23 April 2012 | Gruissan, France
Gruissan, which we had never heard of before and about which the internet and Lonely Planet were largely silent, was a great experience. It was first mentioned in the 700s, and for a lot of its history was ruled cojointly by the Archbishop of Narbonne and the local lord, who exploited its salt and fish. What remains is a tower on the high point of the town which the Archbishop lived in as well as using as a prison. The 13th century church is also very beautiful and is apparently representative of Languedoc churches. The altar is six pink marble columns supporting the Virgin Mary rising to Heaven in billowing clouds. It also tells the history of Gruissan in that there is a painting of Saint Peter, in memory of 32 local fishermen who drowned in 1797, and the sad Honour Board to the men who died in the first World War ~ many families lost four sons. We wandered round the old town, and the old cemetery where heroes of the two world wars, the Indochina wars and the North African wars lie. The town was really tourist free, except for us. We had a lunch of moules (mussells) and pommes frites (french fries) and rose wine for E10 each. And to cap it all off, on our way to dinner we saw two flocks of flamingoes calling and flying overhead ~ were they going back to Africa or coming up?