Posted by: jimndianne | November 12, 2009

Leaving Toulouse for the final time!

12 November 2009 France

What a difference a day makes! The rain has given way to an absolutely gorgeous day as we set off towards Montauban and later, on a slight nor-western course,  to Lauzerte.  046Along the way, using some tiny country roads, we discovered great farming communities with the most beautiful orchards and chestnut trees everywhere!  Also found here, as a commercial enterprise, were rows and rows of trees which, once matured, we later discovered, would be made into parquet flooring.

047There were a few grand churches dotting the

skyline, magnificent structures that seemed to have weathered the years.

La Francaise, a picturesque little town up quite high in the hills, had splendid views inalmost every direction. We can never take enough photographs in France, it seems.

A photo of a pomegranate tree 049in a cottage garden begged to be taken so we have included this here.

At around this time, the navigator almost blew a fuse, nearly tearing the overly large map to shreds, as the driver asked the regular question of  “which way now?” at the last minute, when there were several cars up his rear end. The nav, being  confronted with a signpost with around eight French villages on, and having no time to decide which way to go, shut her eyes and said, “go left – I don’t really care!” The narrow tree-lined avenues also 078make life more than a little exciting as when a large truck comes thundering towards us our driver has to very carefully judge the amount of space available to avoid a truck or tree graze, or worse.

The very historic town of 052Lauzerte, in the Tarn-et-Garonne ‘departement’ of Midi Pyrennees, was our next port of call, mainly to visit the Immobilier (estate agent) there. However, we were very 056disappointed to discover that her agency was only open daily from 9am to 12noon and it was by then, 2pm! Oh well, we intended taking a good walk around the village in any case, as this is one of the most beautiful villages in France. So having parked the car outside the closed 057pizzeria, we hiked up around fifty steps or more to the very top of the village where there was a beautifully restored ancient ‘Place’, or square. Lauzerte is an historic bastide or fortified village and can trace its origins back to the signing of the village charter in 1241 by the Count of Toulouse. As a stronghold, Lauzerte governed the surrounding area up until the 18th century. It was an established stopping off point on the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela, with many modern travellers following the same route to this day. 067We were blown away by both the age and the beauty of this village and sat sipping expresso coffees while also soaking up the architecture and history that oozes from the stone walls and gothic and renaissance windows.  070Both of us marvelled at the way the pavement was turned up at the corner as though the ‘glue’ had failed there! 073Note that on the pitched roof of the church there are countless pidgeons roosting. On many farms, pidgeon-cotes were specially built, and still remain, 072so the birds could shelter inside and the droppings collected were used as manure on the farmland.

I do hope we’re not boring you with all of this talk of beautiful 069villages and delightful vistas. If so, take a break and maybe go off and have a cup of tea or something or better still, visit your local travel agent and come and have a look for yourself! (Pam P., I know YOU want to!)

Leaving Lauzerte, we left the Tarn region and crossed  into Lot, the landscape changing markedly and with many burned trees, looking as if a fire has raced through the region at some time not so long ago. Though the trunks appear blackened the trees still hold a large number of autumn-coloured leaves. We reach Cahors, the capital of Lot,  discovering a very beautiful town encircled by the River Lot. At almost 5pm, we found reasonably priced accommodation at the Kyriad Hotel, which is a large independant chain. Although Wifi was promised, the signal in our room was too weak to be of any use  so we could not do any blogs. We had a lovely dinner in the hotel dining room which was quite special because it came with a good selection of vegetables, while Jim chose a pork dish and I selected a fish dish with rice. This was followed up with glace (ice cream) in two flavours, complete with chantilly cream and mini umbrella.


Responses

  1. Bonjour mon amis , back from my outback adventure and catching up on your Journal -following your progress on the map – hoping that you will swing off to the south, however every little village I have seen over there has it’s own charm and hard to resist, so can understand how difficult it would be to choose. Take care – keep safe.

  2. Oh,oh,oh. I’m green with envy! Promise me you will offer this to someone as a travel tale. Penguin or Reader’s Digest perhaps.
    Loved the name immobilier for a Real Estate agent.
    Wonderful to know you are well and happy. Me too. Denise has returned from Bali. She looks great and has maintained her slim figure. All ladies in the group send love. Especially me.
    Judy.

  3. Thoroughly enjoying your travel notes. We look forward to being in that region ourselves next year. Keep well and continue to post such interesting accounts of your experiences.
    Love, Pamela and John.


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