Weeks in the French Interior - Summer, 2007
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08 Pradines (Cahors - Lot)
Monday, August 20
We started the day by going to town early for some pictures (F.) and newspapers (moi). I read Le Monde or Figaro almost every day, and the Herald Tribune in English, when I could get it. Elated to hear that Karl Rove had resigned! But I couldn't read much news about US politics without getting too depressed to enjoy France, especially since we kept being reminded that Sarkozy is trying to emulate Blair and Bush in many spheres....strange choice of mentors. This perception was reinforced by our memory of having years ago watched on television the entire first few weeks of the US invasion of Iraq, while staying in an apartment in Paris. It was instructive to compare French coverage of the war in comparison to CNN's cheerleader approach to the news, and we spent much time praising the wisdom of the French position on that invasion. Now we were watching the French shake their heads over Sarkozy's vacation in New Hampshire, his meeting with Bush, and his vows to "modernize" France. In my view every "modernization" that we encountered (read: Americanization) in France was an abomination and a crime against aesthetics, and I sometimes fear that the France I have loved could be changed beyond recognition in the coming decades. Our final dinner in France turned out to be in a "Buffalo Grill" with pictures of cowboys and Indians on the walls, monster-truck races on multi-screen televisions, and every ersatz "American" menu item that the corporate boys could come up with as our dinner choices. No thanks.
Though we'd visited St. Cirq-la-Popie on our former visits, we had never seen the adjoining village of Bouziés, nor the canal path walk that was cut into the sheer cliffs south of the river. F. was also eager to see the ancient paintings in the grotto of Pech-Merle in the same general area. We drove along the winding river-following road under the cliffs to Bouziés (reached by a one-lane suspension bridge) to have a fine lunch at Les Falaises restaurant. We were vaguely planning to stay in the Falaises Hotel the following night and visit the caves the following morning--only to find that (tourist season be damned!) the cave visits were booked though the entire week. So we cancelled our hotel reservation, and headed out in rain to walk 3 kilometers or so along the old canal past multiple caves, and thinking about our former plans to see France by canal in our own boat--a plan never realized. We drove back to Cahors for an ordinary steak-frites dinner in Chantilly on the main street, Avenue Gambetta.
Copyright© 2007 - Darrell Taylor