September 19, 2011

Pyrenees Tour: Lagrasse

Arrived here in Lagrasse, a medieval city with a Roman history before it, at about 3:00, and haven't seen any rain since then. I have a very comfortable room in a lovely chambres d'hote named Les Trois Graces.   

After a quick clean-up, I went out to investigate. The city is located in the Vallee d'Orbieu, and is lively, with what appears to be a sizeable tourist base, and also numerous galleries, crafts shops, a few antique stores and interesting small shops. It is on the list of 100 most beautiful villages in France, and appears to be home to a population of artists who relocated here. Although there is clearly a tourist based economy, it is not overwhelming and the town retains quite a lot of character.


Of course, I had to take a few photos for my cat, who is no doubt by now quite miffed with me.

The town is still dominated by the huge Abbaye Sainte Marie de Lagrasse. The abbaye was divided into two parts in 1796, and this division remains today.

As best I understand a part of this abbaye is being lived in and restored by a group of religious chanoines, who are not monks, but mostly priests, who, with academic and scholarly advice, are restoring and reinhabiting it.

The other section is also being restored, and is also a historic site, but today not in active religious use. Altogether, it felt, in a very good way, like being in some sort of archeological site.

The stone is a warm, reddish color, especially where it is cleaned up. You can see the color difference in the photos.

I had an extremely good dinner, with an appetizer of dried duck on a mound of mashed potatoes, fresh chevre and leeks, in crispy puff pastry, followed by a delicious  bird of some kind, I didn't understand the words, but since it was today's specialty I ordered it anyway. It was fragrant, along with its rice, of herbs and spices, and ended with a perfectly poached pear in honey.



  1. OK, I see that next time I actually have to stop and go inside Lagrasse!

  2. Hi Gerry
    It is true, it was one of my favorite places, partly for the history, partly for the liveliness that all the contemporary artists and craftspeople bave brought to it.

    By the way, any reader who is interested in this part of France sbould check Gerry's blogs for routes and guided tour info!


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