I’ve just got back from a short holiday in the South of France.

I went with a group of friends to the Languedoc-Roussillon region and stayed in a cottage in Fenouillède, a small hillside hamlet nestled between two rocky peaks with ruined Cathar castles at the top.

You basically have a wide glacial valley flanked by ranges of tall mountains on which the Cathar built their strongholds, all of which are perched at the top of the highest points and are very difficult to get to. The landscapes are what I imagine Switzerland looks like.

One thing that struck me was how French towns are full of very old, dilapidated buildings. In England I think they would have all been tidied up or redeveloped. But they add a great deal of charm to the place.

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