Secret Villages In The South Of France
A trip to the south of France is one packed with adventure and a heightened sense of exploring. The big towns of Montpellier, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Marseille are constantly flooded with hordes of tourist and sightseers. The obvious tourist attractions are filled with stereo-typical tourists wielding large backpacks and even longer camera lenses. It is the smaller villages around southern France, which makes up for what these big towns lack in mystery and adventure.
Ax-Les-Therms is one of the best kept secret villages in the whole of southern France. The village was built on the site of a natural hot spring and soon locals were enjoying the healing properties of a long soak. With natural pools forming part of the high street and the town square, it is almost impossible not to partake when you visit.
A fifteen minute drive up the mountains to the village of D'Orlu will leave you in the Maison des Loups. A sanctuary set up to mountain wolves and huskies. The village of D'Orlu is nearly complete encompassed in the sanctuary and all of the residents appear to contribute towards helping the animals.
A couple of hours up the coast from D'Orlu and you will drive into one of the most common secret villages in south France. Rennes-le-Château is a small village which had very little interest from outside the village, until it was transformed by a series of well-spread rumors about the discoveries a priest made over 100 years ago. The secrets soon spread with mentions in The Da Vinci Code and tourists soon flocked to discover the hidden treasures.
Driving out further east will allow you to really discover a French secret. The small village of Lagrasse is almost the complete opposite of Rennes-le-Château. The only similarity is that the village was built around a religious monument, this time the Abbey of Lagrasse. The village has a great local cuisine scene and a multitude of riverside restaurants or cafes which all offer a great view of the Orbieu river and the abbey.
Heading out of Lagrasse and heading north-east will take you up to the surprisingly quaint village of St Guilhem-le-Desert. The drive will only take an hour and a half, but could be interrupted with a fifteen minute detour up to Carcassonne. The ancient walled village is not a French secret, but is still a wonder to see in person.
Having completed the detour and headed back on the open road you will be glad that you took out the excess car hire cover. The village of St Guilhem-le-Desert is filled with rough cobbled stoned roads and soon takes a toll on your suspension. soon upon you and welcoming you in to experience the charms of the historic cobbled streets. Mixing the small village with an abbey which is said to house a piece of the Cross of Christ, this delightful village will arouse all of your senses and ensure you are having the real French village experience.
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