Lacabraede to Collioure

It was still raining when we woke up this morning. We found a boulangerie near our hotel and had coffee and pastries.

The Boulanger where we ate breakfast

We drove south almost to the Spanish border to the lovely seaside town of Collioure. Duke and I have been here before and loved it. Before we checked into the hotel we browsed in the bustling market next to the hotel. We bought and shared some brioche. The apple brioche was wonderful. It was full of crispy tasty apples

The breads looked fantastic.
Duke eating his apple brioche.

I’ve got the cold that Duke had a few days ago. So after we checked in I took a nap and Duke, Roger and Gayle explored Collioure. Then they played cards in the courtyard outside our room.

This is the courtyard at Hotel La Casa Pairal where we are staying.

We had dinner in a small little restaurant near our hotel, El Capillo. We talked to the chef and his wife who waited on us. There was great music in the background and it was a wonderful meal.

El Capillo where we ate dinner
At dinner. That’s the chef in the background.
My lamb
Really refreshing and tasty amuse bouche. A mixture of Rrspberry juice, beet juice, milk and lemon juice

Carcassonne to Lacabraede

When we went looking for a breakfast spot this morning we first walked over the bridge towards the old town. When we couldn’t find anything open we went back across the river and found a little place in the newer town center. The owner pushed some tables together for us and we had our chocolate croissants and coffee.


Our car was parked in the municipal garage under the main square, quite close to the hotel. Although it was lightly raining it wasn’t far and we decided to walk to the car after we checked out. But as we started to walk the skies opened up and it poured! We waited under an awning for a few minutes until the rain lightened up a bit and then we made a run for it. With the heat turned on we dried relatively quickly.

Packing the car after our run through the rain.

Today was a short drive through the French countryside. As many of you know we love to stop at Roman bridges. So when we saw a sign today of course we stopped.

Roman Bridge sign
Those Romans knew how to build bridges
Duke on the bridge

The rest of our drive was on a scenic, windy mountain road through the Montagne Noire in the rain. Eventually we arrived at the restored 19th century mansion, Demeure de Flore where we are tonight. We had a relaxing afternoon resting and playing cards and the the owner/ chef prepared us a delicious dinner.

My veal stake on leaks

Palaminy to Carcassonne

The French people we have met have been very nice and friendly. We have had several great people experiences today. We had a lovely breakfast at Les Pesques, the Chambres d’hôtes we stayed at last night. We had a very nice conversation with our hostess about learning languages. She was incredibly helpful during our stay.


After leaving Les Pesques we decided to do laundry at the place next to the kiosk where we bought our pizzas last night.

First we went to the nearby grocery store and bought food for a picnic lunch. French grocery stores are so much fun to browse in. The vegetables made me want to buy some and start cooking.

Leeks and cabbage I think
Chocolate, bread, wine and cheese. What more do you need?!

While the laundry was running we walked to the post office. On the way an older French gentleman who was trying to use a vending machine asked us for change. When we started to explain that we weren’t from there he said oh! vous êtes américain! We had a nice conversation in French. As we parted ways he said Viva les États Unis! And we said Viva la France!

Duke starting the laundry
About half way to our destination we stopped for a picnic

I think I always forget to pack something. This time I left my thyroid medication at home. Today we stopped at a pharmacy. The pharmacist said she didn’t speak much English but I was able to explain using my limited French exactly what I needed and she sold me 2 boxes of 30 pills. She was so nice and it was so easy.

The pharmacy
Tonight we are in Carcassone. This is the view from the window of our room.

We walked across that bridge into the center of the old town for dinner.

This is the salad with goat cheese sandwiches that I started with
Then I had cassoulet
And finally a brownie

When we left the hotel it was raining quite hard. We had a bit of difficulty find our way out of the old town and back down the hill. At one point I called out to two guys ahead of us “Excusez-moi, où est la sortie de la ville?” They stopped and gave us directions. The way we went wasn’t well lit so we used our phone flashlights and were very careful on the wet cobblestones.

The well lit flat part of the walk
We made it!

Bielsa, Spain to Palaminy, France

This morning we woke up to beautiful blue skies outside our window.

The Parador in Bielsa is surrounding by snow capped peaks and waterfalls.

We knew we wouldn’t be able to check in to our Chambre d’Hôtes for tonight until 4pm so we didn’t leave Bielsa until noon. Near Bielsa we stopped next to a dam and reservoir.

You can see Duke on the dam here.

Duke and Roger met a shepherd and his dog Luna and had a nice conversation.

Here you can see the shepherd, Luna and the sheep.

We headed north into France, stopping often to enjoy the sites and to make sure we didn’t arrive at Palaminy before 4.

A chateau we saw along our route.

We arrived almost exactly at 4. We weren’t sure if we were in the right place because there weren’t any signs and no one was home. But at about 4:10 a couple of cars pulled in. The owner apologized for being late and told us they had been out picking daffodils for our rooms.

Chambres d’hôtes Les Pesques – the 250 year old farm house where we are staying

When we asked about dinner she checked nearby restaurants but couldn’t find a restaurant that was open Sunday night. Eventually we agreed that she would call and order pizzas that we chose from her favorite pizza place. We went and picked up the pizzas and a bottle of wine. Our hostess provided plates, knives, forks and wine glasses and we had a feast in our room.

Picking up the pizza.

Donostia / San Sebastián, Spain to Bordeaux, France

We are in France! This morning we walked to the train station in Donostia / San Sebastián. We caught a local train to just over the French Spanish border. It took about 45 minutes.

Local train to the French Spanish border

In Hendaye, France we had coffee and croissants. And I got to use my rusty French. I love croissants!

French breakfast

From the border we got on an intercity TGV train to Bordeaux. That ride took 2 1/2 hours.

TGV train to Bordeaux

We were in Bordeaux last Fall. I really like Bordeaux. We walked to our hotel. There were a lot of people n the streets.

This is Porte Cailhau. We passed on the walk to our hotel.
The streets were full of people

For dinner we went back to a restaurant we ate at last time we were in Bordeaux. Bistro Réno was as wonderful this time as it was last time. The ambiance is so French, the people are so friendly and the food was divine. I think it was one of the best meal of our trip.

At Bistro Réno
We started with Foie Gras.
Then I had beef fillet
And Duke had Beef Parmentier which is sort of a beef hash topped with mashed potatoes
For desert we shared this cake and ice cream