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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
Cessenon-sur-Orb: Red marble, rare wines

The entrance to the nature reserve, a red
marble quarry.
Think the extinction of the dinosaurs was bad news, biologically speaking? Apparently (the signboard is in French, so we're not exactly sure) there was an even BIGGER unexplained die-off somewhat later (earlier?) in the earth's history, when 80% of all species on land and sea went bye-bye forever. Appreciate the majesty of the catastrophe here, at the Reserve Naturelle set up by the commune of Cessenon-sur-Orb, just south of charming Roquebrun, just east of charming St. Chinian (and part of that wine AOC).This nature walk hugs an abandoned red marble quarry and explains (we think) the cataclysm, when, apparently, a large chunk of space debris crossed wires with our planet. By the way, the red marble in Cessenon-sur-Orb isn't just any old red marble: it was once world famous and quite Presidential. A room in the White House features it (we're pretty darn sure the signs tell us).

This isn't a hike. It's an easy stroll through lovely deep-rose terrain.

Drinkers, take note: just up the road, between the nature reserve and town, is the Canet-Valette vineyard, where you can taste and buy. These wines were singled out for notice by the Wall Street Journal in 2002. (See the Roquebrun daytrip for additional information on other area wines.)
From Valros, take the N9 toward Béziers. At the roundabout, follow the signs toward Roquebrun, then Murviel-lès-Béziers. Take the D154 toward Murviels. It becomes the D19. At Murviel, turn left onto the D36, at the sign for the "base de canoe/kayak." This will take you over the Orb River. Turn right onto the D14, toward Cessenon-sur-Orb. In Cessenon-sur-Orb, follow the D136 out of town. If you're using Michelin's regional 527 map, you'll see an icon for "Marbre" (marble). That's the nature reserve.
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