Facebook has a new feature, or maybe it’s been around for a while and I haven’t noticed. A few days ago when I logged on, I was shown an entry for two years ago on the same date. Newly arrived in France, I was living in the Dordogne where, even though it was supposed to be spring, the weather was rainy and cool. Two years on, living in the Languedoc where spring has not only arrived but seems ready to pass on the mantle to summer. Just a few weeks ago, I was still looking for the first leaf burst, now it’s a sea of pale green all around the village. Temperatures climbed into the 80’s on a couple of days and the fields and garrigue are a riot of colours– pink, lavender and yellow, splashes of scarlet poppies, and great clumps of purple irises.
Also just about two years ago, I’d had my first visitor from the States. Kit, who had been visiting Ireland, took a train from Paris to Bordeaux where I met her. We roamed around for a couple of days then took the train to Perigeaux and rented a car to drive back to my village. After driving in California for years, I have no idea why getting behind the wheel in France completely freaked me out, but it did–to the point that Kit drove the rental car and turned it back in Perigeaux at the end of her visit. I was sans car until I moved to Montpeyroux in the Languedoc and found dependence on buses and trains a bit constricting. A friend let me drive her truck and, after tooling around the vineyards, a few times I was ready for a car of my own.
This time, I thought nothing of driving to Barcelona to meet Kit and her husband Jerry– my first US visitors in 2015 and the first to Laurens where I now live. Kit scores big in the department of firsts.
Having visited Bordeaux and Barcelona together, we thought it might be interesting to visit all the B cities of Europe. We’ll see. Anyway, it was a good visit. From Barcelona, we drove to Cadaqués, which never fails to thrill then back to Laurens. We ate grilled steak at a vineyard lunch, plates of mussels at a street fare and seldom passed a cheese stall without making a purchase. Ditto the boulangerie which Kit visited every morning. For the most part, she’d point at whatever took her fancy, essentially almost everything, then stagger back with the spoils. Pictures tell the story.
As Kit said, 12 euros and ten minutes later. If it looks as though I had nothing to do with this carnage, my hips give lie.
It’s always difficult to know exactly what will appeal to visitors, there is so much to see it’s difficult to whittle down the choices, but the 1.6 mile Millau Viaduct, above town of Millau (me-you–thanks Kit for the nmenomic) was definitely a hit. Spanning the valley of the River Tarn, the 984 feet bridge is the tallest in the world–the central pillar is higher than the Eiffel Tower. The Tarn River Gorge with its wild rock formations and limestone plateaus is considered the Grand Canyon of France. From the coasts to the mountains, the variety of the French landscape never fails to impress me.