Month: <span>August 2015</span>

Pont Du Gard ,a masterpiece of ancient architecture


The Pont du Gard is a Roman monument built halfway through the 1st century AD. It is the principal construction in a 50 km long aqueduct that supplied the city of Nîmes, formerly known as Nemausus, with water. Built as a three-level aqueduct standing 50 m high, it allowed water to flow across the Gardon river.

In essence, the bridge is constructed out of soft yellow limestone blocks, taken from a nearby quarry that borders the river. The highest part of the structure is made out of breeze blocks joined together with mortar. It is topped by a device designed to bear the water channel, whose stone slabs are covered with calcium deposits.

In designing this three-storey bridge, which measures 360 m at its longest point along the top, the Roman architects and hydraulic engineers created a technical masterpiece that stands today as a work of art.

As a result of numerous scientific studies, we now know that an impressive volume of rock was needed to complete the construction.

Moreover, archaeologists also uncovered evidence of how well organized the project was. They found numbering on the stones, points of support for scaffolding, and evidence of the use of hoists.

Port Ginesta

Port Ginesta is located in Castelldefels, Catalonia, Spain. Just 10 minutes from Barcelona International Airport and 75 minutes from the French border, this modern marina offers 1442 moorings for boats up to 30 meters in length. This marina has the necessary infrastructure to meet the technical needs of the boats who moor there as it has covered dock, paint booth, 75Tn travelift and 8 tons crane. It also provides cleaning, antifouling, repair, winter storage, maintenance and repair of any type of boat, between others. Notably, other services such as 24 hour security, seamanship, gas station, laundry and WiFi. This marina has international certificates according to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, which supports good environmental practices related to the sea and the environment.

Bouzigues Oysters

image image image image image image image image image image imageLanguedoc-Roussillon: Home to France’s best oysters

The Bouzigues oyster is famous for its flavour and freshness. It is produced in the Thau lagoon using a method unique in France. I invite you to come over and discover this extraordinary local product that combines affordable price with very good quality.
A bit of history
It is in 1925 in the Thau pond of Bouzigues that the oyster culture began when a bricklayer named Louis Tudesq invented an authentic technique called oyster collage. His way involves sticking the little oysters one by one, attaching them with cement on a rope that is suspended in water and then letting them grow this way until they reach the ideal size to get harvested and eaten.
Being the cradle of oyster culture in the Languedoc region, Bouzigues is an attractive little village of a population of 900 inhabitants that principally rely on tourism generated by oyster and mussel breeding to live. Interestingly enough, the place has succeeded in keeping its traditions and charm as a small typical Mediterranean village of fishermen intact for generations.
More about Bouzigues oysters
The Thau pond is made up of 5 big oyster sites : Bouzigues, Loupian, Mèze, Marseillan and Sète. In total, around 12’000 tons of oysters are produced every year.
The “Bouzigue”, although essentially commercialized in its original region, is a hollow oyster yet famous and revered by connoisseurs almost everywhere in Europe. An oyster fair takes place every year in Bouzigues on the second weekend of August. Around 800 oyster growers from the Thau pond come to showcase their product which tastes quite peculiar, slightly salty with a hazelnut flavour.. The texture is very fleshy, crispy and tender at the same time.
Oysters are known as being low-calorie food (60 calories per 100 grams) and for their nutritional value (proteins, mineral salts, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, C and it is the only animal source of vitamin C, D, E, iron, calcium, magnesium, iodine, zinc, copper, phosphorus).
What’s more, oysters contain antioxidant properties that can prevent cancer, ageing and cardio-vascular diseases.
Useful things one should know before eating oysters
The oyster should not be consumed if :
It is open or half-open.
A bad smell emanates from it.
The shell contains a sort of second intern lining.
Always remember that oysters have 3 fatal enemies: freezing, heating and your knife.image image image image image image image image image image image image
Traditionally, this delicacy is best enjoyed with friends, family and loved ones. Bonne dégustation!

How they grow

Growing delicious oysters is a process that takes up to four years. It starts with a few million fresh oyster seeds. We get our seed, or larvae, from a hatchery further up the Oregon Coast when the larvae are only two weeks old,. They’re delivered to Umpqua Aquaculture overnight and maintained at a temperature of about 40 degrees F, which keeps them dormant during the trip.

The seed arrives in a lump about the size of a golf ball, which is divided among three large containers maintained at our processing plant, and dispersed in buckets of cold water. Warmer water is then incrementally added to reanimate the seeds and bring them up to the proper incubation temperature of 80 degrees F.

The food-grade tanks are filled with warmed incubation water from the Umpqua Estuary at high tide, rich in algae and phytoplankton. The tanks, into which the new seed is added, contain nets filled with empty recycled oyster shells.

For about two days, the seeds swim freely, then permanently attach themselves to the shells with an adhesive they excrete. After the young oysters are attached, the temperature of the incubation tanks is gradually lowered to match the temperature of the bay. The young oysters, now called spat, are moved in their nets to the triangular breakwater to grow. After a couple of months, the shells filled with baby oysters are attached to long lines and suspended for longer-term growth in the Triangle

After the oysters have grown for at least two years for the smaller sizes and up to four years for the larger, they’re ready for harvest. We use a custom-made barge with a motorized boom to raise the oyster lines, now weighing about 150 lbs. each. The oysters are cut free from the float line, placed in totes and hauled back to the plant, where they’re tracked by number for quality control and processed for shell-stock or shucking.

Shell-stock oysters are cleaned and sold in the shell in sizes jumbo, medium, small and extra small. Shucked oysters are sorted and sold as large, medium, small, extra small and yearling. Throughout, ice keeps the oysters fresh at a temperature of about 33 degrees F. until they reach your palate!

Celles,Lac du Salagou

Celles is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France.The original village sits on the bank of Lac du Salagou. The French authorities are allowing this village to decay and all buildings except the town hall and the church are in ruins. It is a popular place for fishing and picnics. 


Kite and Windsurfing in Frontignan

image image image image image image image image image imageFrontignan Beach Languedoc-Roussillon

Frontignan Beach Languedoc-RoussillonThe small town of Frontignan is built along the western edge of the Ingril lagoon at the foot of the massif de la Gardiole north of Sète and the surrounding area offers pretty Mediterranean scenery, including roughly 800 hectares of vineyards where the famous Muscat de Frontignan wine has been made for over 2000 years. Numerous biking and walking trails allow visitors to discover the massif de la Gardiole and enjoy the views of the coastline from its summit, and a pleasant morning can be spent visiting the nearby village of la Peyrade. The 7km beach itself is quite urbanised and a mix of pebbles and sand which is regularly awarded for its cleanliness, and the lagoon is very popular with kite surfing enthusiasts. Close by, the marina is the starting point for cruises for fishing or scuba diving parties.

Grand Site De France. Saint -Guilhem de -Desert

 In the South of France, in the heart of Languedoc and the Hérault gorges, the ‘Grand Site de FranceSaint-Guilhem-le-Désert – Gorges de l’Hérault’ main tourist attraction is one of Languedoc’s gems. It is thus no surprise that it has been awarded the ‘most beautiful villages of France’ label.

Set between vertiginous cliffs and stretching out along winding streets, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert originally developed around Gellone Abbey, just a few kilometres from the Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge). Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites by virtue of their being on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The Saint-Guilhem mountains and the Pont du Diable, are much appreciated by hikers and are perfect for discovering fantastic views and rare botanical species.


Abbaye de Gellone – Hérault, le Languedoc  Photothèque Hérault Tourisme – Julie Noclercq The ‘Grand Site de France Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert – Gorges de l’Hérault’ (Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert – Hérault Gorges Major Tourist Attraction) is best-known for Gellone Abbey, founded by Charlemagne’s cousin, Guilhem. Extolled by troubadours during the Middle Ages, Guilhem became famous for his military campaigns against the Saracens. The hero of the siege of Barcelona in 803, he eventually decided to lay down his arms to become a monk. In 804, guided by Saint-Benoît d’Aniane, he founded a monastery in the isolated Gellone valley.

From the 10th century onwards, Guilhem was known as Saint-Guilhem and the spiritual importance of Gellone was further strengthened. The monastery became a privileged stopping place 
along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

At the beginning of the 11th century, reconstruction of the Abbey began. It is a symbol 

of early Romanesque art in Languedoc.  

The Abbey is also classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site by virtue of its position on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, as is the nearby Pont du Diable bridge, considered to be one of the oldest medieval bridges in France. It is situated at the extreme southern end of the Hérault gorges, at the point where they suddenly open out onto the plains of Languedoc.

The gorges offer a spectacular, steep and plunging rocky landscape. Reaching a depth of between 200 and 300 metres in places, they are home to a wealth of uniquely Mediterranean flora and fauna. When the weather turns warmer, kayaking down them is great fun, and the St-Guilhem mountains above make an equally great day out for hikers. From the village square, you can head off to discover some of these exceptional panoramas, as well as some rare botanical species, such as the Salzman pine.

For all these reasons and more, the ‘Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert – Gorges de l’Hérault’ site has been awarded the ‘Grand Site de France (Main Tourist Attraction) label. In 2012 the French people voted it their second favourite village. 

Sete,France:the perfect brake

Sète is the most fascinating small town on the French Mediterranean coast precisely because it doesn’t go out of its way to be charming. It doesn’t have the time. This is an attractive – but serious – port full of working people with stuff to ship out and turbot to sell.The site is wonderful. Sète encircles a lone hill, the Mont St-Clair, on the otherwise flat Languedoc coast. And it is all-but an island. There’s the sea out front, of course. Behind, though, is the Thau lagoon – a vast expanse of salt water, colonised by oyster- and mussel-beds. Between the two, a network of canals brings the scramble of port and fishing activity right into the town centre.

The canals both define the town and provide the current that energises the place. Many townsfolk have their own little boats to take them shopping. Anglers with apparently unlimited time on their hands line the banks and, come summer, the main Canal Royal is the theatre of Sète’s famous water-borne jousting. Sète is, in short, a swirl of a spot, with constant movement on land and canal.

It helps, of course, that Sète has the finest unsung beaches of the French Med – eight miles of them stretching along the spit of land separating the lagoon from the sea. An enormous scheme to tidy up access and the shore-side promenade is under way. But don’t wait. Go now to find the unfiltered boisterousness of the real Mediterranean. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 


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