Thursday, September 2, 2010

Puy Laurens, Vaux and St. Felix Lauragais

I took 428 pictures yesterday. I am a little shocked at this number and at the same time, not overly surprised, as everywhere we went, there was something that needed to be photographed.

After a quick visit to the church in Durfort, with its beautiful mosaic ceiling and unique stained glass windows, we headed off to Puy Laurens to visit the Wednesday morning market there, hoping to pick up some fresh groceries. Tragically, we were in two cars and almost immediately lost the car following us when we turned right to visit an antique shop on the way and they didn't see us turn and went straight instead. Several attempts with the cell phone were unsuccessful and the antique shop was closed anyway, so we headed on to our original destination, hoping to find them there. Instead, we got a call from the husband of one of the ladies, saying she had called him in the U.S. to ask him to contact us to say they would do their own thing and we'd meet back up at La Cascade later. Not exactly the most efficient way to communicate but it worked (thanks, Tim!).

Meryl and Dawn went on to have a lovely day in Lautrec, birthplace of the famous painter Toulouse Lautrec while Kate, Doriot and I travelled to Puy Laurens where the market turned out to be more like a junky flea market back home than the fresh produce supplier we were hoping for. Nevertheless, Doriot found herself a sexy pair of Italian shoes (the one on her left foot in the photo) and there were lots of things to photograph in the town itself and a vast view of the surrounding countryside from this elevated location. The cemetery (where we were amused to find the Lattes family buried next to the Banquet ancestors) had a particularly lovely view over the valley. We had lunch in an unassuming hotel just off the square. The special was cassoulet which was okay but not comparable to Gigi's from Soreze.

After lunch, we headed off to visit Vaux (or possibly Le Vaux, we saw signs with both names), the little town with the bell tower that I remember so fondly from my last trip. My companions were not disappointed by this destination, nor was I in seeing it for the second time. It was just an enchanting as before, if not more so, as we ended up circling the entire town and discovered the moat that goes with the medieval structure!

Our last official stop was the village of St. Felix Lauragais, which was incredible. We visited the 14th centure church first, and it was so beautiful inside that when I walked in the door, the first words out of my mouth were, "Holy Mother of God!", it was just so incredible. My photos don't do it justice but Kate posted a fabulous shot on her blog which I am reproducing here so you can get an idea of what I mean.

We then walked around the rest of the town, which includes a castle that is even older than the church and privately owned, as well as a lookout point from which we could see for miles and miles. We had a cold drink in the town square and photographed dozens of subjects - gargoyles, doorknockers, window shutters, local cats, a cross with a rooster on the top, scenic views, medieval buildings - can you see how it might add up to 428 shots by the end of the day?? (I will share more photos of Vaux and St. Felix at a later time, as they deserve to be the subject of a post all on their own, they were each so fantabulous.)

A quick stop in Soreze on the way home was long enough to pick up some fresh bread, lettuce and dessert and sit outside the Cave owned by Gigi's son consuming a cold beer, as we'd seen the locals doing on several occasions, before heading back to La Cascade and another delicious meal.

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