« À Cordes, tout est beau, même le regret ».
- Albert Camus
When I saw Cordes-sur-Ciel from afar I was amazed at how beautiful the fortified medieval town looked hanging up there on its rocky hill. Unfortunately the spell was broken when we arrived at its foot and had to look for parking, but an uphill walk through the old village soon restored our sense of wonder.
Cordes is very touristic and no wonder as it is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is also a stop on the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle (the Way of St. James) pilgrimage route.
Fortified after the sack of Saint-Marcel in the 1st Cathar crusade, much of the village and medieval gothic architecture within the 13th century ramparts is still intact, having escaped heavy damage during the religious wars at the end of the 16th century. The streets are full of small boutiques occupied by artists and artisans, some of whom arrived from elsewhere and never found the desire to leave. Some of the artisans practised/revived rare trades and skills and Hub and I agreed that though the village is touristic, it offers a high-quality tourism rarely found in touristic sites. Found an article in the Net that quite nicely described the experience of living in Cordes.
Hub found a small wine boutique in the village and bought a few bottles. The wine of the region is the Gaillac, but it is not a very exciting wine compared to most Bourgogne or Bordeaux wines. He got a nice sweet white Gaillac to go with the foie gras (yes, again) that we have bought for dinner and after tasting a few bottles of both red and white Bourgogne in the shop, bought them too.
The family before a view of the Cérou valley
France really is a country that has almost everything. On this short trip to the South, we have seen a number of beautiful villages, an amazing coastline and eaten in a few lovely restaurants. We like very much to discover exotic destinations whenever we could, but it is always a pleasure to return to the Hexagone from time to time and enjoy what this country has to offer.