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Chapter 10: Looking for Mr. Goodstone
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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Near Pézenas: two country walks and a scenic car tour
The Nizas walk into the countryside starts here. Rue des Glycines is on the right. Look for the blue and yellow blazes marking the route.
These walks in the countryside near Pézenas are described in detail in the French-language hiking guide you will find at the house. They are both easy rambles that begin and end in a village. From the house in Valros, take the N9 toward Pézenas. Stay on the N9 toward Clermont-l'Hérault. You'll pass through Lézignan-la-Cèbe, famous for its doux (soft) onions.
The countryside on the road to Neffiès. It's May, and the broom is in season. Genêt is French for broom; Plantagenet soldiers identified themselves
with a sprig in their helmets.
Now you must choose: Do you want the Nizas walk, which strolls into the back country, following the trail of an old Roman road? Or do you want the Cazouls-d'Hérault amble, that takes advantage of flood levees and old rail beds?
For Nizas, drive almost through Lézignan-la-Cèbe and turn left onto the D124, then left again onto the D124/E1. It's not far. Park in the center of town. The walk starts there (right across from a bar) and heads down the rue des Glycines. The walk is marked by blazes painted with blue and yellow. The full walk is rated 6 hours, and you soon leave habitation behind. For Cazouls-d'Hérault, drive through Lézignan-la-Cèbe and turn at the sign for Cazouls-d'Hérault, on your right. Park in town at the Place St. Jean (or anywhere else convenient), and head down the ultra-quiet rue de la Fabrique. The levees are raised structures that protect the fields from flooding, with cinder-paved footpaths on top. The full walk is rated 2.5 hours, and you've never far from town.The car tour is short, though sweet, on a road that Michelin designates "scenic" (i.e., winding with great views). From Lézignan-la-Cèbe, turn left onto the D124, headed toward Fontès. Pass through Fontès, toward Cabrières. Keep a sharp eye. Before Cabrières, on your left, there's a sharp uphill turn on the D15 toward Neffiès. Right at the start on your climb you'll see on your left a place to pull off that's marked by signs for (as I recall) a prehistoric mine. There's a spring there where people come to fill their water bottles, a welcome treat in these semi-arid hills. As you climb further, you'll encounter several places where you can park to enjoy panoramic views of the Hérault plains below. If you'd like to stretch your legs, the scrubby (and fragrant) limestone ridges all around make wonderful hiking, or you could just hike the road itself, which is quite steep. To head back toward Valros, follow the D15 to Roujan, then the D13 back to Pézenas.
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