Friday, September 22, 2017

THREE DAYS IN TAUTAVEL.


During my trip to Paris, I had the opportunity to visit Tautavel, a small village near Perpignan in the South of France. Adrienne's good family friends Anne and Gerard offered to host us in their home, and I'm so so glad we took them up on it! Visiting Tautavel was such a wonderful experience, made especially so because of our wonderful and knowledgeable hosts. The biggest thank you to Anne, Gerard and their son Antoine for showing us such a special time!

Perpignan is a quick hour and fifteen minute flight from Paris ORLY. We hopped a flight down on Monday evening, and immediately when you walk off the plane you know you're somewhere VERY different than Paris. Perpignan is situated near the Mediterranean Sea, just on the other side of the Pyrenees Mountains from Spain (Barcelona is just a 2 hour drive, if you have the time!). The climate and landscape is a beautiful hybrid of mediterranean, tropical and mountain. It's truly unlike anywhere I'd been before.

Getting off the plane at PGF.


By the time we got from the airport to Anne and Gerard's it was quite late, so we hung out at their house, drank wine on the terrace, and Antoine kept us entertained with his renditions of French pop songs.


Tuesday morning we awoke to a lovely French breakfast prepared by Anne (more baguette!), and relaxed around their charming 17th century home. The village itself is so charming, it's hard not to wander off and explore. 

The porch of Anne and Gerard's 17th century home.




Now leading to their basement, these doors used to lead to a stable for the donkeys!


During most of our visit we experienced unseasonably cold weather, which was unfortunate, but certainly would not keep us from using our time to the fullest! We had decided, at the suggestion of our hosts, that we would visit Chateau de Peyrepertuse, the ruins of an 11th century castle in the French Pyrenees. 

Views from the top of the fortress are unbelievably gorgeous, and definitely worth the challenging hike up. Word to the wise, wear shoes with good traction. Unless you'd like to wind up with a strained MCL like myself :)

The trailhead of the hike that leads you up to Peyrepertuse. 




The views on the hike up were absolutely breathtaking.
Once you make it up to the castle, you truly feel transported to another time. The Princess Bride anyone?!

Thumbs up for making it to the top!
sunnies are Saint Laurent, jacket is Gap, top is Who What Wear Collection,
shorts are AG, bag is vintage Fendi and shoes are Superga.


Walking up to my tower.

Sitting on the altar in the chapel was probably somewhat sacrilegious,
but hey - anything for the picture!
this guy, a real stud.

Some majestic bird handlers. 
There he goes! 




The view from the highest point of the castle. Astounding!

Model Trent.

Right before this photo was taken I had the brilliant idea to sit up on the ledge for a photo, completely disregarding the 20 mph winds. A gust nearly blew me right off the edge and I truly saw my life flash before my eyes and it was really, really scary. Would have been a great shot though...



hellllloooo down there!!!
All was well at the top, and thennn I had to walk down!!! This proved to be a very big struggle. So what had happened was, as we were making our way down the mountain I happened to spot a beautiful white German Shepherd. Being the mother of a Black German Shepherd, I felt compelled to capture a photo of this beautiful creature. Apparently, this photo would come at a cost...As I was multitasking my way down from the castle, I slipped on a large piece of marble and simultaneously twist/fell on top of my right knee (in front of no less than 50 tourists, including the cute dog). The good news is, I got my pic. 

The cute GSD, laughing at me for falling down a mountain. 
After really exerting ourselves on the mountain (some of us more than others), we came home to find a lovely apero prepared for us by Anne.  I promptly ate all the baguette and drank all the wine. 





Trent couldn't help himself. 
After having our fill, we freshened up and headed into Perpignan to do some exploring. I will allow our friends at Wikipedia to teach you a little more about Perpignan:

Perpignan is a southern French city near the Mediterranean coast and the border with Spain. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca during the 13th century, and a significant Catalan influence is evident in its medieval core. South of the old town, the huge Gothic-and-Romanesque Palace of the Kings of Majorca has ramparts with views to the coast.

I.E. it's really really really old!

On our drive into Perpignan from Tautavel, Anne stopped to show us some stunning views of the valley.





Luckily the weather broke a little bit, and we got a lovely sunset that evening. It was a nice compliment to the colors of the city.








Because it is a highly available natural resource in this part of the country,
most of the sidewalks were made of this beautiful red marble. 

I just love all the colors!



Always best to color coordinate with your surroundings.
Jacket is Gap, bodysuit from Zara, jeans are j brand, bag is vintage Fendi and shoes are Franco Sarto.








When the sun finally set, we stopped in at Le Zinc for pre-dinner cocktails.

I liked Antoine's beer bottle.

Trenton and Anne <3
I've noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between how much I drink, and the worse blogger I become...because after our first cocktail, I hardly took any photos! That being said, we had awesome tapas for dinner at Casa Sansa.

The terrace at Casa Sansa.

Wednesday, after a relaxed morning at the house, we took bikes out to the Gorges de Gouleyrous. Well to be fair, most of us rode bikes, but due to my recent knee injury I was unable to bike, but Anne was kind enough give me a ride on her motorcycle! 


The view from Anne and Gerard's street.

The road to Anne and Gerard's.

Streets of Tautavel.

They Mayor's office.
Looking for GSDs everywhere, always.





Vines from the back of a motorcycle.

Future wine. 
The Gorges are north of Tautavel, and traveling there by bike allows you to take a beautiful drive through the vineyards and mountains. The Gorges offer a beautiful, crystal clear place to swim, which I can imagine would be particularly refreshing on a hot day. Unfortunately we didn't quite have swimming weather (there were some brave souls in the water), but it was still a wonderful place to visit.

Gorges de Gouleyrous.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about the Gorges de Gouleyrous, it that they are the site of cave where the remains of homo erectus was found! The remains of the "Tautavel Man" date back 450,000 years! Paleontologists still excavate this site today. 

Homo Erectus was found in a cave on this mountain.
Below is the paleontologists' camp. 

In the afternoon, Anne had generously made arrangements for us to have a wine tasting lunch at Chateau de Jau. If you are anywhere in the area of Perpignan, you MUST do this! Honestly, the trip would have been worth doing this alone. The chateau itself is so picturesque, it feels like you're living in a movie. Inside the chateau there is a airy and bright art gallery, that hosts a rotation of art instillations. I really enjoyed visiting the gallery before sitting down for lunch. 


The entrance to Château de Jau.







I just love these colors!


The art gallery.




Lunch itself was on the loveliest terrace. The food was wonderful, and I think it goes without saying that all the wine pairings were fantastic. 


Lunch with a view.



Anne and Antoine.


Living my best life!!!
Linen romper is Zara, sunnies are Saint Laurent, bag is vintage Fendi.



Cheers to Anne for treating us to the most wonderful lunch!

Just next to the restaurant is a beautiful wine shop (if you can even call it that) where you can purchase any of the wines that you tried at lunch. 





After lunch, we took a chance with the weather and drove over to the beach. I'd never been to the Mediterranean Sea and was determined to experience it! Unfortunately, the weather didn't exactly hold out, but it was still so beautiful! And hey, now I have a reason to go back :) 





When going to the sea, we must match the sea, right?

So happy, but wanting so badly to be able to swim!!!
Before heading back to Tautavel we grabbed coffee at Biquet Plage, an eclectic outdoor cafe on the beach. 


Our last morning in town, we decided to wake up early and drive back to the Gorges, as Trent wasn't able to come with us on our first visit. When we got there, we were the only souls around, save for the paleontologists, sifting through the shallow water. 


Casual paleontologists, doing their paleontology thing.




We didn't think it would be warm enough to swim, and really regretted not bringing out suits, butt we made the best of it!

You gotta do what you gotta do.

I don't know why I think this photo is so funny, but I do.
After our impromptu swim sesh, we headed back to the house to find that Anne had prepared us a lovely pre-departure lunch. She is seriously the most generous hostess! We love you Anne!!!



Sadly, the end of the lunch meant it was time to say goodbye to our newly adopted family, and sweet sweet village of Tautavel.

Perfect Anne and Gerard.

Another HUGE and very special thank you to Anne, Gerard and Antoine for being the most exceptional hosts, and treating us like royalty! Visiting your home and family was such an delightful experience, that I'm not sure could ever be recreated. We love you and hope you come visit Detroit sometime soon!!!




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