Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Sculptures in the vines near Montagnac

The vignerons around Montagnac (Hérault valley Picpoul country) have placed 14 commissioned statutes amongst the vineyards and garrigue in the scenic hills south of the town. The Cave Coopertive is the starting point and car park and they will issue a map for a self-guided walk, either a 15 Km circuit to do the lot or a shorter option that takes in 7. Alternatively, various guided walks are on offer for a small fee that includes a wine tasting, but you need to bring a pack lunch or go hungry. For details see www.terroir-dart.com/francais/terroir-dart-les-statues.html.

The scenery is most spectacular in spring or after autumn rains when the flora is lusher and flowers bloom. By chance, we covered part of the route on a "Rando Bio" that involved a circuit from nearby Castelnau-de-Guers with several stops to fit in breakfast, refreshments and lunch. The wine served was nearby Organic Abbaye de Valmagne in Bib which worked very well as an outdoor quaffing all rounder. I've always found their bottled wines, especially the more prestigious ones, a bit dull so things could be on the up. As an aside the Abbey itself is well worth a visit.

Postscript September 2013. An early autumn charity walk for cancer support covered more of the route and statues and I can confirm this is a good time of year to visit. Advice picked up from several others is that the initial walk from Montagnac Co-op is the least interesting and to save time/energy drive up one of the paved roads to join the route in the hills.

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