21 June 2021

A Paris escape #2


 With lockdowns lifted as well as spirits, getting out and away is uppermost in many minds. 

June is one of our preferred months to travel as the weather can be summery with still cool evenings. And it's an ideal time to avoid the crowded seacoasts of July and August.

Last year's confinement and travel restrictions had slowed all travel to a grinding halt. But now that it's over, we decided to take a road trip that would embrace three beloved regions: Aubrac, to visit visit with friends and revisit favorite sites, the beautiful Quercy to the southwest, and finally, the last leg of our trip would finish in the Pays Basque - the French, not Spanish, side - where we'd planned to meet up with friends from Paris in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Perfect.

But it was not meant to be. Somewhere between the high plateaus of the Aubrac and the medieval clifftop village of Rocamadour we realized that a searing heatwave loomed over much of the country, especially the Basque part of our trip, and quickly tweaked our itinerary.

Instead, we'd spend the last few days in the Cantal, a fairytale region of cool forests, waterfalls, lakes, grottos and volcanic mountains formed 13 million years ago (and dormant for 12,000) - an easy drive from Quercy. There would be hiking, biking, villages and village markets and, mais bien sûr, Auvergne's rich cuisine: foie gras, duck confit, walnuts, truffles, charcuteries and some of France's most beloved cheeses, notably Saint-Nectaire and Bleu d'Auvergne. - BPJ

 Above: sunsets along the Camino de Santiago in the Aubrac

Below: first night au coin du feu* - to start, a tureen of creamy celeriac soup w/shredded confit de canard; Aubrac beef w/cheesy aligot; dessert (not shown), pears poached in red wine w/vanilla bean ice cream maison and sauce caramel
* hotel restaurant

(click photos to enlarge)
To My Father


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