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House diaries
A Working Holiday
Chapter 1: We Leave for France
Chapter 10: Looking for Mr. Goodstone
Chapter 11: A mission to la Clape
Chapter 12: Dinner at Château de Lignan
Chapter 13: Antiques and plunder
Chapter 14: The vintner next door
Chapter 15: The rooftops of Nézignan-l'Évêque
Chapter 2: Comes the crusade
Chapter 3: The 13 colonies
Chapter 4: Our curtains are dreadful
Chapter 5: Naked beaches
Chapter 6: A visit to Château des Estanilles
Chapter 7: A pilgrimage to Toulouse
Chapter 8: Remembering Collioure
Chapter 9: The priest and the mayor
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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Montpeyroux and a Really Big Castle
As you approach Montpeyroux, you'll see a large crenellated castle spread across the herb-scented hills. The castle is yours to explore at the end of a short, easy hike. It's not noted on any Michelin map.
Okay. It’s not a whole castle. It’s mostly a crenellated curtain wall, with a ruined chapel inside. But it is a surprisingly expansive curtain wall, unnoted on any Michelin map or guide, and visible for miles. It makes an easy and rewarding hike. The town of Montpeyroux hides one of the region’s best wine labels, Domaine d’Auphilhac. Time to destination: 45 minutes.
From the house in Valros, take the N9 toward Pézenas.
Stay on the N9 through Lézignan-la-Cèbe, known for its extra-sweet onions. Continue on the N9 through Clermont-L’Hérault.
Take the N109 toward Gignac and St. Guilhem-le-Désert. You will cross l’Hérault river.
Turn onto D32. Follow the signs to Centre Ville.
Turn left toward Lagamas on the D9.
Montpeyroux is three kilometers beyond Lagamas, on the D9. The tasting room for d’Auphilhac is a half-block walk from the town’s central marketplace.
Le Barry is a small neighborhood directly behind Montpeyroux. You park at the foot of Le Barry to begin your climb to the Château du Castelles.
For hikers: one of the French national trails - the GR 653 - winds across the hot, fragrant limestone hills - the garrigues - above le Barry. This trail connects with the GR 74 and wends you by foot toward St. Guilhem-le-Désert. A wagon trail heads uphill to the right of the castle and connects with a fireroad. There you'll see the red and white blazes of the GR. Turn right. It's a 2-hour walk to reach the hills above St. Guilhem. It's a bare trail, so bring plenty of water and wear a hat. For sightseers: you can continue through Montpeyroux up the D9, which ascends steeply toward a mountaintop vantage. Or you can backtrack from Montpeyroux toward Lagamas, pick up the D141, then the D4, to St. Guilhem-le-Désert.
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