Blogs from Midi-Pyrénées, France, Europe - page 11


Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées May 10th 2015

Sunday 10th May. I had learned during the week that there is a Mass in English on Sunday at the church of Notre Dame du Taur. This church is said to be at the exact spot where the Romans stopped dragging the martyr St Saturnin (now St Sernin) to death through the streets of Toulouse behind a bull, though his remains lie in the nearby Cathedral (previously mentioned). This was in the 4thCentury. There were about 40 people at the Mass. I had been told not to miss Carcassonne, which has a huge fortified old city on a hill, near the modern city. Its less than an hour by train from Toulouse, so I headed to the railway station after Mass. The train I had intended to travel on was an intercity train, non-stop to Carcassonne, ... read more
Gargoyle with a toothache

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées May 9th 2015

Friday 8th May. A public holiday again today – to commemorate the end of WW2 I believe. I spent the day at the Cité de l’Espace, which is only a fifteen-minute walk from where I am staying. I ended up spending all day there until they closed at 6pm! They have a lot of exhibits, including a replica of the Russian Mir space station, an Ariane 5 rocket, a number of replica satellites and space probes, a replica module from the International Space Station, and a replica Mars Curiosity rover. They also have a range of exhibit halls. I found the most interesting to be the one that showed the history of rockets and space travel, from the earliest Chinese powder rockets to the latest Ariane rockets. My favourite remains the Russian R7 rocket, which launched ... read more
Les Ailes Anciennes Toulouse
Full-scale Mir Space Station Replica
Mars Odyssey Rover Replica

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées May 4th 2015

Sunday 3rdMay. Today my host family took all of us students residing with them for a day trip to Madiran, a small village about two and a half hours from here, where Nelly (our host) and her two sisters own a house (formerly a school) which their grandparents owned, and which they are renovating. The drive, though long, was interesting, as one had views across to the amazing snowcapped Pyrénées, and we also passed through a number of very old villages (villages and towns all around this area were originally Roman), boasting medieval churches, donjons and other buildings. We also stopped at a Sunday market in one village, and at another village having a massive street sale. After our picnic lunch at the house, Nelly’s sister Annie took us on a walking tour of Madiran village, ... read more
Les Pyrénées
Medieval Construction Methods
Host Family & Students

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées May 2nd 2015

Friday 1stMay. It rained all day today, just lightly most of the time, but non-stop. I had a few hours in the morning to wander around in Toulouse some more, and found some interesting monuments and buildings. It is Labour Day, so almost all the shops are closed, there are no buses running, and the streets are very quiet indeed. This will be good for my drive to Millau, as the roads will prove to be very quiet. I collected my rental car just after lunch. It was a Fiat Panda, another car much favoured by James May from Top Gear (he owns one), and what a great car! So easy to drive, especially when compared to the Dacia I had in Ireland, and much nicer inside. Taller gearing meant it wasn’t being thrashed on the ... read more
le Viaduc de Millau
Panoramic View over Millau
le Viaduc de Millau

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées April 30th 2015

Weds 29th April. Today was my flight from Dublin to Toulouse. Usual airport things – long queue to check in, plus the flight was half an hour late. In Toulouse, a group of us was waiting for the airport-city shuttle bus, only to find out that due to a strike they were not running. The alternative was the tram and then the metro, not too inconvenient but somewhat crowded on the metro, difficult with luggage. On first impression, Toulouse is pretty interesting. The centre of the city has been extensively pedestrianised, and the streetscape is very pleasant, blending wide boulevards with narrow lanes. The rows of apartments have that very French style, there are many shops. There is a huge number of young people around, many students all over the place. The overall impression is of ... read more
Basilica St Severin
Rue d'Alsace-Lorraine

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Cordes-sur-Ciel February 12th 2015

Another fortified town in the South of France (between Sarlat and Carcassonne).... read more
Looking down the street from the Cite

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Lourdes January 14th 2015

Although I am not a Catholic, I accompanied my friend and his wife to Lourdes one time during my 8 year residence in France. I'm glad I did because it was a spiritually rewarding experience for me. He was a long lost friend whom I had not seen or heard from for over 40 years. Back in the 1960's when I was growing up in what was then known as Rangoon, Burma (now officially called Yangon, Myanmar) we became very close and did what most teenage boys were fond of doing at that time; fooling around, drinking beer, chasing girls (most of the time unsuccessfully), etc. 40 plus years later, after re-establishing contact with each other, he and his wife came to visit me in France. It was a very happy reunion after all these years. ... read more
Beziers, France
Pau, France
Lourdes, France

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Saint-Jean October 7th 2014

Our little wolf pack left Pamplona Sunday afternoon where it grew by one: Eileen, a longtime friend of Angie's joined us from Barcelona for the first week of our trek. We made it to St. Jean Pied Port (the "Feet of St. James": official starting point of our pilgrimage) mid afternoon on Sunday. Eager to get on the trail, we stopped into a hostel to get Eileen's passport and hit the trail. The outcome was unexpected: This hostel owner quickly sized up that we were fresh on the pilgrimage and convinced us "you're crazy to start the trail tonight!" He suggested we stay and start the next day. After a quick decision (we clearly haven't learned our lesson!) we handed over $17 Euros each which included a "pilgrims breakfast". After a sleepless night in a dank, ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Loubressac September 18th 2014

Another lovely sunny day but we put the little umbrella in the scooter back box just to make sure it didn’t rain. Before we left Bob phoned the Caravan and Camping Club who had arranged our ferry tickets and we have now changed to get the Chunnel back rather than the ferry as we are not happy about staying on Calais harbour the night before our ferry given the current ‘would be immigrant’ problems there. Carennac first, being only half a mile up the road from the campsite and on the river. Absolutely stunning little medieval town. Perfectly kept, not a scrap of litter to be found and no doubt a hanging offence to dare to drop any here. Flowers everywhere, some artistically arranged and others artfully just placed here and there. Some wonderful buildings with ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées September 17th 2014

Woke to low cloud and rumbles of thunder. Packed up quite quickly and got on our way as we had a good way to drive and some of the drive looked to be quite hard work. As it happened, though we did go along and past several of the major rivers of Central France: Gardon, Tarn, Lot, Dordogne we didn’t drive along any river gorges and those are the most tortuous in a motorhome where there are sticking out rocks and overhanging cliffs involved. The rumbles of thunder soon translated themselves into rain. We were driving one of the most scenic routes in the area, the Corniche des Cevennes and it was indeed fantastic. We did have a problem seeing the views though as the higher we went the deeper into the low cloud we got ... read more
La Corniche des Cévennes under cloud
La Corniche des Cévennes under cloud
La Corniche des Cévennes under cloud

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