Weeks in the French Interior - Summer, 2007
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Pradines (Cahors -Lot) to Toulouse
We noticed that much of France was in for several days of rain, some quite heavy. After studying the papers' weather maps and talking a while, we ruled out any trip north (Nantes, for example) and decided to return to the original plan to spend some time in Toulouse, which was now in a much cooler zone than earlier. A day or two in a real city seemed suddenly attractive. We got into Cahors an hour before lunch to visit the huge indoor public market: F. wanted to buy food items and delicacies from the area to take back with us, and the market is, in any case, a festive place. We had the plats du jour in Gambetta for lunch (F.: salt-cod mashed into potatoes, and my usual salade niçoise.) We took the time to finally walk out onto the beautiful medieval Pont Valentré, a Cahors landmark, before pointing our Citroën southwest towards Toulouse.
Frankly, Toulouse turned out for me to be TooMuch! We got lost (as always) entering the city--poor signage! But F. navigated us into the heart of it--the enormous square/plaza in front of the Capitole building. The square, almost on the scale of Brussels' Grand Plaza, was crawling with a huge swarm of people--students, Spaniards, arabs, punk-rockers, business people, African vendors, etc., etc. After the villages of our trip I felt a bit overwhelmed by the edge, the pace, the jostling. We'd had to park 5 floors down in an underground garage about a half mile from our chosen hotel (the Taur). After registering we had to walk back the entire distance, fetch enough clothes and toiletries for a night, walk back through the mobs again, and by the end of the process we knew we would not be staying in Toulouse, since the goal of the trip was to find a peaceful change of pace from a rather hectic summer. The deal was firmed up by having a truly BAD sweet fish dinner in a grand cafe (L'Arcades) that was much praised in the literature, but which turned out to be all decor and no cuisine. The sky opened up to pour an inch of rain onto the streets in an hour, and I fell asleep eager to just go home, or at least, get out of Toulouse!
Copyright© 2007 - Darrell Taylor