The Biles Europe Holiday travel blog


1st May 2012:

Tuesday, holiday time in France

Arrangements have been made for a drive to Montauban, a city (approx 50,000 people) to the north west of Toulouse.  Alexandra has a friend, Mireal, who lives in Montauban who is keen to show foreigners around her town.  We are to meet Mireal in the town plaza after lunch.  Dianne, a close friend of Donna's, Kev's friend in northern NSW, has arrived in Toulouse and Kev is keen to show her the sights as well, so we have 7 people traveling out for the day.  We do a little sightseeing of the town before enjoying lunch and when Mireal arrives we head off for a guided tour.  There is a walking circuit that we take that highlights the major historical sites of the town.  Tourists are assisted by plaques explaining the significance of the landmarks.  One of these is the Church of Saint Jacque, the oldest building in Montauban.  It was erected in 1230 and they say there are scars of cannonball damage on the bell tower from the invasion of Montauban by Louis 13th in The 18th century.

there is of course the Oldest Bridge which appears to be an overpass as cars drive under it.  However,  Mireal tells us that in actual fact the water flows under ground.  One of the most impressive sights is the Cathedral of Notre Dame, built of stone occupying the highest point in town and symbolic of the power weilded by the Catholics at that time, 1739.  Yannick wants to meet up with another friend so off we go.

A short drive later we arrive at Bruniquel (a medieval town containing the Chateaux de Bruniquel).  Yannick's friend meets us at the castle.  He seems as interested in photography as Yannick is.  3 Euros each later we are taking a tour of the chateaux (a listed historic monument).  The visit includes several architectural aspects from different eras:  the 12th century tower called Queen Brunehaut's Tower, the 13th century knights hall decorated with twin windows, and the renaissance style balcony overlooking the cliffs from a height of 90 metres, giving a fantastic panoramic view over the Aveyron valley.  The castles have two permanent exhibits: one about the making of the film "Le Vieux Fusillade", and the other about Prehistory.

Later we all decide to have a refreshing drink before heading back to Toulouse.  My drink was a Leffe Triple, a beer with an alcoholic content of 8.6 percent.  Tasted pretty good.

The trip home was a little slow and by the time we had eaten it was about 9pm and sun was just going down.  No wonder the French have a 2 hour break for lunch it is very easy to find yourself up late here.

A wonderful day with our new French friends. Tomorrow we are off on our Northern France adventure with Lester and Roz which will last a week.



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