Terre Rouge – Ciel Bleu

Whenever we think we’re beginning to know the areas near home quite well, something comes along to surprise us.

Take Couiza, for instance, a town in the Aude that has been the centre point for quite a few of our walks.  It can offer, within easy reach of the town, a typical Audois landscape which is almost Tuscan, with rolling hills vineyards and cypresses. Or craggy, scrubby garrigue, almost Spanish looking. Or there’s le Domaine de l’Eau Salee, which I blogged about previously, where the streams are pink with salt washed from the earth, and have been exploited by man for centuries.

Yesterday, however, we went with le Rando del’Aubo to Terre Rouge, an area near Couiza which astonished us with the rich red colour of the earth which dominated the landscape.

It supports a rich variety of plant life which is just springing into flower: Tiny daffodils, less than 3 inches high, bright yellow potentilla, grape hyacinths.  Bluish grasses bind the dry and sometimes sandy earth, and the air is rich with the strong scent of various wild thymes and lavender.


This red earth is all-encompassing.  And then suddenly, it stops. And we’re back again among more pallid yellowish soils, enjoying views of the distant Pyrenees, and the mountain which dominates this part of the world, Bugarach.

The walk was on the hottest day of the year so far, with clear, vivid blue sky.  We shed jumpers, long trousers, and our pasty winter skin turned the colour of that red earth. There was a wide shallow stream at the village where our walk began and ended, and a few of us enjoyed a paddle.  I greatly contributed to the end-of-day bonhomie by falling in…….

Just before the splash....

6 thoughts on “Terre Rouge – Ciel Bleu”

  1. No, I was serious. You’re head and shoulders above me. Of course, I am a self-proclaimed botanical illiterate, but I’ve enjoyed your description of plant life in your area over the years. And yes, the writing was great, too. Praise meant sincerely.


    1. Aaw, thanks. I don’t feel that plant literate, but all these things are relative, I suppose. You’ve taken some pretty nice photos of trees and plants on your blog, and it looked as if you knew what you were taking!


  2. Yes, but I usually go to the Palmengarten, Frankfurt’s botanical garden, where there are tags on all the trees and plants. Sort of like a networking cocktail party where everyone has a name tag on his or her lapel. “Nice to meet you Ms. Narcissus.”


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