We got off the train at Lourdes. Lourdes of course is the place where it is believed the Virgin Mary appeared to a 14 year old St Bernadette in the 1940s and has been on the Catholic pilgrim’s route ever since. It certainly cannot do us any harm to dip our fingers in the holy water and ask for our own miracle.
The entrance and passage to the “grotto” is lined with abandoned wheelchairs and crutches and prostheses as a witness to the miraculous cures people have experienced. I turn off my Ipod as somehow Ricky Valence’s “La Bamba” seems rather blasphemous;) a quick skip ahead to Andrea Bocelli’s Ave Maria is much more fitting.
My friend MF and her two daughters meet our train at Toulouse. We immediately set off to visit Toulouse from the City hall built in 1500 to two incredible churches. “L’Eglise de l’Adora” and another which the name escapes me but is known for the “The Black Virgin” as the depiction of the Virgin Mary is black mostly due to the dark-colored wood. These churches are of an incredible beauty and we take many photos.
From there we go to an exhibition on Antoine de St Exupery who wrote The Little Prince and Night Flight followed by lunch in a Creperie. I abandon my habitual Rosee wine for a delicious Apple Cider from the region.
After lunch we go for a cruise on the Garotte ; a canal and locks system that leads to both the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Atlantic Ocean. We stop for a coffee at the “O Quebec” restaurant. Very funny and “bang on”. The waiters wear plaid shirts, the decor is moose and canoes and the like and the menu has Moosehead beer and poutine 🙂
MF and her husband own a small hotel (52 rooms) called “Fast Hotel” and fashioned after the motels of North America. Very cozy, very family oriented. They have a canine ambassador, a yellow lab named Balou. We fall in love with him and he escorts us all the way to our 2nd floor room. After a family style dinner with MF and her family and some wine of course! We settle down for the night.
Now I am gifted with home-made foie gras, home-made pate and candied violet petals which is the flower of Toulouse. My suitcase is growing still.
We travel 8 hours on the train from Toulouse to Nice and back on to Monte Carlo. We arrive at our hotel at 4pm, go immediately to the roof top pool until 6pm to soak up some final Monaco sun rays.
We have dinner in the restaurant overlooking the Riviera and go for a final stroll.
We sit on the balcony of our room watching the sunset and go to bed early for our 4;45am departure from hotel.
Au revoir Monte Carlo! ;),,,,,Au revoir French Food, French Riviera and French Hospitality! kiss kiss on each cheek!
Hello beautiful moments with my daughter and good friends, hello swollen liver:) hello memories of a life time.
Thanks for coming along with me my readers…..