Roquebrun and the River Orb

March 12, 2015 Days Out

Swimming and kyaking on the River Orb > Tasting the wines of the St Chinian appellation > A lunch time or evening meal in a local restuarant > Walking around the Mediterranean Garden.

Roquebrun is a particularly spectacular medieval village hanging from the side of a hill as you enter the Haut Languedoc Regional Park and for such a small place there is a lot going on both in the village and the local area. It has a number of festivals throughout the year but is particularly known for it’s Mimosa festival which is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in February. The winding streets of Roquebrun come alive with an array of floats, bands and villagers dressed in fancy dress all in celebration of a yellow puff like flower who’s flowering heralds the onset of spring.

This village and it’s surrounding area falls within the wine appellation of St Chinian which is an area well known for it’s wines. There are various Domaines and Caves within the area that you can visit to both try and buy the local ‘nectar of the gods’. Look out for signs saying – Degustation et Ventes (tasting & sales). The smaller domaines might not have official opening times or tasting rooms but it is worth remembering that they would not be open during the lunch hours of 12h00 – to at least 14h00 and the same will apply for the caves which offer tasting rooms and a good variety of wines from the area. We can recommend the cave Co-op in Roquebrun, on the main road out of town towards Olargues on the left as well as the Maison de Vins in St Chinian or Cave Les Côteaux de Berlou.

In the summer time Roquebrun springs to life, it’s a favourite amongst the locals as well as holiday makers because of it’s juxtaposition next to the river Orb which offers great swimming as well as other activities such as kyaking. There are Kyaking centres based at both Roquebrun and just outside Cessenon-sur-orb which offer trips and canoe hire for anything from 1 hr up to 2 days.

There are a number of restaurants in this area – a few that we would particularly recommend.

Roquebrun

  • Le Petit Nice – a good all round menu that has everything covered from salads, pizzas to specialities such as duck with Orange, Guinea fowl or rabbit.
  • La Cave Saint  Martin – Wine bar, delicatessen and restaurant specialising in artisan produce.

Berlou

  •  Le Faitou –  2 – 3 course bistro menus as well as a 5 course tasting menus with or without a wine pairing.

Or take a drive further north towards  Vieussan  which takes you through amazing scenery offering wonderful views of L’Espinouse mountains and Mt Carroux.

Vieussan

  • Lizard Bleu – great terrace with a good selection of salads and grills as well as a Menu du Jour.

And for something a bit different, why not visit the Mediterranean garden in Roquebrun which specialises in plants from Mediterranean regions around the world. It also allows you access to the base of the Tour de Guep (an old tower that originally formed part of a larger castle which is believed to originate from 900AD) that has recently been restored.