Abeilhan is a small village in the Herault subregion of Languedoc in southwest France.  The local history experts say it has been populated since Roman times.  The surrounding area has low hills covered with vineyards.  You can see the Pyrenees in the distance to the west and lower mountains to the north.  From the higher hilltops on a clear day the blue water of the Mediterranean is visible to the south.  

The roadways through the countryside are lined with plane trees.  These same trees border the Canal du Midi, the waterway linking the city of Toulouse in northern Languedoc with the Mediterranean at the port of Sete.

The closest town to our village is Pezenas.  Its medieval center is a major tourist attraction and it is mobbed during the summer.  Montpellier, a 45 minute drive away, is a cultural center and university town.   Bustling Beziers is closer, but being surrounded by modern container stores and ugly chain stores it isn't appealing to visitors looking for French charm.

 Villages here are located close to each other, from Abeilhan there are four within walking distance.  Not long ago each village had everything its residents needed, such as a butcher shop, grocery store, restaurant and pharmacy.  Now many, like ours, have only a shop for the most basic items and a vegetable stand open just two days a week.  A butcher's truck comes each Tuesday afternoon and the fishmonger on Fridays (of course).  We have two bakeries to which I walk to each morning for a bagette.  Alas, we have no real restaurant, only a cafe serving coffee in the morning, spirits in the evening, and pizza anytime of day.  However, everything we could possibly need is an easy drive away.

Villages here have not been “cutified” as they have been in Provence.  The towns look like they probably have for hundreds of years except for the new housing developments springing up at village outskirts.  The houses are brick beneath stucco, usually with a few stucco patches broken off, and are painted pale pink or sunny yellow.  Doors and shutters are typically sky blue.  During the summer the shutters are kept closed to keep out the heat making you think they are deserted.  
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A typical home in our village.
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Village streets of cobblestone are narrow.
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"Downtown Abeilhan"
Patrice
5/28/2013 10:56:34 pm

Such wonderful memories. Have a wonderful summer!

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