Booking this holiday was ideal for a group of students as it offered cheap flights and an amazing deal on a beautiful villa that is owned by one of our friend's parents. Roquebrun translates as ‘brown rocks’ and is situated around 40 minutes outside of Bezier in the south of France. This small village offered amazing views of the rolling hills, a river that ran through the middle and a friendly community spirit. If you are familiar with the Lake District this follows the same lines but in the hotter destination of France. The village sticks to housing rules where the houses must follow the guideline of neutral colours but mostly having to keep the brown rocks that are in the name. This place became home to the eight of us for a week.
Day One: Early Morning Flight & Fishing
Our flight was at 6am in the morning meaning we hadn’t yet slept (apart from an hour and a half on the flight) by the time we touched down in Bezier. However, this didn’t stop us from making the most of our first day, we first went did a big shop at one of the supermarkets on the way to Roquebrun. After getting everything that we felt we would need for the majority of the week, we continued onto the villa. On our way there we were able to stop off at a replica of the statue of liberty (a lot smaller than the original). This was here as the guy who created the statue of liberty sailed over from this town in France, and thus, they felt it was only right to build a replica in his home town. As well as this, we were able to stop at a viewpoint and look over the village of Roquebrun from above with the hills either side, it was already looking to be a fully relaxing and beautiful holiday.
On arriving in the village, there was a bar, a bakery, 3 restaurants, a small shop and then a ‘Tabac’ shop. We pulled up outside the house, and as we walked in, we were greeted with a massive open-plan space. This villa is available to book on booking.com as well and is under the name “Les tiers”, it works so well for bigger groups such as ourselves as it sleeps up to 16 people with a games room and another apartment downstairs as well as the upstairs one. It is ideally located in the village with an amazing view of the town and river.
After we had settled into the house, we headed straight down to the river. We found a little spot where we could all swim around, sunbathe and all get used to our surroundings. After sweltering in the sun for the most part of the day, we thought it best to go and eat something. The boys made a spag bol both veggie and not, which was a lovely meal to start off the week with.
Once finished we walked into town. Trying to find the Tabac shop proved harder than it sounded, having missed the sign we walked further than needed up to a winery at the end of the village. In the winery was a very friendly Scottish woman who offered us help for what to do this week as well as the needed guidelines to the Tabac.
Finding the Tabac, the boys managed to, straight away, spot the fishing equipment and even got some maggots off the owner. This put a smile on their faces and then we decided to head back to have a couple drinks and enjoy the rest of our first night.
Day Two: Rafting and Rock Jumping
Waking up this morning, we decided to venture out of our newfound comfort zone, which was the riverside by Roquebrun to another part of the river further down which offered deeper water for swimming and rocks for jumping.
We found a quiet opening with trees either side that no one had placed themselves on as of yet, so we snatched it up.
Soon enough, everyone was in with a couple of the boys fishing off the side of the rocks. This spot was amazing for the big group we had as it offered more room to swim and spread our stuff out. The investment that I had made of swimming socks/shoes came in handy as it protected my feet from the sharper rocks when trying to get into the river.
After swimming around, we soon got to blowing up a two-man inflatable boat. After Alex and I had a go a couple of the girls jumped in and set off down the river… little did we know we wouldn’t see them again for another 30 mins. Having got in a strong current, they soon ended up in a bush which was a lot further down than any of us had ventured to yet. Although, none of us would know this until they returned after being rescued by a French man and pulled back up to our part of the shore. When swimming in these lakes/rivers, there is clearly a need to look out for these currents.
While this was all happening, Emily and I decided to go rock jumping. The scariest part of this, however, was getting the correct grip on the rocks to ensure you didn’t fall straight off and hit your head.
After this eventful day, we headed back to the villa for dinner.
That evening we decided that instead of having a few drinks in the house, we would head down to the bar instead. Here a 0.5L craft of Sangria was only 5 euros so clearly we were in for a good night. With shots of Tequila also only being priced at 2 euros.
Day Three: Snails and Sangria
This morning I and some of the boys headed into a smaller town about 30 minutes away from Roquebrun with Emily’s dad to go to a car boot sale ... or so we thought. When we got there, there didn’t seem to be an occurrence of a car boot sale, and we soon realised that we had got the wrong date. However, we didn’t let this stop us and continued to look around the town as it was bigger than that of Roquebrun.
We first went to the bakery, and I got an almond croissant, which was amazing, and Alex opted for a chocolate doughnut. When walking through this town, we stumbled upon a little café where we decided to stop for a coffee. After Alex managed to order an iced coffee, I followed Akam’s lead in attempting to order a normal latte, which we decided was ‘lait chaud’. However, on receiving our drinks, we soon realised that this meant warm milk and being too awkward (we are English after all) we went and sat down at a table outside with our cups of warm milk. After much debate, I decided to go back in and ask for a shot of coffee, which I then poured into my warm milk. This caused a lot of laughs from the server as she soon offered me a straw to sip it up as it was slowly overflowing.
Moving on from here we stopped off in a shop to pick up a few bits. Here I found an inflatable for three euros which I thought was an amazing deal – turns out it was a children’s inflatable, but it still managed to get just as much use out of it.
On returning back to the villa, we decided to walk up towards the church that was about 10 minutes up the hill opposite. This was easier to do as it was cloudier and cooler today than it previously had been. The views at the top of this were beautiful, and you could see even further than we had been able to out of the villa window.
That night we decided to dress up and go to a little restaurant which was about a 2 min walk away from the house called ‘petit nice’. The food here was beautiful, and we all tried some snails. Although these looked like snot, they actually tasted quite like pesto, but I definitely couldn’t stomach more than one of them. To follow this, I had a goat’s cheese salad with a honey drizzle and a side of fries (because what else would an English person order at a French restaurant. If you find yourself in this area definitely give this restaurant a visit – the sangria was also not badly priced either! (This seemed to be the currency we were going by on this holiday).
Today we took ourselves further down the river but on the opposite side (this involved crossing the bridge). This area was a bit more rocky although it did have a stream of rapids which we were able to mess around in, making a change from just plain swimming.
After getting tired and hungry from swimming around so much, Alex and I decided to venture down a little to this kayaking place that also was home to a little snack bar. We ordered burger, chips and a drink which only came to 10 euros each as was incredibly good.
We went back to the spot that we had gone to on the second day. However, we didn’t manage to get the open spot we had sat in before and had to settle for a bit around the corner that was just as lovely.
This day involved more swimming and fooling around getting caught up in rapids and currents. The scenery in these places fails to get tiering, and you could just stare at it all day long.
After another lovely day, we headed back to the villa to apply heaps of after sun as some of us were starting to look a bit pinker than usual and we decided to use this night to relax a bit and just have a few drinks.
Today we had started to run out of food, so for the last two days, we decided we needed a trip to the Carrefore express about 15 mins outside of town to get the essentials.
While shopping, we found the sangria pre-mixed bottles (only three left in stock), so we had to grab the last few at the bargain price of 3 euro 50.
After returning from our shopping trip, we went straight down to the river as it was heading to 37 degrees and everyone was melting.
At the river, there was a little weir which looks exactly like a waterfall. However, a weir ‘is an impervious barrier constructed across a river to raise the water level on the upstream side’. So, a few of us enjoyed sitting underneath there enjoying the cold water washing over us.
From the waterfall to get down to our part of the river we had sat at, we followed the rapids and got pushed along down. However, due to the shallowness of the river, a lot of the time we were hit by rocks when going down. (Again, the sea shoes came in handy here, and I would recommend a pair of these if heading down rapids or shallow rivers.)
Alex was also fishing again, although today was more unsuccessful.
We decided on a BBQ that night in the garden where we had also placed a small paddling pool to keep cool in a while eating/ cooking / drinking. We also cracked open the bottled sangria, which was just as tasty as it had been in the bar.
That night we went down to the other little bar in the village, which was just outside of the Tabac shop. Although they didn’t do sangria here, we had a really nice sweet cider that was only 6 euros for a massive bottle. Once again, we were all pretty merry when we finally made it back to the house.
Day Seven: Final Day
Today most of us had a bit of a lie-in due to last night’s antics. However, we still managed to make it down to the river for the best hangover cure – a swim.
The boys opted for a walk up a track in the hills whereas us girls decided on a swim.
While swimming in the part of the beach we were on had a lot of dogs on it. To say they were cute is an understatement as they paddled around coming up to you for some strokes.
We weren’t here for too long as we decided we probably should pack as we were leaving early the next day. On returning home and packing, we made a spaghetti dish with salad and the remains of everything else in the fridge to attempt to get rid of it all before we left. While having dinner, we also watched a slideshow of the pictures that had been taken on the holiday, allowing us to think of all the things we had done.
Finishing dinner, we opted for a chilled night with a glass of sangria in front of the TV catching up on Love Island before an early exit to bed as the week took its toll on all of us.
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