Aurignac


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Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Toulouse
May 6th 2019
Published: May 9th 2019
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Les GirlsLes GirlsLes Girls

Not the 1957 Gene Kelly musical but three ladies who provided us with lots of entertainment (and eggs) while we were in Aurignac. Maybe this should be titles Lay, Girls?
Leaving Toulouse

Back to the train station to rent the car. The staff was very friendly and helpful giving us directions on how to get out of town. We only made one small mistake which was amazing considering the road works at the station and the narrow, winding streets. Luckily, the drive out of town went along streets we had walked the day before. This was helpful because there were a couple of unusual intersections and I am glad I didn’t have to drive through them unprepared. The drive was only just over an hour and we were heading towards the Pyrenees which made for great views.

Aurignac

The couple we were house sitting for were a lot of fun. They introduced us to Caramelle, the cat, and the three chickens. Wait a minute, I thought there were four. Apparently, the fourth one had been sick and went to the vet the day before to be put down. These chickens aren’t exactly pets but pretty close.

After breakfast each day, we got down to business, making sure Caramelle had food and water in the appropriate places. She is an outdoor cat with a mind of her own
CaramelleCaramelleCaramelle

A beautiful outdoor cat who deemed to grace us with her presence from time to time. Mainly when she wanted food.
(what cat doesn’t?). Then it’s out to the chicken coop to attend to the girls. Dump the water system and replace it with fresh water. Check for eggs. Clean up any droppings. Take a head of lettuce and tie it to the roof of the coop (they go through one head a day and would likely eat more if you provided it). But the highlight of the visit came every other day when you thawed a bag of the mash that is left over in beer making and put it in their coop in a sauce pan. They go nuts. Don’t get in their way. Joan wanted to compensate us for the lettuce we bought. I said the entertainment value was worth every euro. We usually let them out in the yard to scratch around for juicy bugs while we did the daily chores. Getting them back in the coop was sometimes fun. We learned to hold the mash until the end. That got them back in a flash.

Once the work was done we could visit the surrounding area. The town of Aurignac has about 1,200 people making it the smallest place we stayed. We learned that cappuccinos
Lettuce be friendsLettuce be friendsLettuce be friends

I couldn't believe how fast they could demolish a head of lettuce. In fact, I was amazed they would even like it.
are more of a tourist thing but the pâtisseries and boulangeries still made fabulous croissants, pain au raisin et baguettes. Even though the town was small, it had churches, ramparts, museums, and good signs on the attractions (even in English for us foreigners); everything you could ask for and in a small space.

But one of the nicest aspects of the area was that it wasn’t in a city. We had spent a lot of time in some fairly large, old cities. This gave us a chance to be out in some pretty spectacular open country with rolling hills, crops, fallow fields and great vistas. Our greatest adventure was driving to L’Isle-en-Didon for a walkabout.

This town is about 25 kilometers away and, of course, we went there on a Saturday. The problem was not the Gilets Jaune protests but that it was Market Day. Streets were blocked off and parking was tricky. But we found a place not too far from the centre of town and hit the Tourist Office. They provided us with detailed maps of the 14 kilometer trip we thought we would take (after café crème).

The hardest part of the
Meal timeMeal timeMeal time

Caramelle occasionally joined us for meals in the sun room overlooking the Pyrenees.
trip was knowing where to start. While I nipped back to the car, Dianne poured over the map. A chap walking by stopped to help her, explaining in great detail (all in French). Another example of some really nice people in France. His instructions were spot on and we found the start of the trail. The map helped but the trail markers (see pictures) were all one needed to do this large looping trail that wound up and down through fields and forests and, in places, along roads. The half way point was a small town that was setting up for an Easter feast the next day. When we stopped outside the mairie to eat our sandwiches in the shade, a chap came over to chat (in French) and took Dianne into the city hall to refill her water bottle. Very chatty and very pleasant.

The only problem with this trip was the “easy” description of it in the guide book. It was a “1” when the range was “1” to “5”. The hill leading up to this little village was a killer as was another hill on the return leg. Strenuous but doable for us but
The PyreneesThe PyreneesThe Pyrenees

Beautiful view from the sun room but in April, this was the only day they were visible. Luckily Dianne took some pictures.
others relying on the “easy” description could be less fortunate. Walking through the open countryside was indeed a beautiful experience. At the end there was a discrepancy between the map and the trail markers. We choose to follow the wrong one and were very pleased to realize that the road we were on took us right to our car. Quite a day.

The rest of the time in Aurignac went very quickly. Another town, another walk. Another museum. Just a very relaxing way to spend the second last week of our trip.

The last stop of our trip

Back to Toulouse to turn in the rental car. The return to the airport was a lot easier than getting out of Toulouse. Buying gas was a bit of an adventure due to more road closures in the town near the airport. Au revoir, France. Off to Brussels! ToBeContinued!


Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


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Old townOld town
Old town

Even through Aurignac is fairly small now, it had some impressive ramparts and towers in its former life.
Changes over the yearsChanges over the years
Changes over the years

We loved how they adapted towers and ramparts into housing. You could see how they adapted them by filling in some place and punching windows in others.
Home made directionsHome made directions
Home made directions

This sign appears on the stairs that appear to lead to the old tower. Apparently they don't and the occupants of the dwelling are tired of visitors.
Notre Dame de Saint BernardNotre Dame de Saint Bernard
Notre Dame de Saint Bernard

We celebrated Easter in this little chapel out in the middle of nowhere. With about 100 other people.
Bell wallsBell walls
Bell walls

This format for bells was something we hadn't seen anywhere else in France. Made me think of churches we saw in the southern U.S. Maybe it's the Spanish influence? We are only an hour by car from the Spanish border.
Recycling?Recycling?
Recycling?

Rather interesting re-use of an old wagon wheel.
War memorialWar memorial
War memorial

This was in a town of 200 people (current population). Amazing number of names from the First World War.
Great use of an old phone booth.Great use of an old phone booth.
Great use of an old phone booth.

One rarely sees a public phone booth these days. This hold-over from the past is now a lending library. (No phone though)
More renovationsMore renovations
More renovations

It would be fun to have some photos over the years showing the changes people have made.
Sign on a pedestrian bridge across the GaronneSign on a pedestrian bridge across the Garonne
Sign on a pedestrian bridge across the Garonne

People are getting better about picking up after their dogs but apparently not here.
Sign in a restaurant WCSign in a restaurant WC
Sign in a restaurant WC

You are asked to limit your reading to 5 minutes. Wonder if they actually time you?
Great cross country hiking signsGreat cross country hiking signs
Great cross country hiking signs

There are a whole series of signs marked on trees, light standards and even stand-alone stakes. Makes it easy to go walkabout. Turn left here.
Yes, you are on the trailYes, you are on the trail
Yes, you are on the trail

You learn to spot these fairly unobtrusive symbols painted on trees, etc.
Don't go thereDon't go there
Don't go there

This one is also important as it can save you a long walk if you get going on the wrong trail. Saved our bacon on several occasions
Country viewCountry view
Country view

Lots of rolling hills.
Signs of agricultureSigns of agriculture
Signs of agriculture

The trails often skirted fields in various stages of planting, fallow etc (Not that I would know which is which).
More viewsMore views
More views

Even after 14 kilometres the views were still great. But not as great as coming to the end of the road and finding our car.
Magpie hotelMagpie hotel
Magpie hotel

There were several spots of the trip where there would be five of six trees like this, full of nests. Wasn't sure why they congregated in certain places instead of spreading out. Mind you, we have cities so....


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