Well we arrived safe and sound in Paris after a very, very long flight……always a chore…hate the long flight but lounge access does help! Straight out of the plane at 8.30pm to hire car company and drove 40km out of Paris for a head start for Saturday am, 540klm drive down south to Puy-en-Velay…..six and a half hours later arrived in this very spectacular town and our lovely hotel The Dyke Hotel run by a young French couple and they were so, so friendly and gave us lots of advice about the town….right on the edge of the old town. Spent the afternoon walking the town with a visit to the Rocher St Michel D’Aiguilhe (the rock of St Michael)…big walk up 288 steps to the top of it….well worth it for the wonderful view. Then walk to the Cathedral and a few bars along the way….temp is 29 here today….not humid but very warm especially when walking. So glad we planned to stay here….just spending a few days heading south to meet up with Blake and Suzy for their 60th birthday celebrations…which we are so excited about. Tried to pick a few places off the beaten track enroute to Chateau
Haut Gleon for the birthdays. Have to say Puy-en-Velay was so worth the visit….very unique…famous for the St Michael Chapel but also for puy lentils which I have used at home. Escaped the tourist type area and found a bar down a side street and enjoyed a couple of drinks and talk with the Algerian owner who found us somewhere to eat….I had picked two restaurants but both booked out…being a weekend very popular place for French people. Sunday we were up early and starting heading down to the moutainous area of the Gorges du Tarn, two and half hours, what a spectacular area this is….John commented he did not realise that France had such beauty….well that is saying something…it was just gorgeous and we stayed in the tiny village of Les Vignes in Hotel Le Parisien, built in early 1900s by a brothel owner from Paris, then bought by the current owners and renovated in 2014, very unique and so beautiful, all our bedrooms overlooked the Gorges du Tarn and had a cool breeze blowing through our windows and the pattering of rain in the early morning…as Lara said she could spend a week here….too right it is just
so lovely. Lots of campers and weekenders here enjoying the river canoeing, eating and drinking…we all loved this spot…… highly recommend! We had gorgeous dinner of trout and duck, charcuterie and cream brulee….local produce and all stunning….simple but done well!
Monday off from Les Vignes to get to Capestang on the Canal du Midi for three nights…enroute took a slight detour to visit the cheese caves in Roquefort…you learn things every day…very interesting tour which took us down to the bowers of the making of cheese….Mark thought he would spew but survived the experience but declined the tasting! Very sleepy town not much else going for it other than the blue cheese making. Never realised they make the penicillin for the cheese from loaves of rye bread which are cooked at high temp, burnt on outside and raw inside and left till they are mouldy. (around 90 days). Absolutely stunning drive down to here…. passing of one of the worlds top 10 bridges…Viaduc de Millau, designed and built by both French and English, an engineering feet, what an imposing sight that was……thats why we like to hire a car and do our thing! Arrived in the cutie little village
of Capestang around 2.30pm to our AirBNB ‘Our little French House’, 500 year old house, 3 storeys up and down stairs I have lost count, within 50 metres of the town square in a tiny little lane…car is parked 100mts away in public carpark, very close to the Canal du Midi. Straight to the town square for a couple of beers and scope the area.
Had a great meal at the Italian place on the town square…with some lovely local wine. Tuesday we had a lovely walk around the town…spending a lot of time walking along the Canal du Midi watching all the boaties come and go…reminding of us when Lara and Ballarat Base Hospital friends did this in 2016. Capestang is a very old village but has all the essentials….supermarket, bakery, deli, bars and restaurants..some magnificent homes around town…quite grand really but with big vege gardens in the front yard……that night we cooked at our house and ate on the rooftop terrace looking across all the roofs on the surrounding houses across to the local church…so lucky to find this cute little house. Wednesday up early and up to the village square market….magnificent market…with seafood, cheese and charcuterie,
butcher, fresh veges, clothes etc we loved it. Then met Tim and Deb at Colombiers on their way down to the chateau as Blake and Suzy not arriving til the evening…so we joined together for a canal cruise with lunch down the Canal du Midi….was fabulous to catch up after three years….though it was touch and go as the boat had to have a sudden repair on the fuel pump…but nothing a chat and couple of drinks doesn’t fix…and away we went! Guide was fantastic spoke to all guest in French and then came to our table and explained everything in perfect English! Fabulous lunch with lots of choices and then it was goodbye to Tim and Deb til tomorrow.
by John and Gloria love to travel from https://www.travelblog.org