May 31, 2014
On our return from Provence we decided to stay in Mazamet until heading off for fifteen days in England. Apart from 'living in Mazamet' we took a number of short trips to see some of the sites that had previously eluded us.
The road across the Black Mountains to Carcassonne was closed for repairs so we decided to take a road marked Pic de Nore. Along the way we drove alongside the river that runs through Mazamet and passed by a leather factory outlet. We stopped only to find that it had just closed but we made a note to return. We also went past the Maison du Bois et du Jouet which was also closed. But both of those activities could wait for another day. Instead we continued on the road to the Pic de Nore, the highest point in the Black Mountains. As we drove towards the summit the temperature recorded on the car's temperature gauge dropped 1ºC every few kilometres. We started at 16ºC and by the time we got to the top of the mountain the temperature had dropped to 3ºC. The clouds were coming in but the view to the south was amazing. We had a 180º view towards the south and could easily see Carcassonne in the distance. Unfortunately to clouds came in and enveloped the top of the mountain reducing visibility to nothing. The wind was also bitingly cold so we got back into the car (well I did since Jenny wasn't willing get out to brave the weather) and drove back down the mountain to the relative warmth of Mazamet.
A few days later we drove back to see the leather factory outlet and the Maison du bois et du jouet. The leather factory no longer operated from their premises on the way to Pic de Nore and the people we spoke to suggested we visit their retail outlet in La Richarde. We had been through La Richarde on most days in Mazamet to go to E Leclerc, the main supermarket in Mazamet. Anyway we pressed onto the Maison du bois et du jouet. It contained a most interesting exhibit about the trees and timbers around the Black Mountains. It was expensive to enter but inside was one of the most interesting set of exhibits and educational material that I have seen. The variety of trees, flora and fauna in the Black Mountains were beautifully presented and described. This place was easily missed but well worth the visit.
We had often seen a sign to the Route des Lacs so we decided to explore one afternoon. The drive took us through Pont de Larn, Angles on our way to La Salvetat-sur-Agout and past Lac de la Ravièrge and Lac du Laouzas. It was quite a long drive but well worth it. Lac de la Ravièrge was a little disappointing since the dam wall was being repaired and the level of the lake was very low indeed. There were many holiday houses on the edge of the lake but the water was a few hundred yards away from their back gardens. Lac du Laouzas was full and was quite pretty. We went off the road to the banks of the lake only to find ourselves in amongst a few motor homes which seemed settled in for a few days. We stopped for a picnic before heading back via some back roads that led us to La Salvetat where we stopped for a coffee before the drive back to Mazamet.