Vive La France

Follow us as we travel around the Dordogne, Lot & Languedoc regions of France

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30 - Toulouse, Blagnac Airport, CDG and Home

We woke to a beautiful sunny day. Air France had notified us this morning of a one hour delay on our flight, so after breakfast we did some walking around for one last hit of tourist lust. Sat in Place Wilson with the rest of the Toulousians (?), admiring the fountain, sunning, reading the paper (even if our French est non bien pas). Then to Capitol Square and St Sernin's cathedral before heading back to the hotel to get our bags and check out. 

We had noticed at breakfast that the construction crews had blocked off the street we needed to go on to get to the hotel, and the alternate street was blocked by a moving truck backing up traffic into the main avenue. So we just took our stuff, put it on the roller bag, and walked the few blocks to the garage.

With all the concerns about being able to get out of the city it turned out to be a pice of cake because we were parked right on the main avenue needed to exit the city and there were sign every few 100 meters. Bridgette helped a little, but you still needed to watch signs not to take an exit too soon as some exits are just a few feet after each other. We made the airport, and Avis, in 20 minutes.

At check in the agent repeated what we knew but then handed us vouchers for use at the restaurant for sandwiches and drinks. Can you imagine AA doing that?

As we've probably said before, we really liked Toulouse, a large city but very easy to get around in.

This will be our last blog update. Got to CDG and the Novotel, and are shortly going out for our last dinner in France.

We're looking forward to getting back tomorrow. We've had a fabulous trip but are still looking forward to home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29 - Toulouse - Place de la Trinite

June 29 - St. Antonin Val Noble

June 29 - St. Antonin Val Noble

June 29 - St.Antonin Val Noble, Toulouse

This is our final day before we start our flights home. While we are sad to see our France vacation end all too quickly, we feel very fortunate to have had spectacular weather and to have seen some incredible sites.

We left Sarlat this morning at 10am to cloudy cool weather. We drove through fog and clouds as we worked our way through the Tarn de Gorges en route to the medieval city of St Antonin Val Noble. This was another gorgeous medieval town with timbered homes from the 12C. We walked the town for about an hour and then left for Toulouse.

We arrived back in Toulouse about 3pm and it seemed like ages ago since we were here. We've seen and done so much, we lost track of what we saw here. We decided to take the tourist train around the city and realized that all the sites on the tour we had seen on our walking tour 2 weeks ago. It was good to relax and let someone else do the driving though.

It is amazing how many people are wandering the streets and shopping. This is the 2nd largest city in France and has many beautiful buildings and the largest cathedral in France. After our tour of the city by train, we walked around the major tourist areas and stopped for dinner again on Place Wilson. We decided to have an Italian meal; after 3 weeks of rich French food of Duck and Foie Gras, we were ready for a change and looking for to great Mexican food this weekend. Meanwhile, another great meal that we needed to walk off.

Bon Soir for now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28 - Entrance to caves of Rouffignac

June 28 - Lunch at Les Eyzies

A fabulous Rainbow trout with almonds, potatoes Sardalaise, and rice pilaf.

June 28 - Main Room in Forte de Reignac

June 28 - Forte de Reignac

The view is of open ledges at the top, where man lived 14,000 years ago and the lower ledges where the openings were closed in for defense in later years.

June 28 - Forte de Reignac, Grotte Rouffignac

Relief from the 2-day heat wave! Today we had high clouds and temps in the mid 70's. Great for sightseeing.

After walking to the Petite Casino to buy dinner for tonight we headed out to Forte de Reignac, a fantastic visit. This was a fortress built high on the limestone cliffs, first used 17,000 yrs ago and then a fortress was built during the middle ages. The rooms were decorated with furniture from the 15th to 17th centuries and the English handout gave an excellent account of the history of the middle ages and the lives of the people that lived in the fortress.

At the end of the tour, there was a special exhibit on torture devices used during the middle ages. It is always astounding the ways humans could think of ways to torture other humans and makes you glad you did not live during those times. There was also a good explanation of how knights were brought up and their main purpose in life was to kill whether it be to protect his property, family or just for the hell of it.

We spent most of the morning here and then drove a short distance to Les Eyzies for lunch at a cafe called La Grinottere. Karen had a Croque Monsieur with frites and Michael had trout with almonds and sarladaise potatoes (which are excellent).

After a leisurely lunch, we headed to another cave called Grotte Rouffignac. All of the caves offer something different and interesting. This cave was about 1200 meters long and upon entering the cave, you take a small train ride through the cave stopping along the way to view the walls with bear scratches, see where cave bears made their dens and view cave paintings. The final stop you get out of the train and see an amazing sight. The ceiling is covered in mammoths, Ibex, horses, bison from 14,000 yrs ago. It is astounding to think that these Magdelenian people crawled through the caves with rudimentary lamps and painted these beautiful images on their backs. They could only see a small area, yet the animals were painted lifelike in many cases.

That, unfortunately, was the end of our sightseeing in the Sarlat area. This was our last night and we hated to say goodbye to Maison Josephine.

Tomorrow will be a long drive, almost 200 Kms, as we go a bit Southwest for some more sights and then South Eastward to Toulouse