Did I mention we’d crossed the Garonne before the ascent to Auvillar? Looking toward Agen – where prunes grow and where little Sainte-Foy was martyred – and the confluence of the Tarn and Garonne, one can see the Golfech nuclear reactors. They’re big!
I’m told the main limitation is the water temperature of the river. Once it gets too high in summer the plants close and electricity is purchased from somewhere like the UK. Seawater reactors don’t have the problem.
Now, a morning descent from Auvillar, pretty on all sides.
Along the road, on old mill.
A coffee in Saint-Antoine village, with its richly painted church.
Some of the paint is original, much is restoration. Think I prefer the bold and gooey look to the “wallpaper” effect in Moissac.
At the cafe where I shared a coffee with an Alsatian pilgrim the owner was starting to cook sweet peppers on an open air plancha. That’s right! We’re half way to Spain now.
At Flamarens, a ruined church that will probably keep gaping to the heavens for funding in aeternitate. Well, the odd total ruin is not unwelcome to the eye. Time was, wealthy young poms on the Grand Tour wouldn’t look at anything else.
Parts of the Gers region are called Little Tuscany. Sometimes the resemblance is amazing.
And staying that night in Miradoux, an airy little town, all stone and even smelling of stone, might have got me thinking of San-Something on its Tuscan outcrop.
But this is not the land of wild boar and porcini. The Gers is very gastronomic, but the cornerstones of its cuisine are duck and goose.
As I sat on my little upper verandah eating something far more modest than foie gras and stuffed gooseneck, two French tourists looked up and asked me for directions to the château. I hadn’t been able to find it either, so I shrugged and suggested that Richelieu had probably demolished it. They didn’t doubt me for an instant.
Whenever a castle or local liberty goes missing in regional France, just blame that mean cardinal!