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.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Day in Périgueux

Périgueux is pleasant even on a non-market day. Dating from Roman times, the city is built on a hill overlooking the River Isle. It boasts a beautiful Medieval quartier, Roman ruins, and stunning cathedral that resembles a domed mosque. (The cathedral is impossibly ornate-- almost tacky-- with five domes. Apparently, the restoration process was overseen by Abadie, of Paris' Sacré Coeur fame.) Whenever I wander through the tiny alleys, I marvel at the shiny white limestone which is threaded through the cobble stone streets. (You can just make it out in the photo.)

These alleys are lined with ancient houses and boutiques so beautiful that I always feel compelled to buy something, no matter how impractical. There is a fromagerie with murals of the campagne painted on the walls, chocolate stores with elegant window displays, and wine shops brimming with crystal and tempting bottles. And of course there is foie gras everywhere you turn.

(The photo at right depicts a random wall painting I found while walking through the city. Looks like drunken Medieval debauchery to me.)


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