Posted by: jimndianne | November 14, 2009

Market day in Figeac!

14 November 2009 France

Well I suppose you’re wondering what happened to the undiscovered red wine mentioned in the previous day’s heading! Well I forgot to include the fact that this is a most noble and ancient red wine of this region, and a hidden gem among French wines. Older than Bordeaux and with a reputation for darkness and strength it is the only French red wine to harness the power of the Malbec grape. So, for the red wine lovers amongst you we have taken the liberty of having  a few samples of these delicate reds which have more than twenty centuries of  history behind them.
We have decided to stay on for a further night in the Hotel Cruzel, mainly because we are becoming desperate for a change of clothing, most of our winter gear being bagged and ready for washing! Our hostess, Helene, informs us, that there is a coin-op. laundromat in Figeac, (pronounced Fijark), so we will visit again with the intention of getting rid of that chore.  Being a Saturday, we have decided to also take a much closer look at this historic little town,  as today is market day.  So after a lovely breakfast at our Hotel Cruzel we were in Figeac within a short time. Once there, we collected a map from the Tourist Bureau of the  one and a half  hour historic walking trail around this wondrous town. As we began the walk, however, we were enthralled by the size of the market day in this town, with stalls of inexpensive clothing of all types in many streets, but more by the huge vans with open sides in the square selling all kinds of food items, from cheeses, meats, fish, vegetables and much more. Our mouths were watering, especially seeing all the wonderful foie gras, fish, mussels (moules) and oysters, from my point of view, while Jim was eyeing the cheeses. Prices, by the way, did not seem overly expensive either. The camera was very busy after that!

A point to note, here, is that we have never seen any cyclists wearing helmets here in France. Obviously, there is no law saying that they must.

We had to continue on our historic walk, which took us here and there, though tiny alleys, up many steps and down again, following the sign of a key for directions. There was an abundance of carved decorations on many of the buildings indicating homes of wealthy noble families in the past. An elegant entrance porch of a 14th century ‘hotel’ was decorated with oak and ivy leaves. We entered the largest church in Figeac, all that remained of the Benedictine abbey which initiated the development of the town in the Middle Ages. Again, it contained the most beautiful stained glass windows imaginable. After an hour or so, feeling hungry again, we came upon the colourful Place de Froment, the former Corn & Oat Market, adjacent to a square full of small cafes with open umbrellas outside in case of rain. We ordered the Chestnut Soup which was absolutely delicious, served with slices of French bread, followed by Double Expresso coffees, each with an accompanying chocolate.

At around 2pm, when the Laundromat was looking empty, we put our washing on and sat, computer in lap, to do some work on our blogs, but alas, here was no Wifi, or connection, in that area. Chatted with a young French girl who was studying English until the washing was all clean and dried before locating the local MacDonald’s Restaurant, where we sat again at the computer and were able to finish a couple of blogs.

Back at St. Etienne de Maurys (Hotel Cruzel), we noticed the heavy scent of wood fire smoke from many local homes trying to keep warm in the cold weather. We had bought some different cheeses in the market so had a light tea of cheese and crackers, followed up by bananas and mandarins!


  1. Yum Formage Francais, il fait tres beau. Je vais bien, il faut chaud ici.
    Our temp is creeping up to near mid to high 30’s today…..I am off to French, my private lesson, I worked at U3A yesterday morning and won’t join next year as I am now very occupied with my French lessons and working. Everything you write is wonderful and as I know France to be, as you know you are talking to the converted and I hope that you settle there and that I can see you when I get there next year. NOt much else to write from here, my kitchen is still a war zone and the joiner should be here next week to do the cupboards and then Dec before the tiler can come. Meanwhile tomorrow I am getting 5 palms cut down and doing more work in the gardens to make them nice. Cheers for now Jen

  2. Yum yum yum – salivating…. :o) Nicxx

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