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.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Limoges vs. Biarritz

A certain seaside resort town, crawling with the rich and fashionable (and squads of drunk youth), where a medium coke will set you back EUR 7,90, dark clouds hover and the sun fails to show, the surf championships are hidden in mysterious-sounding locales (like Ile Biarritz), the architecture is decidedly new and unFrench, and the fun bars and restaurants are camoflaged somewhere off Rue de Vieux Port...

Or the charms of the Roman-Medieval city of Limoges (with a Champion within walking distance, and at least two franchises of Paul)?

At least Limoges has public restrooms aplenty. In the Atlantic coastal towns it seems preference is given to mutts, with carefully marked WChien signs-- I'm not kidding-- in the gardens and squares. (And nary a public restroom for people in sight.)

All joking aside, when the sun is shining, you can't beat Biarritz for some fun in the sun just 10 minutes from the border with Spain (and far from the crowds mobbing the Cote d'Azur). Though the history and culture of the Basque Country are better showcased in the neighboring towns of Bayonne and St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz is Europe's surf capital, and surfers flock from all over the world to catch these waves. It is also a mecca for fashionable high-rollers ever since Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie vacationed here in the 19th century (and constructed the enormous and elegant Palace looming over the beach, now a luxury hotel).

The best part of Biarritz for me was a reunion with friends, of course! We raided the night market and enjoyed a scrumptious picnic of six different cheeses, specialty breads, fruits, apple tart, and wine, and talked politics on the hotel's garden terrace. Mmmm.


  • At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am looking for the name of the shop in St. Jean de Luz which sells artisanal soap. Your help would be appreciated.


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