We leave Condom – still heroically resisting jokes about that name! – and head toward Montréal-du-Gers. The department is Gers, which is also a local river, and the traditional name for the wider region is Gascony. Just so you know.
Today starts very differently to yesterday: in a lush forest in damp weather.
A famous pilgrim bridge, the Pont d’Artigues, is closed to cars…definitely!
Photo ops were limited by weather, but I could not resist snapping this uncanny recreation of a Melbourne couple on a winter weekend at the MCG.
Everywhere you go…Collingwood supporters!
The town of Montréal is an old bastion which lost its fortifications in the revolution. It was founded by a brother of Saint-Louis, who gave it a name to honour the Capetian dynasty. The saint never – not ever! – missed an opportunity for some PR.
Without being striking, the town is comfy-quaint.
The weather being bad and time limited, I didn’t get to check out the ruins of the old Roman villa. But I lingered in its arcade, which is in the broad, low-slung style I’d seen before at Lauzerte and elsewhere. I find the architectural style – and the living that comes with it – delectable. Kind of cloister-related.
I stayed in a rough relais at the base of the town, after a warning not to go there. In fact, the old place was very agreeable, a combo truck-stop and pilgrim hotel.
At a large table of French and Swiss pilgrims, I distinguished myself by my short étapes and slow walking – naturellement – but also by pouring crème anglaise on my salad, in the belief that it was a substantial vinaigrette or sloppy mayonnaise. I was quick to cover my tracks by explaining it was an old Aussie way of eating salad.
Actually, I think that may have been the truth. Brrr.