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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cathar Country

MY HUSBAND and I spent a week in Cathar Country in 2000 while visiting friends in Montpellier. They took us to most of the places mentioned in your article on Cathar Country ["In the Land of Castles," March 23], but they included a few more I'd like to share.

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Since the Languedoc-Roussillon region is known for its wine, it makes sense to take a trip to the caves of Roquefort to sample the famous Roquefort cheese. We toured the caves where the cheese is matured for three months. The caves are in the limestone Combalou Ridge, which is northwest of Montpellier and Beziers. The tour takes about an hour and is conducted in French but was easy to understand.

Beziers, only 75 miles from Spain, has a definite Spanish feel to it. The Cathedral of Saint Nazaire, which sits on a hill above the River Orb, was rebuilt in the 13th century after it was burned to the ground by Simon de Montfort in 1209.

The Canal du Midi, which was started in 1667 by Pierre-Paul Riquet of Beziers, links the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. A mile upstream from Beziers are the Locks of Fonseranes; the staircase-like series of locks allows boats to navigate over a 82-foot drop in level. My husband and I could have spent all day watching boats and barges going through the locks.

Linda Curry Howard

Frederick

Saratoga Springs

THE STORY on Saratoga Springs ["Win, Place or Soak," March 23] was informative. However, in addition to the mentioned National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, readers will be interested to learn it's also home to the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame.

Located in a spacious Arts and Crafts-style building in Saratoga Spa State Park, the museum features an impressive section on George Balanchine and his contribution to American ballet as well as exhibits on Fred Astaire, Martha Graham and others.

Michael Rae


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