Tag Archives: Midi-Pyrénées

The unanticipated side effects of a picnic at Pont Valentré, Cahors

Want to visit a unique city nestled inside a bend in a river, an authentic and non-touristy town with highly-cultivated gastronomy? Yes?  Then Cahors is for you. But wait until you get a look at this bridge—now you’re sold, aren’t you? The Southwestern region of France is teeming with medievalist catnip, and Cahors’ Pont Valentré is […]

A day at Cathédrale Ste-Marie in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges followed by a night of flocked velvet wallpaper

Cathédrale Ste-Marie is a pilgrim magnet.  Once you catch sight of this Romanesque-Gothic beauty at the foot of the Pyrenees in the village of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges you are inevitably  pulled in by it’s compelling attraction. Don’t you want to come closer? Unlike the scenery, the weather during our visit to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges was less than idyllic.  Not to put […]

Saint-Just Basilica in Valcabrère, recycled Roman ruins, no cheese shops

Saint-Just Basilica is cozily nestled in the tiny village of Valcabrère, population 164, in the Haute-Garonne department of Southwest France.  This small Romanesque church built in 11th -12th centuries is handsomely proportioned, with well-preserved portal sculptures.  As if the setting wasn’t picturesque enough, what with the red chickens clucking about, antique barns and strategically placed […]

You’ll all be relieved to know my right boob did not set off the metal detector at airport security and we are now walking around the Pyrénées chasing St. James

We made it to Toulouse drama free, well, drama free except for my usual fear of flying and a new-found concern that my boob would set off security alarms.  I recently had two titanium chips implanted in my breast during a biopsy of a suspicious lump….and I’m happy to report that not only was the […]

Figeac: the genius of Champollion and the body odor of Jacques

Figeac, a well-preserved medieval town in Southwest France, is a scenic stop on The Way of St. James (Jacques) Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail.  Our personal pilgrimage was meant to pay homage to hometown hero Jean-François Champollion, though we unintentionally found ourselves in rather intimate proximity to a distant relative of St. Jacques (more on that later). Jean-François Champollion, […]

Saint Sernin Basilica, Toulouse: Romanesque enchantment (just ignore the parking lot)

By now you know that I feel all warm in my ladyparts just thinking about Romanesque art and architecture, most especially French Romanesque.  The juiciest of all French Romanesque buildings are the pilgrimage churches, and Saint Sernin is a delightful representation of a French Romanesque pilgrimage church, complete with stunning well-preserved stone carvings, medieval frescos, capital carvings, an […]