Aix is a beautiful city worthy of being on any European itinerary. Another day here would be nice but it is time to move on to our next destination Creissels. Our accommodations there are in a 12th century castle. Mom hopes they have updated plumbing.
Our drive through the Cevennes National Park and the Cevennes Mountains was the highlight of our day. The scenery reminded us of the US western high plains with its mixture of rocky terrain and smaller trees, only much lusher.
We got into an argument with our GPS – she wanted us to take a side road that was not wide enough for two cars to pass (actually I made a wrong turn and she tried to make me look manly by quickly adjusting her route to reflect my error) but Jan put her foot down so we retraced our steps and continued on the original route.
Our lunch stop was at a small restaurant in the outskirts of Quissac.
We stayed at Chateau de Creissels which operates in a castle in the beautiful city of Creissels. As was mentioned earlier, the castle was reputedly built in the 12th century. Parts of the castle burned in the 18th century, and the guest rooms – which were quite modern – were built in the section that burned. Dinner was served in what must have been the castle’s wine cellar or cold storage room. The structure was similar to the wine cask storage areas we saw in Multepulciano – it was underground and shaped like a Quonset hut but made of brick. It must have been a challenge to construct as the castle is perched on a stone base.
While Mom was resting before dinner, my camera and I walked around Creissels in search of interesting shots. We found a number of streams flowing through the city through a combination of natural stream beds and waterfalls interspersed with small stone aqueducts. I asked the hotel staff about the aqueducts and was told they were constructed in the 8th century. They were quite nonchalant about it, similar to us telling someone about a house in Atlanta built in the ’30s.
The cliffs around Creissels and Millau seem to have quite an active community of paragliders. Two or three cliffs were in regular use during my walk, and at one point I could see four paragliders soaring around one of the cliffs.
The Millau Viaduct, located within view from our hotel, is a beautiful modern suspension bridge. Each of its six plus support towers is taller than the Eiffel Tower. The bridge was built in the past ten years, and Mom and I suspect that it’s construction and the influx of construction crews and technology may have contributed to the city of Millau’s interesting mix of old and new architecture. We really enjoyed walking around Millau before we left town Thursday morning.