With the start of a crisp, fresh New Year, it is time to reflect on the year gone by. When starting this blog in 2017, I never would have thought it would bring me so much joy. La Ramoneta encourages me to go out, do things I have never done before, meet lovely, new people and continue exploring the South East part of France so that I can give you the best insider tips. I thought it might be fun to give you a list of my 2018 favourites, in random order. However, I am of course very curious to hear your Languedoc favourites as well! Feel free to leave a comment or email me; it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.
1. Favourite activity: Snowshoe hike
2018 started adventurously with a snowshoe hike in the Pyrenees. I signed up for a trek with the professional, qualified mountain leaders Ian and Angela Pendry of Altitude Adventure. It was so special to walk through the beautiful winter wonderland and have a picnic on top of a mountain. I highly recommend this great winter wilderness experience!
2. Favourite festival: Escale à Sète
The “Escale à Sète” is organised every two years, and it’s always a great festival full of maritime traditions. I simply had to go and see some of the most impressive large ships arriving into Sète harbour from France and other parts of the world. It was great fun roaming around this port town and being part of the local celebrations.
3. Favourite town: Aigues-Mortes
In June last year, I visited the medieval town of Aigues-Mortes. I planned to stay for an hour or so, as Aigues-Mortes isn’t that big. In the end, I stayed half the day and still felt like I didn’t see it all. Aigues-Mortes is a beautiful, picturesque, historic site and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I definitely have to go back in 2019 to visit the salt marshes, eat at one of the many great restaurants and maybe even climb aboard a catamaran for a sailing trip.
4. Favourite hike: Mont Caroux
After living in the South of France for more than six years, my family and I finally made it up to the top of Mont Caroux. It was an easy hike, with only a bit of climbing to do. Of course, I picked a sunny day for our hike, so the view when we reached the top was amazing! Days like this make me very happy.
5. Favourite restaurant: Saint Pierre de Serjac
I love eating out. Over the years, Chéri and I have discovered many wonderful restaurants. And sometimes we come across a true hidden gem like the magnificent Château Saint Pierre de Serjac, just around the corner from where we live. The setting is magical, right in the middle of the scenic Languedoc countryside. And then the food! Every detail was amazing and we had a fantastic evening.
6. Favourite village: Villefranche-de-Conflent
I have visited Villefranche-de-Conflent several times, but until last year, I had never written a post about it. So during our recent holiday in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, my family and I visited this fortified village again. And it became one of my favourites of 2018. Villefranche-de-Conflent is classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France, and to our surprise, there was even more of the town to discover than we thought. We very much liked visiting Fort Libéria, which gave us an amazing view on Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont Canigou.
7. Favourite recipe: Macarons
Of all recipes on the blog, this one remains the one I use the most myself at home. The kids start to get restless if I don’t bake some macarons at least ones a month. Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I do make this typical French pastry quite often. With this recipe, which I got from a French friend of a friend, you can’t go wrong, as it includes five amazing secrets to bake the perfect macaron.
8. Favourite shopping town: Montpellier
Recently, I have visited Montpellier quite a bit. And each time I come home, I try to convince Chéri and the kids to move there. I just love this city! It’s bustling, sunny, vibrant. And people always seem to be sat out on one of the many terraces to have dinner or a drink, even in winter! It’s also excellent for shopping. I still get lost in the labyrinth of little streets, but then that is exactly how I have discovered the most interesting boutiques, like these eight favourites.