Lost In Limoges

From the sheep-dotted pastures of France's underpopulated Southwest, Limoges rises in all its grey glory. The city's claim to fame: fine porcelain. The half-timbered houses of the Medieval center are surrounded by strip malls and McDo. Land-hungry Brits descend with flailing pocketbooks (thanks, RyanAir). The weather is remarkably cool year-round. Sure, I live on rue de Nice, but this is NOT the Cote d'Azur. Welcome to Limoges, "the middle of nowhere"-- or as Pierre says "everywhere"-- France.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I Love France!

Today we took the new Renault Megane Coupe on a tour around the region. In one word: gorgeous. Sun-baked fields of yellow wildflowers, herds of big, brown Limousine cattle, medieval villages clinging to the hillsides. We were totally snap-happy with the camera. Check out the pix. In Tulle, the accordion capital of France where we bought our picnic baguette, a river runs through the town and all the graceful stone bridges have flower boxes.

The medieval town of Gimel-les-Cascades (our destination) is impossibly cute. Winding alleyways, blooming cherry trees, the ancient ruins of a castle, turquoise wooden shutters, old stone houses built into the hill above waterfalls.

The inside of the church took my breath away: remnants of colorful 12th century paintings etched into the walls. And equally as old religious artifacts. Small groups of picnickers-- families, couples, tourists-- have already discovered the town in its Spring bloom. I can't even imagine what summer will bring. The streets just aren't wide enough for any more cars! For our picnic of bread, cheese, and delicious deli delights from our friend the butcher, we found a tinier town with an almost window-less Gothic church where we sat outside and discussed Catholicism in the Middle Ages. (The imposing dark vault of a church launched the conversation.) The sun was beating down and we sat in the grass and looked at the weathered gargoyles. This part of France (the Correze, not the Haute-Vienne where Limoges is located) is truly the middle of nowhere. We counted more cattle than people. And the winter must be so damn cold. I asked Pierre where on earth these folks bought their grocery supplies. He imagined whole hams stocked in their freezers.


  • At 5:45 PM, Anonymous aly p. said…

    The stone arch from your pictures instantly made me think of another vista from Europe - some of my favorites pictures from the Alhambra...I love how the architecture here frames such a beautiful view. Windows and keyholes that look onto something very different from Baltimore's inner harbor (-;

  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger MWN said…

    Aly! Thank you for checking out the blog! And I couldn't agree more. That arch is part of the ruins of the ancient chateau in Gimel, which in itself wasn't as spectacular as the view that it framed-- down the hillside to the creek and cascades. Today I am pining for yesterday's sunshine because it's pissing rain.

  • At 5:48 PM, Anonymous aly p. said…

    your blog rocks. i hardly know how to send an email let alone put together anything so fancy (-;

    i'm excited about seeing france but am v. nervous about how i'm getting there and how i'm getting about. sand and surf and food and wine will make it all worthwhile...

  • At 6:21 PM, Blogger MWN said…


    in France/Spain we will be lost, loud Americanas together! And search out only the most wonderful surf and wine spots. I can barely mumble "je ne parle pas francais" (is that right?) when the hip neighbor asked me if everything was OK today as I struggled with the door lock and the cumbersome old-fashioned keys. And then turned beet-red. I could feel my face get really hot. Will you give me some long-distance French lessons? Porfa! (oh, ooops, that's the OTHER language)


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