Fran had met
Anne de Ravel, who moved back to France from New York City after
30 years abroad to assist her brother in rehabilitating their family's
ancestral home in Soustre a few years ago. She lives there now with
her father, and gives tours to visitors who want to know about the
region's cuisine, wines, and history. See www.saveurlanguedoc.com
for her programs and blog. She invited us for aperitifs
and hors d'oeuvres, and we spent a couple wonderful hours
learning about her family, the tours, and eating the delicious fresh
anchovies and tielle that she served us. She has been a
travel writer for the NY Times, and a producer on the Discovery
Channel and PBS. We recommend her tours to any who want to learn
about this part of la belle France.
Before our visit we had stopped in Nissan to visit the hilltop Roman
Oppidum's site and artifacts. The Roman site overlooks a vast circular
system of farming fields, used for centuries, that was originally
a large inland swamp and sea.
Drained in the 13th century, the ditches allowed water to flow to
the centre of the circular depression, from where it was piped several
kilometres to the south. The drains remain in use.