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Porsche-Pette takes a road trip to SW France - June

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D was invited to speak at the Aviation University in Toulouse France, about nine hours southwest of Brussels.  How should we get there?  Plane, train, or automobile?  We decided car.   

 This area of France is known for great wines, gourmet food {truffles, duck, goose and D's favorite foie gras}, castles, and stunning countryside with century-old stone farm homes.  For those keeping track, gas was $10 per gallon.

While in Toulouse we stayed at a beautiful B&B, La Pradasse (http://www.lapradasse.com/en/presentation.php).  It was an old farm house.  The B&B part was the former open barn.  The couple refinished it themselves - the husband is an artist.


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They had the most beautiful iron work throughout the interior and exterior of house.  All the windows and doors you see were done by him.  She told me she wanted a husband like mine, who could take her to all the fun places we travel.  I told her I wanted a husband like hers - a french artist! 

NO!  I would not trade my Poopie for anyone!


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Cheers - a celebration after Donald's hard day at work.  The presentation was a success.....they invited him back next year.

Img_7219 Notable experience in Toulouse:  I had a scoop of violet ice cream and a scoop of fig ice cream.  Two very unusual flavors.  D had apple crumble and speculoos.  All were Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately we did not have the delightful weather that we had when D&D visited us earlier in the month.  But we still managed to squeeze in a few days with the top down.  Here is one for you George...how did D take THIS photo???!


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The poppies are in bloom throughout France.  I was not able to capture a good field shot, but here is a close up.  They are considered a weed, but I think they are absolutely beautiful.


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Our second stop was the Dordogne or Perigord Region - home to the prehistoric man.  Rocamadour, shown here, is a magical town with golden houses clinging to the side of a cliff over the Alzou canyon. 


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We did not stay inside the town, but selected a "restaurant with rooms" nearby. Img_7431

This region is very well known for its gourmet restaurants, many offer rooms for rent.  The room is usually quite sparse, but the concept is - you are there for the food.  Dinner was delicious with a beautiful presentation.  Donald ate the best lamb he has ever had. This photo was taken out front of our hotel in the early morning fog. 

I think the highlight of the trip for me (after the fig ice cream) was our visit to the Padirac Chasm or the Gouffre de Padirac Caves.  Wow.  Img_7426 WOW!  We were only allowed to take photos at the entrance and I cold not find a website that showed the inside.  The silver structure on the right are the stairs and this is only the half-way point!  You descend 350 feet and then take a boat ride through the caves to get to the main part where the vaulted ceiling rises up 300 feet high.  The boat ride on the underground river through the cavern was something we will never forget.

Another famous cavern in the Dordogne region is the Lascaux Cave where the world's oldest prehistoric cave drawings were found, dating back 16,000 years.  Unfortunately it is now closed to the public.

Our last stop was Rouen where we stayed in a very elegant B&B home built in 1850, Le Clos Jouvenet

(www.leclosjouvenet.com).  Img_7439_2

It had the most spectacular bathroom view (and yes we mean toilet view) we have ever had.  I also really enjoyed her breakfast which was served on the back porch.....fresh orange juice, croissants, yogurt, fruit - all beautifully displayed.

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Rouen is famous for many things.  But two we found of interest were:  Joan of Arc's trial (and burning) and Monet's famous paintings of the cathedral.

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen on May 30, 1431.  She was a 15th century virgin saint and national heroine of France. At the young age of 16, Joan led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War.  She was captured by the English and tried by a court; the court convicted her of heresy and she was burned at the stake by the English when she was nineteen years old. Twenty-four years later, the Holy See reviewed the decision of the ecclesiastical court, found her innocent, and declared her a martyr.

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The Rouen Cathedral:  Between 1892 and 1894, the French Impressionist Claude Monet produced 30 oil paintings of the main facade. Fascinated by the play of light and atmosphere he painted the cathedral at different times of day, from slightly different angles, and in varied weather conditions. Each painting offers a glimpse into a narrow slice of time and mood.  These are very famous paintings.  I am sure you will recognize them as shown on this site:

http://artandcritique.com/2007/09/27/claude-monet-the-rouen-cathedral-series/

Building_2_2 Another interesting building in Rouen was the Palace of Justice which had visible destruction from WWII.  During the war, the Nazis used the building as a prison for captured French resistance fighters.   When the Americans were liberating Rouen, the palace was one of the last holdouts for the Nazis.   The bullet marks cover the entire building and make for a very moving scene.

From Rouen back home was only a three hour drive.  We will definitely go back soon.

And we leave you with a few artsy - colorful shots of our journey through Southwest France.  Enjoy!


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