I was hunting for a vintage postcard of Castelnaudary when I came across this attractive set of nine postcards in an Etsy shop. These cards were designed to celebrate the beautiful region of Occitanie in south-west France. Occitanie, one of the ‘new’ administrative regions of France, was created on 1st January 2016 from the former areas of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées. All the designs are from original pen and ink/watercolour artworks by artist Paul Lappin.
Out of the nine places pictured, there are only two that I haven’t visited – yet – Gruissan and St. Chinian.
I decided to compare some of the postcards with my own photos, starting with Carcassonne. I chose Carcassonne because it is the nearest large town to our house and we go there often. When any friends and family come to stay, top of their list of places they want to visit is Carcassonne. My comparison doesn’t work too well because I was standing in a different position to the artist when I took my photos. Never mind! I’m sure you get the idea!
Moving on to the postcard of Perpignan which I like very much. It brings back happy memories of our 36 hour break in the city:
The postcard and my photo show ‘Le Castillet’ although from a different angle. This is a distinctive red brick tower and the only remaining one of the old town walls. It was built in 1368 to repel invaders and serve as a gate into the city. It was turned into a prison in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Casa Pairal Museum is located in the Castillet. The highlight, for me, was the views from the top of the monument. There are 142 stone steps to get to the top but it’s definitely worth the effort!
The final postcard I am going to feature in this post is Capestang which was one of the first places we stayed in Occitanie. We enjoyed several family holidays here and it was where we first considered buying our French home. Capestang is smaller than Castelnaudary but it is also situated by the Canal du Midi. The closest large town is Béziers. The postcard shows the Collegiate Church of St. Etienne which dominates the Capestang skyline. It was built in the thirteenth century and now is a listed building. The bell tower stands forty-five meters high. We have climbed the tower, several times, and enjoyed the breath-taking views.
My photo shows the attractive village square which has restaurants, cafés, and terraces. It is the perfect place to sip a glass of wine, cold beer or cup of coffee and watch the world go by. We have been back since we bought our Castelnaudary house and although we are very fond of Capestang, I still think we made the right choice which is just as well really!
You might be wondering what I’m going to do with my postcards. I could send them to friends and family but I think it’s more likely that I’ll arrange the cards in 3 rows of 3, add a frame and put them on display.
I do hope you have enjoyed this taster of my Occitanie postcards. I know that many of you enjoy sending, receiving and collecting postcards.