Sunshine, wine, feeling fine. Lounging in Languedoc. again. and again.


As the children are old enough to need distracting when landing (I think Ryanair yellow makes them hyperactive) I noticed for the first time that the airport at Vias is bang in the middle of the Preigne le Vieux vineyards. It’s a tiny airport (called Beziers - Cap D’Agde because of the two ‘sexy’ towns nearby) and you can more or less wander in and out as you wait for the luggage to fall into a heap off the end of the single belt and 30 minutes later we have cast off our shoes and most of our clothes and are luxuriating in the blazing sunshine drinking wine feeling fine. You feel like you can almost touch the vines as you land, having first circled over L’Etang De Thau , the saltwater lagoon that provides shellfish to the region and to our new favourite Les Tresors de la Mer. It’s on an alley opposite some tourist shops and is little (and so much) more than a fish counter with tables and a small kitchen manned by three jolly pirate fisherman. The mussels and clams are great, especially the Tellines, and the red mullet is easily the best I’ve ever eaten.

Choosing lunch by pointing at it is always a bonus, add to this the prevalence of Picpoul de Pinet which is grown only in the local area and it’s easy to be happy for the afternoon, dozing and slightly burning on the lovely local beach with the bonus that the children can’t easily drown themselves because it’s so shallow.

Having bravely embarked on two liver sapping, sun soaked weeks which could easily have blurred into a single experience we tried to introduce variety, notably different beaches and different vineyards including the above mentioned Preigne le Vieux where we mistakenly bought (and subsequently drank) magnums as if they were bottles. This made for some woozy afternoons. Different ice-creams were out once I discovered the amazing Lemon [-Meringue!-Tart!] ice-cream from the artisan glacier, the classily named CocoMango. I also ‘mono-caked’; once I’d had a Tropezienne there was no going back to millefeuille;

After a few days I realised it was too hot to bother cooking [and I only had one pan] so fell back on a few tried and trusted favourites; baked spicy eggs, stuffed peppers, and for the 3rd year running the steak sandwiches for which I have to pigeon French the local butcher which usually ends with him muttering “Onglet pour les anglais”

All plates except puddings are doused with liberal amounts of (week 1) Salsa Verde and (week 2) Green[ish] Tapenade [this year a mainly sweet Petit Lucques with a few Nicoise]; a blend of only olives, rosemary, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning. And more wine. Much more wine.