Vacances en France – 2018 – Arrival


After the dampness we encountered at Entraygues on Wednesday, Thursday started really wet and soggy. Even the cattle were looking a bit depressed by the damp.
Cow
The altitude of the gite meant that we were truly up in the clouds, with visibility changing from just a few metres, up to a kilometre and back down again. And all in the space of a few minutes.
Cow2
Given the inclement weather and with friends flying in on Friday, we thought we would take the opportunity to do a proper shop for supplies. So, we decided to head into Aurillac, and find a large supermarket.

Shopping is definitely not my thing, but I struggled manfully round the local Intermarché , the trolley laden down with essentials such as Prosecco, Beer, Fromage and assorted Charcuterie. We did also get some salad stuff and veggies as well as some coffee mugs.

You might ask why we were buying items that should have been provided as part of our rental. And you would be right, there are cups supplied. However, the ones provided were of the Pyrex glass variety and not very big. I think the French like to start their day with strong coffee, served in small quantities. Being British, we like a nice big mug of tea to start the day.

Two weeks later, when we left the gite, we donated the “large” mugs for the use of future residents.

Friday dawned, and the weather had done a 180 and the sun was shining again. A beautiful day, just perfect to welcome our imminent visitors. We had a slow start to the day, before clambering into the car and heading up to Aéroport de Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne at Aulnat.

Arrival3

Massiac – Chapelle Sainte-Madeleine

The run up to the airport took about two hours and we arrived early.

Arrival

Aéroport de Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne – What a fabulous monument to flying.

The preceding photo shows a memorial for the Breguet Bre.4   From Wikipedia ….

The Breguet Bre.4, also known variously as the Type IVand BUM, was a French biplane bomber of World War I. A fighter version of it was also produced as the BUC and BLC; some of these saw service with the British Royal Navy, which called them ‘the Breguet ‘de Chasse.

We made good use of the extra time by making use of the airports free WiFi. The alleged WiFi at the gite is actually non-existent, which is why I am making these posts after our holiday has passed. Lack of WiFi also meant that we could not download Kindle books or synchronise our phones and tablets. Mobile phone signals were also virtually non existent. My phone would register full signal strength, cycle through “E”, “3G” and “4G” to no signal. All within the space of a few seconds. So use of mobile data was pretty much a non-event.

Needless to say our friends flight was delayed, then the baggage was also delayed, eventually making an appearance on the carousel.  We loaded up the car and headed back south towards the gite. Lunch was mentioned and we made a small detour having seen a Buffalo Grill alongside the motorway. Unfortunately, our human navigation skills, further confounded by the satnag, led us round in circles and back onto the motorway, just as we saw the entrance to the eatery. We decided not to deviate again and carried on our way to the gite.

This did not deter us from playing tourist and stopping to take in the views.


We were soon at the gite and relaxing with a glorious cup of cha. Once again enjoying the long view from the lawn. Then, while our friends unpacked, we prepared our evening meal.

A long day for all was brought to an end puntuated witha glass of something alcoholic.

Limousin, France – Day 9


Day 9 turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. One of our happy band of travellers wanted to send an email a family member based in the US. The email had been written but, due to the fact that the gite was pretty much a dead zone for wifi and mobile technology, we decided to take a trip to MacDonalds.  Normally you couldn’t get me to within a mile of one of their establishments. Leastways not without a lot of wailing, gnashing of teeth and not an insignificant amount of kicking and screaming.It’s not that i don’t like burgers, it’s more that I don’t like the way they are served to you. Wrapped or boxed and slowly going soggy in their own steam. Best commercial burger I ever had was from Fuddruckers in Austin, Texas. fuddAnyway, I digress.

So we trundled off to our nearest McDonalds as they have free WiFi and so that we didn’t feel guilty we actually sat inside and purchased coffee. However, the coffee was as awful as I remember and so was the WiFi coverage. The laptop containing the email could not even see the McDonalds WiFi and would not connect. My Blackberry could see the “see” McDonalds WiFi but also would not connect.  My wife had her iPad with her and that could “see” and connect to McDonalds WiFi. Isn’t technology wonderful. Three devices but no way to get the data onto the device that could talk to the outside world. In the end, after nearly an hour, it was decided that when we returned to the gite, the email would be transcribed to the iPad and then we would make another foray to McDonalds.RONALD MCDONALD

So our slightly subdued band of travellers headed off for their second visit to Limoges. There are lots of things to see in Limoges. One of the things I like about France in general is that they don’t just leave blank walls on buildings. They don’t leave them to crumble or fall foul to the vandal graffiti artist.  I don’t have anything against graffiti in general, just the mindless desecration perpetrated by those who just leave their name or a pretty poor caricature of a penis. In fact I see some graffiti as a perfectly valid and useful art form. In France they turn blank walls into  huge canvasses to provide street scenes, country views or truly humorous cartoons.

Église Saint Michel Des Lions, Limoges, Limousin, France

Église Saint Michel Des Lions, Limoges, Limousin, France

Here in Limoges, with the Église Saint Michel Des Lions as a back drop, the end of  a building has been painted not only to extend the street view but also to provide one with a voyeuristic insight on what may be going on behind closed, or in this case open, shutters.

The Voyeurs View - Limoges, France

The Voyeurs View – Limoges, France

Everywhere you walk in Limoges there are reminders of the past.

Limoges, France

Limoges, France

With differing architectural styles jostling for attention.

Limoges, France

Limoges, France

It is with that in mind that we have chosen to explore one of the most famous areas of Limoges, the Quartier de la Boucherie, the Butchers Quarter. In the 14th century this district was inhabited by families belonging to the brotherhood of the butchers and many of the original half-timbered buildings remain. Although few, if any, have the same purpose as you can see in the next picture….

Hot Rocks Boutique - Limoges, France

Hot Rocks Boutique – Limoges, France

The old doorways give evidence to our ancestors diminutive height and at times the old buildings seem to resemble a jumbled stack of packing cases …

Quartier de la Boucherie - Limoges, France

Quartier de la Boucherie – Limoges, France

Every now and then as we explored we would stumble across a real gem.

CHAPELLE SAINT-AURÉLIEN

Chapelle Saint-Aurelien – Limoges, France

 

Chapelle Saint-Aurelien - Limoges, France

Chapelle Saint-Aurelien – Limoges, France

On almost every street there is something to draw your attention…

street_detail

Limoges, France

Be it old, ancient ……

street_detail2

Just Chillin’, Rue du Canal – Limoges, France

….. or modern …

street_detail3

Mask – Limoges, France

Walking the lanes of  the “Quartier de la Boucherie” made us a tad peckish so we took lunch on a terrace overlooking the Central Market building.

Central Market - Limoges, France

Central Market – Limoges, France

The market, built-in the 19th century, was designed using a mix of materials, including iron, glass and ceramics. The result is this beautiful building with Eiffel-inspired architecture (or so I read somewhere). Just round the corner from here is Place Saint Michel, a pleasant square adjacent to the church.

Église Saint Michel Des Lions - Limoges, France

Église Saint Michel Des Lions – Limoges, France

Place Saint Michel as well as providing access to the church has a number of shops and cafe’s. Of immediate interest was the Belgian chocolate shop.

Place Saint Michel - Limoges, France

Place Saint Michel – Limoges, France

However, we all agreed that we could each of spent several hundreds of Euros in “Comptoir Famille”. This establishment sells some very stylish items for the home. It is a good job that our vehicle was stuffed to the gunnels on our journey into France and wasn’t getting any lighter during our stay and i was rather taken with a rustic wooden storage / display unit.

So we dragged ourselves away from the delights of Place Saint Michel and headed over to Limoges Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges), an impressive gothic building started in 1273 and only finished in 1888 when the nave was connected to the bell tower.

cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges – Limoge, France

Makes you wonder why the bell tower was not built as an integral part of the main building. There is much to see inside the cathedral. The following photo shows an ornate gallery. Sadly all of the statues have been damaged, their heads are missing.

Detail inside Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges - Limoges, France

Detail inside Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges – Limoges, France

Detail inside Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges – Limoges, France

Detail inside Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges – Limoges, France

Detail inside Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges - Limoges, France

Detail inside Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges – Limoges, France

Detail inside Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges - Limoges, France

Musée municipal de l’Evêché & Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges – Limoges, France

There are some beautiful gardens in the cathedral grounds….

Cathedral Gardens - Limoges, France

Cathedral Gardens – Limoges, France

Cathedral Gardens - Limoges, France

Cathedral Gardens – Limoges, France

Limoges is also home to the Musee de la Resistance which is just a short walk from the cathedral. As with Oradour, I found walking through this museum quite moving.  The exhibits set the part played by the people of Limoges into the proper war-time context.  Great focus is always given to the capital cities such as Paris .This museum puts the records straight. And again, as with Oradour, I found myself leaving the museum with an underlying feeling of anger towards the politicians who took all of europe and most of the world to war.

By the time we left the museum it was time to look for a place to eat. Our day was completed by a really nice meal provided by Restaurant “La Maison des Saveurs”