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French Road Trip Destinations Across Southern France

Updated on November 30, 2012

Road Trip Destinations - Trebes

River Aude - Trebes
River Aude - Trebes
Canal Du Midi - Trebes
Canal Du Midi - Trebes

Motoring in France for Pleasure

Living in the South of France can certainly throw up a few surprises, even when you are just popping out to do a bit of business. We did exactly that the other day, we were heading for a little place called Ferrals Les Corbieres which sits between Carcassonne and Narbonne just off the main N113 route between the two.

Yes it was a business trip really but as we were heading into the gorgeous Corbieres region we thought it would be good to do a little bit of exploring.

Trebes looked promising so we decided we would head into the town and explore what it had to offer. It does after all sit on the Canal Du Midi, a world heritage site and always a bit of a treat. Plus having passed that way previously we knew that the River Aude also runs through the town.

Have to be honest, we found Trebes a tad on the noisy side, the road that goes through heads out to Bezieres and can be a bit busy. That said if you go into the town centre away from the road it is very quiet.

We noticed that all the life was really on the Canal Du Midi where there were lots of boats moored and many people making use of the restaurants and cafes sited alongside the canal. It did look really pleasant and if you don't mind some traffic passing by you could find a great place to have a bit of lunch on the Canal Du Midi.

For photographs on cards please visit Moulin Graphic Designs

Amusing Ex-Pat Intrigue in The South of France

The Happy Hooker: Expat Intrigue - Living with the Enemy in Deepest France
The Happy Hooker: Expat Intrigue - Living with the Enemy in Deepest France

About ex-pat life in the South of France. A highly amusing take on the activities of both the local community and ex-pat infiltrators in a small French village.

 

Road trip destinations don't come much better than Montlaur

Once we finished having a nosy around Trebes we thought it was about time to get off to our appointment and so we got back on the N113 and headed toward Narbonne. It was then we happened upon Capendu, which was the next town but one, and we spotted the turn for Montlaur. Having had a quick look at the map we could see that this was a cross country route towards Fabrezan close to where we were headed. So we decided to go take a look.

It wasn't very long before we realized that this was a very good move, because within minutes we were out in the true Corbieres countryside and coming across vineyard after vineyard via lovely winding roads and rolling hills . This was real Corbieres wine country and the scenery was fabulous, driving in Europe is pretty special for so many reasons.

Normally I am quite proud of my photographs but on this occasion I really don't think that the photos I have provided do the route the justice it deserves. OK the vines look a lot more attractive later in the season when they are covered with leaves and are a vibrant green colour. But what should have been nice about these shots, and what I was trying to capture, was the quaintness of the workers in the fields preparing the vines for the coming season. They clip off all the old shoots from the year before and they do it the old fashioned way with a pair of secateurs and a lot of wrist action. Must be really hard work given the sheer numbers of vines to be done, but it is a job that has to be done for the best results. Oh well, I guess you can't win them all, I'll make a mental note that I need better photographs on the next trip.

That said now that we know about this route, you can be sure the next time we are out motoring in France for pleasure it will probably be a little later in the spring and this route will definitely be on the agenda. I can't wait to get some updated photographs of the vines in their full splendour.

When we got to Montlaur there was the biggest wine 'cave' we have seen on our travels to date. Montlaur was down in the plains and had a huge expanse of vines growing all around it, so it shouldn't really have been that much of a surprise.

Heading out from Montlaur, if it was possible, the terrain became even more interesting as we entered the Gorge de Congoust. and felt like we were in the Wild West of America. We found out later that this region has actually been used to film one or two westerns, assuming the source is reliable of course, but when you look at the craggy landscape and rocky river bed, it is quite believable.

Have to say whether you are motoring in France or cycling in France, then I am pretty sure you would not be disappointed by this route or the scenery that comes with it.

Once we got through the gorge we had no choice we had to head off for our business appointment. But given the option I know where I would have been heading, and it is a place I have written about before, the Capital of Corbieres called Lagrasse. Basically when you hit the D212 instead of turning left for Fabrezan you turn right for Lagrasse. This would be perfect for a circular route because after Lagrasse, possibly stopping for a lazy lunch, you can meander back through Corbieres country all the way to Trebes and then Carcassonne beyond.

A perfect base for your road trips destinations in France is our Gite in France which is about 35 to 40 minutes from Carcassonne and very nicely placed for some lovely country routes through, not only Corbieres, but also Minervoise, the Montagne Noire, Haute Garonne and the Tarn regions. Some really fabulous routes with amazing scenery on quiet winding roads.

I have added a list of the routes we have taken during our time here in France which actually only represents the tip of the iceberg, there are plenty more for us to discover and we will of course share these routes as we explore them.


Corbieres Wine Routes

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Turn right at Capendu for the perfect road trip destination.You start to climb through Corbieres wine country.Motoring in France doesn't get much better as you head towards MontlaurThis road trip takes you curling around quite a few vineyards and gives you a few mountain views on the way.Montlaur has a very big degustation on the Corbieres wine route.The Gorge de Congoust is rumored to have been the setting for one or two cowboy films
Turn right at Capendu for the perfect road trip destination.
Turn right at Capendu for the perfect road trip destination.
You start to climb through Corbieres wine country.
You start to climb through Corbieres wine country.
Motoring in France doesn't get much better as you head towards Montlaur
Motoring in France doesn't get much better as you head towards Montlaur
This road trip takes you curling around quite a few vineyards and gives you a few mountain views on the way.
This road trip takes you curling around quite a few vineyards and gives you a few mountain views on the way.
Montlaur has a very big degustation on the Corbieres wine route.
Montlaur has a very big degustation on the Corbieres wine route.
The Gorge de Congoust is rumored to have been the setting for one or two cowboy films
The Gorge de Congoust is rumored to have been the setting for one or two cowboy films

So do you think this was a great road trip destination?

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    • serrechevalierski profile image

      serrechevalierski 

      7 years ago from Serre Chevalier, France

      I live in Serre Chevalier, in the Southern French Alps (see http://www.serrechevalier.org ) and I have pretty much been to all the places you did - nice hub

    • BrianS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Many thanks for all the kind comments, I know you are supposed to write in the 3rd party really. But sometimes just saying it as it is gets the message across a little better and more personalised.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a pleasant experience...seeing your bit of France through your eyes and the written word. Checked out your "Gite" and it is truly lovely! If we ever decide to travel that direction, will remember your lodging and make plans to meet.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 

      8 years ago

      very nice journey...

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      8 years ago

      It's been quite a few years since I've been to France, I would love to go. I would of course want to use your guide here. Fields of sunflowers....I want to see those again.

    • profile image

      World Travel Guide 

      8 years ago

      Never been to France but looking forward to visit a friend of mine there (Brian the Author)... Maybe in 3 years time... (wink)

    • BrianS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Well I am surprised how well this little trip through France has been received. Thanks for all your comments they are much appreciated. I like the jewel in the rough analogy, I have been called a bit of rough with a jewel previously (the wife is the jewel), which is probably more accurate, but thanks for the sentiment. Glad you have enjoyed this particular adventure.

    • HubCrafter profile image

      HubCrafter 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Hello Brian:

      Well, aren't you just a jewel in the rough! I had no idea what and whom I'd been missing.

      Fabulous writing. Your voice comes right through. It's natural and just rolls. Well done.

      Yes. I liked the topic too. LOL. But I'm more likely to win the national lottery than to afford a visit to France anytime soon.

      Cheers,

      HubCrafter

      P.S. And thanks for the visit at my hub. Very kind of you.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I've never really wanted to go to France until now! Great job!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      8 years ago from The English Midlands

      We have done a lot of driving in France, but Montlaur doesn't ring any bells. Somewhere to visit in the future, perhaps.

      We visited Narbonne, for the first time, last summer ~ lovely place ~ and have been to the beautiful Carcassonne a few times.

      Thanks. Enjoyed your hub!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for showing this wonderful journey.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Brian, I have always wanted to do one of those river boat trips in France. I've spent a lot of time all over the country, but never got around to doing this. Thanks so much for an interesting and well-written hub.

    • BrianS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Hi Melinda, thanks for the comment, it is a lovely part of France.

      Hi Tony, you are very welcome to drop by and of course it would have to be a glass of Corbieres. Our favorite tipple.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      As a Francophile I loved this Hub. Most enjoyable read. I have long wanted to do a barge cruise on the Canal du Midi which I have seen in several places. One day I will get the funds together to do it. Then I'll drop by your place and have a glass of whatever you recommend with you!

      Thanks for sharing

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 

      8 years ago

      Wow.. I will be sure to remember to go back to this hub when it is time for me to visit France. Thanks!!

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