france: tuesday 091509

Today was scheduled for Carcassonne, the whole reason I convinced boy to go to France. It was quite a drive, and we got food at a gas station on the way. I also included a picture of the gas prices at the time (euros for litres of diesel).

France_day_seven1 France_day_seven3

We were to stay at La Maison Coste, in their Le Lied d’Ossian room. However, once we arrived in the greater city of Carcassonne, we both finally said aloud to each other, as we were driving through tiny streets with tinier intersections without stop signs and way too many cars and pedestrians, that we just werent feeling it. So much, that we agreed to ditch our plans, and perhaps get a hotel somewhere else and then drive back to Carcassonne to see it.

France_day_seven2

Unfortunately, this is as close to the castle city as we got – but when we go back to France, we will try to hit it up. We had decided instead, to see four other castles, which you will learn about on the next France post.

France_day_seven6

Part of the reason we didnt return to Carcassonne was for the very fact that things close so early in France. There are not Holiday Inns at every highway intersection, open 24 hours for the weary traveller. Most hotels are tiny, with only maybe 8 rooms, and as such, the reception desk closes at 6 or so. We had no internet, so we drove until we found a gas station with free access, and that put us farther out. Then there was the burden of finding something on our way to the next stop (as you might imagine, being that hotels are so tiny, they dont often have websites easily found). By the time I could call and get a confirmation, we were pretty close to our next destination. We both really really like what we did instead, so much more than I believe we would have liked Carcassonne, in all its touristy glory.

And this, ladies and gents, is how we ended up in a tiny village called Lignan-sur-Orb, in a hotel (the Chateau de Lignan) that reminded us very much so of an old hospital, with a creepy feel of zombies or vampires (we coulndt tell, both maybe). It was wack but we had no complaints, truly I guess. We did stop at our first boulangerie also, down the street (a bakery shop). The man didnt know english and clearly got a kick out of us. He was so charming – singing to himself as he made our sammiches! Boy became obsessed and always would rather grab some bread than enjoy a true french meal the rest of the trip. At least it did save us some money;)

France_day_seven4 France_day_seven5

france: monday 091409

Today was a very exciting day for me! We were to go visit the Lascaux II cave, an exact replica of the original cave, housing some of the oldest known paintings on the earth. I remember taking an ancient art history class, and thinking this was very cool. And once I learned about it in my first anthropology class, the gears clicked and my brain started churning and I found my area of interest.

To get there, we stopped at Montignac to buy tickets. Due to an odd timing issue (mostly involving an English speaking tour guide, but also because the French typically close for lunch), we had to wait a few hours so we wandered around the beautiful town. I tried to pee in what turned into a scary trap, lol. (I wont go into detail but it has to do with no lights turning on after the door shut – and locked – and a single glowing red button – it is true what they say of a red button – NEVER TOUCH IT!)

France_day_six1 France_day_six10

Unfortunately, photos were not allowed inside the cave. It wouldnt be the same anyway – it was a very powerful experience to know the story (as much as it is known) and then see it (even if it is a replica).

We returned to Sarlat and wandered the cobbled streets. I found the fairy cave from the Legend of Zelda! (If only we had a jar…) We ate in the center again, and it was the first (and only) meal that went astray for me.

France_day_six2 France_day_six3 France_day_six4 France_day_six5 France_day_six7 France_day_six6 France_day_six8 France_day_six9 France_day_six11 France_day_six12 France_day_six13

france: sunday 091309

In the morning, we stopped at the Monkey Forest, where we had croque monsieurs for breakfast and then hand fed popcorn to Barbary Apes (which are actually macaque monkeys, not apes – yes there is a difference!). I can now check off something on my ToDoBeforeIDie List – i met a primate! Several in fact, and I wish i could have stayed to watch more closely but we had to get going to our next stop, so a few hours would have to suffice.

Then we drove to Sarlat-le-Caneda, where we stayed at Hotel des Recollets. Inside the greater part of Sarlat is a pedestrian only medieval village, which is where we stayed. It was filled with great architecture and cobbled streets. Our exhaustion caught up to us and we slept many many hours, so there arent very many photos to share.

France_Sarlat-le-Canada2 France_Sarlat-le-Canada3 France_Sarlat-le-Canada4 France_Sarlat-le-Canada5 France_Sarlat-le-Canada6 France_Sarlat-le-Canada7 France_Sarlat-le-Canada8 France_Sarlat-le-Canada10 France_Sarlat-le-Canada9 France_Sarlat-le-Canada11 France_Sarlat-le-Canada12 France_Sarlat-le-Canada13 France_Sarlat-le-Canada14