Saturday, August 06, 2005

Villeneuve les Maguelone

vignes et mer

This past week, Jube, le Pacha and I all went to Villeneuve les Maguelone, a small island near Montpellier. It is bordered on one side by the Mediterranean and on the other by les etangs. Jube swears there is a word for “etang” in English, and in fact is used by Edgar Allan Poe in “The Fall of the House of Usher” to describe the terrain upon which the house is located… This may be true, but when I think of that story I think of something scary, and there is absolutely nothing scary about les etangs. They are home to pink flamingoes and are very pretty.

The island of Villeneuve les Maguelone boasts the restored ruins of a medieval cathedral, a small community that grows grapes, makes wine, and takes care of a fishery, and some very nice beaches. The three of us parked the car and then hiked for two miles to see the cathedral. On the way, we passed the beach—and realized that there are, in fact, two beaches. One is the normal Mediterranean beach, with sand, blue water, parents and children. The other is home to “naturists.” We were very surprised to see about three naked couples during our hike, including one woman who ran the length of the beach and back again. Ironically for a naturist, she seemed not to have breasts au naturel. The cathedral was very peaceful, and we took lots of pictures around it. Instead of walking back to the car, we took the petit train, which was free for us since we had paid 4€00 for the parking lot.

On the way home we stopped at Palavas to get some ice cream. France has the best soft serve ice cream ever, called “Italian ice cream.” I had a pistachio and chocolate cone and Jube enjoyed a banana cone. Le Pacha, on the other hand, would not be contented until he found his particular favorite, double chocolat. It’s even more than brand loyalty—he refused three different vendors because they didn’t carry the exact kind he wanted. Luckily on the way home we found one stand that sold the double chocolat, and we drove home with a brown-lipped Pacha.

3 comments:

maitresse said...

I don't have my collected Poe on hand but I usually translate etang as "pond"... no? but then, wordreference.com says "pool." Alas!

Gem said...

I actually got interested and checked out the story. The word is "tarn," but that doesn't seem exactly right...

Chromatius said...

Nope. It's lake, pool (not swimming pool), pond - a natural-ish hole with water in it....