Vieux Relais, Pepieux
Pepieux is a medium size village with a grocer cum butcher shop, a small
ladies dress shop, a pharmacy, a post office, a news agent, a very good
bakery with bread baked on the premises and a bar. Every weekday there
are different vans in the square, selling anything from fabrics to flowers
to meat and fish. This is a wine producing village and the workers keep
at it all year, spraying, pruning and tending the vines in various ways
- wine production is very labour intensive!
This is a wonderful area for a holiday at any time of year, as the climate
is mild, with occasional cold snaps (we have excellent central heating
and warm duvets!) and of course, in the off-season months, there are few
tourists. This part of France produces over 80% of French wine, so there
are wine "caves" to visit in every village and many different
chateaux, where one may taste the local products and buy wine at very
good prices indeed. Aside from that, this is a very well situated place
Carcassonne with its historic walled Cite is only 25 mins away and the beautiful Canal du Midi is 5 mins away - both of these are designated World Heritage sites.
At Beziers one can see the statue of Pierre-Paul Riquet, whose inspiration the Canal was and also watch the boats going through the famous "Neuf Ecluses" or six locks one after the other.
Narbonne is close by, as are several wonderful abbeys, cathedrals, medieval villages and the Cathar castles in the Corbieres foothills.
For those who enjoy life at a slower pace, the Little Yellow Train runs from Perpignan through the Pyrenees to Spain through breathtaking countryside and closer to home there is also a train which runs from Narbonne to an excellent restaurant, both are well worth the effort! There is a wide variety of excellent restaurants in the area from simple village bistros to Michelin starred extravaganzas - something to suit all tastes. For those interested in archeology, there is a fascinating Gallo-Roman hilltop village near, overlooking the Etang de Montardy, an area of drained lake which has been kept thus since the 12th century.
Many villages have market days, including the lovely flower market in Beziers on Fridays and a very large one in Narbonne on Thursdays and Sundays. Beziers and Narbonne have wonderful indoor markets every day of the week and it is an experience in itself to wander through and see all the magnificent vegetables, fish of every variety imaginable, meat, charcuterie, breads and pastries, wine and olive oil, and of course, the incomparable cheeses.