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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
The windmills of Faugères
On the sightseeing menu today: a set of luminously restored 16th-century windmills and various drystone farmer's shelters called "capitelles." (See photo; Simone emerges.) The capitelles are beautifully crafted without mortar and strikingly cool on a hot day; local historians have restored them perfectly. At the windmills, you can take a tour, purchase a drink and postcards if the tiny shop is open, and admire a 360-degree panorama from atop one mill. A bas relief map there tells you what you're viewing, from the Mediterranean to the Espinouse Mountains. On a brilliantly clear day, you can even see the looming Pyrenees on the horizon. You can do this day trip pretty much all by car or add in some pleasant hikes through the aromatic garrigues, the scrubby limestone hills that form the transition between the mountains and the coastal plains. Time to Faugères: 50 minutes.
From the house in Valros, take the N9 toward Béziers. On the outskirts of Béziers, as you approach a roundabout (what Americans call a rotary), take the road that bears sharply right and is signposted for Bédarieux/St. Pons.Shortly you make a turn onto D909, heading for Roujan/ Bédarieux. Get off at Faugères, onto the D13. If you want to hike, park in the lot right next to the École Mairie (town hall and school). There's a WC there as well. Look for signs for "Moulins XVIe (Trois Tours)." You can follow a mostly paved road all the way to the windmills. Or you can take the scenic route: on your way uphill, just as you reach the outskirts of the village, you'll see a crude sign for "Sentier Botanique" (a botanical walk). This follows an old mule trail, through the woods and between impressive stone walls. From the windmills, it's easy to spot several capitelles hiding in the brush. To reach them, follow your nose. Fire trails and access roads cut all through these hills. If you want to drive directly to the windmills, either follow the well-marked road up through the village of Faugères or stay on the D909 and just over the crest of the hill, after the Elf petrol station, look for a small sign on the right for "Moulins XVIe." Now about that Elf station: it has a wonderful selection of the Faugères wines, maybe the best under one roof, including Estanilles (see the separate day trip for that estimable vineyard) and Château des Adouxes. Ready for a snack or a drink? Across the street from the Elf is the Bel Air, a bar restaurant.
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