Blogs from Midi-Pyrénées, France, Europe - page 9


Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées September 11th 2015

Hi all, Well we made it! The flights went well with short layovers in Salt Lake City and Amsterdam. For whatever reason, however, I could not sleep on the planes so was up for 30+ hours before I lay my head on a pillow. We arrived about 1:30 France time in Toulouse and then went to the rental car office to get our "Fifi," our little Fiat. Drove without incident - amazingly - to Cremps, to our digs. Cameron navigated superbly however the roads became smaller and smaller... Something out of Alice In Wonderland. The road was so narrow that little Fifi could barely fit through, often with buildings on either side. Now throw in that these narrow trails for roads are two way! Then add in that they are very windy with a lot of ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Foix September 11th 2015

We heard a train in the distance last night and realised Tarascon is on the railway. Quick Google for SNCF and sure enough only 15 minutes to Foix. Excellent idea. Train left at 10.52 so leisurely start to the day. Then hopped onto Kisbee and scootered to the station in town. Just 7.80 Euros each return and a very comfy ride up the valley to Foix. Good choice of day to visit too. Friday is market day in Foix and lovely it was. We found the market in two places. The main market was wonderful fresh produce under an open sided market hall. I wanted to buy it all but resisted as it was hot and we had to carry anything we bought round all day. Then more stalls selling all sorts of interesting, appealing and ... read more
Foix church
Foix church square
Foix church square with market stalls

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Tarascon-sur-Ariege September 10th 2015

Woken early from my sleep by rain on the roof. Not much but enough when the swimming things were on the line and the chairs out. Put them away and was glad later when rain woke me again, really falling in earnest this time. That made decision as to what to do next easy. Travelling day. So we packed up and set off towards the mountains. Couldn't see them very well as they were under low cloud and mist but that soon started to clear and we had a rather good drive in ever increasing sunshine. Tina Tomtom was behaving very well and found some beautiful roads and only once tried to persuade us onto a dual carriageway from Foix when there was a perfectly good yellow, scenic road to follow along the river to Tarascon-sur-Ariege. ... read more
Tarascon-sur-Ariege super views from the top of the old town
Tarascon-sur-Ariege old town
Tarascon-sur-Ariege old clock tower and young Bob

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Auch September 9th 2015

Up and off by 9am as drive of well over 200 miles to get us to within spitting distance of the Pyrenees. Bypassed La Rochelle using main roads but after that used far quieter roads including bypassing Bordeaux and crossing the Dordogne. Bob had let Tina TomTom plan her own route after instructing her to keep off the main roads and she did well. OK some roads were a wee bit on the small side but most were straight, pretty empty and heading due south. We pulled into a carpark at St Emilion to have lunch as had failed to find a reasonable stopping spot by the side of the road. Of course as soon as we set off we found some lovely lunch spots including one by the river. Today we must have driven past ... read more
En route Ile de Re to the Pyrenees
Vineyards En route Ile de Re to the Pyrenees
Grapes ready for picking en route Ile de Re to the Pyrenees

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Figeac August 18th 2015

Midi Pyrenees here we come, and the best way to get there is on the Peage! Our house swap is in the village of St Pierre Toirac about 4 hours from Bordeaux; along the way we stop in Brive and have a wonderful meal at the local Hotel, La Truffe Noire, and it's a find. As always 3 courses are better than 2, and this place has first class food, presentation and service! Our hosts Giselle and Jacky are at the house to meet us and after a sharing a bottle of Rose they depart back to a village just outside of Albi where they live. The two bedroom cottage dates from the 16th century and is charming; an added bonus it has Sky TV! The situation is perfect for our 10 day stay and ... read more
A Vendre Carjac
Caroline, William and me at Petit Leon
No Thanks!

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Ariege August 1st 2015

Today was the day of sausage, cheese, life size plastic animals, discounted booze and mountains. That's probably all I need to say but I think we all need to understand how we came to be sitting on a plastic unicorn holding a giant tomato being watched by a pig and a blues brother without being stoned. After a lovely leisurely breakfast we set off up the mountains for Andorra to visit the adults playground that is their tax free shops. The low cloud on the way up made for a slightly scary drive ( in a car not Jason, he's had a nice rest today) but through a tunnel and it was bright and lovely. I couldn't tell you the town this shopping mecca was in nor could I tell you the name of the shop ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Ariege July 31st 2015

Dear Europe, I wish to make a complaint. You have no concept of a decent pillow or comfy bed and unless this changes, I'm not coming again. After Le Mans, I was hoping for a more plush more comfy room. Waking this morning I can safely say comfort was not one of the key factors of this hotel. The fact that the bed moved on wheels over the tiled floor was bad enough but couple that with the one long pillow ( who needs a pillow each??!!) the same depth as the average pancake which fell down the gap between headboard and bed created by the wandering bed and you've got a pretty rubbish combination. Stupid Europe and its stupid pillows......anyway after almost slipping over on exiting the hotel on the roof (James bond should not ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Toulouse July 4th 2015

The French really know how to throw a conference, because as we all know, it's not the information but the food everyone talks about after these things! I'm obviously being tongue-in-cheek, because the papers have been quite amazing. They do need to be, because we start each day at 8.30am and finish at 6.00pm. Lunch is a gastronomic, 90 minute affair involving foie gras, freshly cut jambon, all sorts of little blinis with prawns etc., then some sort of hot dish and salad. On the first day I thought we were done and went back to review some work, when Suzanne announced that dessert was on - a selection of wonderful petit fours including Isabel's favourite macarons, served with espresso. I would have saved a couple for her if I hadn't been sure they would be ... read more
conference violet cocktails
Dancers, Place Saint George
The gang, Chez Emile

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Toulouse July 1st 2015

Toulouse. The reason we are here! Well, after a VERY hot, largely sleepless night, Isabel and I are not feeling so thrilled about the heat. I am complaining now, despite being determined not to. We need to work out a system for shutters (close to block out noise from the road and light), windows (let in slightly cooler air but shutters need to be open for them to do that) and fan (strategically positioned to blow on both of us at the same time without being blasted in the face by hot air). It could be a very short stay if we don't work something out tonight! I know it's the worst heatwave in 80 years, but I'm feeling a little dumb today that I didn't choose somewhere to stay with air-conditioning as I really am ... read more
The Little White Train, Toulouse
Lovely olive oil shop
Pont Neuf, Toulouse

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Toulouse June 30th 2015

We were a bit sad handing over our lovely key at The Grand Hotel. It had character, like the rest of the place. In a more practical sense, it was too big and heavy to lose and it always worked! The cat who was the real boss at reception didn't want us to go either, it seemed, so it sat on our invoice until the receptionist shooed it away affectionately. There are cats everywhere in Molitg, always in the best spot to either catch the morning sun or the afternoon shade. Once again, it was a beautiful day, so we decided to stop at the market in Prades for a late breakfast and to buy some fruit to keep us going on the drive to Toulouse. Isabel spied a lovely basket and we also found a ... read more
Loved this key
The grand piano at the Grand Hotel!
Our favourite place to drink our coffee

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