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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
St. Pons-de-Thomières: Headquarters of the Haut Languedoc

Sunny Mediterranean? In the wooded mountainscapes above St. Pons, you're as likely to encounter fog.
St. Pons-de-Thomières is the administrative headquarters for the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut Languedoc. It is a handy portal to an entirely different climate and landscape than the coastal Mediterranean plain with its wall-to-wall vineyards. Here it is heavily wooded and increasingly mountainous, almost alpine in feel. Many walks originate in St. Pons and wander into the steep hills. The Michelin one-star cavern, Grotte de la Devèze is a short way outside of town, on the N112. For wine lovers, the excellent and extensive AOC of St. Chinian is en route. Worth seeking out: the wines from the so-called Les Tontons Zingueurs domains - Borie la Vitarelle, G. Moulinier and Canet-Valette (the latter's Une et Mille Nuits is wonderful, I can happily attest). Time to St. Pons: 1 hour 15 minutes
Take the N9 from Valros toward Béziers. At the first rotary, you'll already see signs for St. Pons. It's a major regional destination and crossroads. Eventually you'll find yourself on the N112 headed northwest. For a lovely return ride, pick up the D908 just southeast of St. Pons. It wanders up the valley of the Jaur then the valley of the Orb, scenic all the way. You can return to Valros, by picking up the D909 at Hérepian.
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