On Sunday morning, we drove about 90 minutes southeast to the town of Lagrasse, France to visit a friend and do some hiking. The town is in the Aude Departement, tucked in between Carcassone, Narbonne, and the Pyrenees.
It’s tough to get a sense of any French town on a Sunday, as most everything is closed. But Lagrasse’s city center has a reputation for attracting a lot of artists and creatives, and we passed a lot of local shops that allowed us to glimpse some of that in their window displays.
And we did to happen to find a shop open for some wine and vinegar tasting. Lagrasse is right in the middle of the Corbieres region, which is the source of some of our favorite wines. Indeed, the main street featured numerous artisan shops and wandering the well-preserved older part of the city, one can see the appeal of renting a place here for a few days to explore the region.
The town’s main tourist feature is the l’Abbaye Sainte-Marie de l’Orbieu, which dates itself back to 799. It’s a great place to visit to get sense of the tides of religion, starting with pre-France, through the Cathars, up through the French Revolution.
Finally, we hiked what hands down is the best named hike we’ve taken in France: “Les fesses de Charlemagne.” (the buttocks of Charlemagne) It started with a pretty stiff climb uphill for 30 minutes, but the result was spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.