When we first arrived in France we had our dog Heather with us so naturally we went on lots of walks. In addition to the necessary reasons for those outings we sometimes continued for hours along the river or canal just because she kept pulling us along. We still walk a lot but since we no longer have Heather, our footsteps now typically take us to the other house to work, over to the market for fruits and vegetables, or out to one of the supermarkets for anything we can’t find right here in town. In other words, although we’re outside a lot, it’s been for our own necessary reasons and no one has pulled us any further. We did something about that recently.
It felt a bit like skipping school but with the bright afternoon sun calling, we put down the plastering trowels, sanding blocks, and paint brushes to walk along the river. There are pathways on both sides of the Aude that are joined just outside of town by what we call “Heather’s bridge” since that was the route we took so often with her, always in the lead but looking back every few seconds to make sure we were following even though we were on the other end of the leash.
In the city’s brochure ‘Nature and Heritage Walks” they describe numerous signposted routes that visitors on foot or bicycles can follow along the river, the Canal-du-Midi, up to the fortress above, through the formerly-walled city, out to the lake, to an 11th century priory and beyond with distances from 2 to 22 kilometers (about 1.2 to 13 miles). Our journey along the river, much of which we had not seen since April with Heather, took us through forests, beside vineyards, and past a few manicured gardens all now
starting to fill with the colors of fall. It was great to be back.