Sun and Sightseeing

One of the things about living in a location that attracts tourists, is that you often don’t do any of the “touristy” things yourself, because you never get around to it. I lived in Philadelphia until I was in my early 20s and NEVER went to see any of the sights on my own. I certainly never went to Disneyland in L.A. unless I was begged to do so by visitors.

Here in the Possum Kingdom, it hasn’t been a lack of desire to do things as much as a lack of free time. But this week, our friend Brian came to visit from the UK and we decided we would have a mini-vacation ourselves as we showed him around.

Luck was with us and the weather has been glorious. The temperatures have been running 22 degrees celsius, the sky is brilliant blue and it is just stunning. I convinced Mom to come with us on our jaunts, and the four of us have been having lunch out, then afternoons visiting the sights.

Thursday was lunch at Le Commerce in Mirepoix, followed by the drive to Carcassonne then a tour of the Cité. It was great, although I think we were all a bit surprised by how many people were there on a midweek day, but both Brian and Mom loved it anyway.

Yesterday was Montsegur and Foix. Lunch turned out to be a true treat, as we tried the Restaurant Costes in Montsegur. Everything was organic, local or made on the premises, and it was an outstanding meal. They made their own ice cream, and I think I’m ruined for the store bought stuff forever, to be honest. It was definitely one of those meals that is “worth the detour” as they say in the Michelin guide.

Today was a Science Fiction and Fantasy writers’ lunch in honor of Brian. There were 16 of us at the Hotel de France here in the Possum Kingdom. Chef Didier made us a regional lunch of salad with gesiers (don’t think about it; they’re really good), cassoulet and flan with a coconut topping. The cassoulet was truly outstanding, if difficult to finish because there was so much of it! No one walked away from the table hungry.

Our guests came back Chez Possum, then a few of us took Shmoo on a walk through the gardens. The village was at its best, and I think there were several converts to life in the country.

Now, we’re all feeling full and happy. A perfect day.

Ciao for now.


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4 thoughts on “Sun and Sightseeing

  1. I’ve visited Carcassonne (twice) and climbed Montsegur, and can attest that both are world-class attractions.

    Alas, I did so before I was aware of your restaurant recommendations.

    Hopefully, I’ll get back to Southwest France some day soon and have a chance to dine at Restaurant Costes and your meet-up resto in Carcassonne.

    And to touch base again with Chalabre’s Kossacks.

  2. You’re a brave man, Dev, as JM and I have never had the courage to walk all the way to the top of Montsegur! We tend to look up at it from the parking lot.

    We have done the tour of the walls of Carcassonne though, and that was wonderful. We didn’t do that this time because it was way too crowded (I much prefer doing things NOT during school vacation season).

    We’ve just been talking about getting another Kossack luncheon set up, so maybe it will be this in May or June if we can get our act together.


  3. Climbing Montsegur is doable by middle-aged, overweight types like myself, and presumably even more doable by far less overweight types like you and JM.

    Even where the path gets steep, you don’t need to use your hands. So it’s not really mountain climbing.

    Knowing a bit about the remarkable history of the place kept me going all the way, though I had to pause a few times to catch my breath.

    The views from the top on a clear day are well worth it.

    And you will have done a week’s worth of exercise in one day.

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