And Then I Toppled In …

About once a month, I re-blog a post from our years in France.  Hunting for a Top Theme for Becky, I came upon this one.

April 19th, 2010

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 Salée,  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.

Bugarach. The dominant mountain top around these parts.

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 toppling in…….

Taken just before I toppled in. Nobody was unkind enough to take a snap of me all bedraggled.

#Squaretops 21

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

33 thoughts on “And Then I Toppled In …”

      1. There were so many entirely different landscapes within easy reach. I miss being there … a LOT. Though of course I have nothing to complain about here either.

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  1. How wonderful to see this today! Les Terres Rouges de Peyrolles, one of my favourite places on earth. And this WAS my backyard for ten years before we also returned to the UK in 2014. Lived in Couiza initially and later in Fa. Sketched this landscape many times. It’s like a very compact version of Sedona in Arizona which I also love. And Bugarach is a special mountain. Thanks for bringing back these lovely memories. Best wishes (from the other side of the Pennines).

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    1. How fascinating. We too, returned to the UK in 2014 after six and a half years in the Ariège. We sometimes came through to Esperaza market on a Sunday – when we weren’t walking – so of course I know Fa a little too. Weren’t we both lucky to have had the chance to know this wonderful part of France? And now it seems you too are ‘up North’, possibly sporting a red rose! Best wishes.


      1. We’re in Saddleworth so the rose colour is moot… It used to be in the West Riding but is now part of Greater Manchester. Which always seems weird because it’s so rural. Maybe you remember I contacted you in 2017 to invite you to my art exhibition which had the same name as your blog… We were indeed fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of France. I do miss it sometimes. Funny to think we might have brushed past each other at Esperaza market! Best wishes to you.


      2. You did! And at the time, I had a reason, rather than an excuse, about why I couldn’t come. We are near neighbours for another reason too, as my daughter and family live in Bolton. All best wishes.


  2. Oh, bless! Someone’s always got to provide the giggles. 🙂 🙂 Fabulous landscape, Margaret! Love the ‘humpy mountain’ 🙂 Much of it is reminiscent of the Algarve.

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