French Republic with her ample bosom unashamedly thrusting out and exposed to all.

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tricoloure window 2Tricolour window

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

Canal du Midi, Languedoc, France

The trees have been a feature of the eastern half of the canal from Toulouse to Sète since they were first planted in the 1830s and today, as we walked along the towpath, all around us they swayed gently in the breeze as though in a collective trance.  Their triple purpose was to strengthen the banks, reduce water evaporation by the strong Midi sun and shade the canal boats, which originally transported delicate products like wine and fabrics.  But in 2005 disaster struck and for the past six years a fungus has been attacking the trees, spreading along the waterway and defying all attempts to cure or control it.

Tree specialists have concluded that it is almost certain all the planes will have to be chopped down, burned and replaced because the trees have been struck by an outbreak of a virulent, incurable microscopic fungus which spreads through the roots and is thought to have first reached France with American GIs in the Second-World-War whose sycamore ammunition boxes were infected.

We counted ourselves lucky to have seen these magnificent trees at this time because in a couple of years or so they may well be gone.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

Autumn and the Canal du Midi

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”                                    Albert Camus

It wasn’t too busy today with just a few visitors and a handful of barges waiting patiently for the next scheduled operation of the locks.  It was quite interesting but I have to say that if this is the third most visited tourist attraction in Languedoc-Roussillon then the region must be short of visitor attractions and I’m not sure that I believe that claim.  From the top lock there was a glorious view across the river valley towards Beziers but we turned our back on that and continued to walk along the tree lined canal where two-hundred year old Plane trees with decorative mottled bark lean across the water, their heavy foliage forming an impenetrable canopy of heavily dappled olive-green shade.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Canal du Midi, Languedoc, France

The trees have been a feature of the eastern half of the canal from Toulouse to Sète since they were first planted in the 1830s and today, as we walked along the towpath, all around us they swayed gently in the breeze as though in a collective trance.  Their triple purpose was to strengthen the banks, reduce water evaporation by the strong Midi sun and shade the canal boats, which originally transported delicate products like wine and fabrics.  But in 2005 disaster struck and for the past six years a fungus has been attacking the trees, spreading along the waterway and defying all attempts to cure or control it.

Tree specialists have concluded that it is almost certain all the planes will have to be chopped down, burned and replaced because the trees have been struck by an outbreak of a virulent, incurable microscopic fungus which spreads through the roots and is thought to have first reached France with American GIs in the Second-World-War whose sycamore ammunition boxes were infected.

We counted ourselves lucky to have seen these magnificent trees at this time because in a couple of years or so they may well be gone.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Vila do Conde Convent of Santa Clara

Convent of Santa Clara, Vila do Conde, Portugal

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

Canal du Midi, Languedoc, France

The trees have been a feature of the eastern half of the canal from Toulouse to Sète since they were first planted in the 1830s and today, as we walked along the towpath, all around us they swayed gently in the breeze as though in a collective trance.  Their triple purpose was to strengthen the banks, reduce water evaporation by the strong Midi sun and shade the canal boats, which originally transported delicate products like wine and fabrics.  But in 2005 disaster struck and for the past six years a fungus has been attacking the trees, spreading along the waterway and defying all attempts to cure or control it.

Tree specialists have concluded that it is almost certain all the planes will have to be chopped down, burned and replaced because the trees have been struck by an outbreak of a virulent, incurable microscopic fungus which spreads through the roots and is thought to have first reached France with American GIs in the Second-World-War whose sycamore ammunition boxes were infected.

We counted ourselves lucky to have seen these magnificent trees at this time because in a couple of years or so they may well be gone.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Trees – Canal du Midi, France

The trees have been a feature of the eastern half of the canal from Toulouse to Sète since they were first planted in the 1830s.  But in 2005 disaster struck and for the past six years a fungus has been attacking the trees, spreading along the waterway and defying all attempts to cure or control it.

Tree specialists have concluded that it is almost certain all the planes will have to be chopped down, burned and replaced because the trees have been struck by an outbreak of a virulent, incurable microscopic fungus which grows and spreads through the roots and is thought to have first reached France with American GIs in the Second-World-War whose sycamore ammunition boxes were infected.  We counted ourselves lucky to have seen these magnificent trees at this time because in a couple of years or so they may well be gone.

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France, Languedoc-Roussillon

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France, French Icons – Madame Liberty and McDonalds

Madame Liberty

After breakfast at the Hotel des Poetes we walked into Béziers on a rather chilly morning to visit the market hall which had been closed the day before.  It was a typical French town market hall next to the Hôtel de Ville in the centre of the city and this early hour it was not yet particularly busy.

Our last market visit had been to the Varvakios Agora in Athens which had been a delightfully chaotic affair but this was much more orderly and the stalls were laid out to perfection much like the one in La Rochelle which we had visited a couple of years before.  We couldn’t realistically buy anything of course and take it back in our hand luggage so we stayed just long enough to get our ‘market fix’ and then we returned to check out of the hotel.

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