Village of Roquebrun & Environs
This is the France you've always wished still existed. It's what Provence must have been like years ago.
Nicknamed "Le Petit Nice" for its balmy Mediterranean micro-climate
Arguably one of the most picturesque villages in all of France, Roquebrun is a small 1,000-year-old medieval village that is home to about 500 year-round residents, (including me, your host, and my darling hubby Ken Plattner).
One thing that makes Roquebrun so exquisite
is its fortunate site -- a perfect feng shui
"lap of the dragon" position.
The peach, gold and ochre-colored village homes are nestled against the crook of the Laurenque Valley, above a bend in the river with the mountains rising behind, protecting us from the winter torment of the infamous north wind, the mistral.
Like a Queen-of-All-She-Surveys, the village overlooks it all: the elegant Roman stone bridge that spans the melodious River Orb, the wide swimming beach, the unparalleled views of the sensuous valley vineyards, and the rolling, midnight-blue ribbon of river winding its way to the Mediterranean Sea.
Locals and visitors alike enjoy the balmy, welcoming micro-climate, where oranges, pomegranates, agave and prickly pear cactus grow in abundance. We have an average 300 days of sunshine a year. Popular activities include hiking, swimming, sunbathing, canoeing, cycling, fishing, trail running, birding, rock-climbing, camping -- and wine-tasting, of course!
The vegetation of the surrounding area is dominated by grape vines and small hardy green oak. Parasol pines dot the hills. The lower slopes are covered by the classic aromatic vegetation of the garrigue: olive trees, holm oak, juniper, gum cistus, wild thyme, lavender, rosemary, and arbousier (strawberry tree).
Sitting 600 to 1200 feet above sea level, the profile of the village is punctuated by the Carolingian tower, built circa 740 AD. There is a popular Mediterranean Botanical Garden just aboove the village, bursting with exotic plants and succulents that thrive in Roquebrun's gentle micro-climate.
The main economy is based on the wine production of the cave cooperative, La Cave de Roquebrun, and the seven private producers. Fruits, vegetables and tourism add to the economy. There are resident artisans, artists, musicians, writers and a variety of professionals and retired folks, locals and internationals alike.
PLEASE NOTE: There are no banks or ATMs in the village.
The Languedoc Region
The other south of France... wild, unspoiled, uncrowded
Roquebrun is nestled in the middle of the Herault department, one of five departments that make up the The Languedoc-Roussillon Region of southern France. It borders Provence to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Pyrenees Mountains and Spain to the southwest. The two major cities in the Languedoc are Montpellier and Toulouse.
The Languedoc benefits from an exceptional Mediterranean climate, and has unusually rich wildlife, a spectacular coast, and surprising history.
One of the most fascinating areas of Europe, the Languedoc is known for its mountain fortresses, popularly known as Cathar Castles. There are several abbeys and cloisters, including the Abbey of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. There are also a number of Buddhist centers.
A number of UNESCO World Heritage sites are dotted across the Languedoc, including:
In recent years, the Languedoc has become a popular French holiday destination, with its long sunny days, Mediterranean beaches, mountains, thousands of miles of hiking trails, national parks and wildlife preserves, such as the Camargue and the Cevennes, thermal springs and spas, abbeys, grottoes and caves, and vestiges of the Languedoc's long history, including dinosaur bones and eggs, prehistoric human remains, dolmens and megaliths, geology, archaeology and palaeontology, Greek and Roman architecture, and everywhere reminders of the the Cathars, the papal Crusade against them, and the Papal Inquisition that followed the crusade.