Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A to Z Oppidum D’Ensérune

On our journey westward following (as closely as we could) the Canal du Midi toward Capestang, near Nissan-lez-Ensérune we went looking for the famous Malpas Tunnel (first in the world) that Pierre-Paul Riquet risked constructing while building the Canal. The story goes that when work was halted because of the hill and slippery rock it contained, Riquet had his men construct the tunnel while he went to Paris to "persuade" the king to let him build it. By the time the king sent people to check, the tunnel was already finished, and was a wonder at the time, being the first one constructed in this way. Riquet had outsmarted those who tried to stop him (because yes, there were political intrigues back then, too).

Le Tunnel Malpas

In the tunnel, with our little one showing size, LOL
We love to visit ruins, and particularly Gaelic and/or Roman ruins, so when we realized we were so close to the Oppidum D’Ensérune/Village Gaulois D’Ensérune, a Gaelic site, we had to stop. The ruins are interesting because they are so high up above the plain, so well preserved and the site was continuously lived on from 6th century BC (CE) to 1st century AD (ACE), over 700 years, by the Celts. A beautiful spot, my imagination went wild thinking about what the surrounding area and the village nestled up on this high pedestal must have looked like in Gaelic times. It’s a bit desolate up here now among the ruins, but it must have been beautiful back in the day, because there would have been more trees and wildlife. 

If you click on the image you can read the English description in the middle

Some of the ruins we saw

More ruins, over two thousand years old...

A view from on high
The field of storage "pots"
Once we reached the plateau upon which sits the Oppidum, low and behold on the other side from where we came up was this:
The Montady "Pond" L'Etang de Montady
To give an idea of the immensity of this circle my hubby and our little guy

L'Etang de Montady (Montady Pond) which existed back in the Oppidum's day, but was more a lake/swamp. The ground is very fertile even now, and this is what has been done to best use it's resources. It is impressive to see the huge round “wheel” of farmland that draws the eye to it like a homing pigeon to its coop. So vast, so colorful, and so utilitarian. 

Le Canal du Midi See the barges and boats?

The Canal du Midi runs by the base of the promontory and going by the amount of boats we saw, is obviously a place of tranquility and rest for those cruising its waters. We couldn't stay as long as we wanted (there is so much to see), so we'll just have to return!
All photos by Buie-Collard


  1. Beautiful place, I don't know this area, thank you for letting me discovering my country throu your eyes ;))
    Cute little dog!

    1. I'm loving sharing it, too! Thank you Frederique!

  2. What an interesting place! Your dog is adorable! <3

    1. Thank you! We love him too, and enjoyed discovering this place. I'd like to go back and see what we didn't have time to see...

  3. Thanks for showing us the beautiful Oppidum D’Ensérune through your words and pictures, Lisa! Seems like a great vacation place to explore, relax and enjoy!


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