Vive la France!

Vive la France!

Welcome to my blog -- follow us as we travel around France.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Languedoc - Day 11: Collioure

Cloudy again this morning, but some sun peeking through.  When Jan & I came out of the boulangerie, a little lady from the village, who had been in the shop before us, seemed to be waiting for us.  We struck up a conversation - she was very friendly and chatty, but I couldn't understand much of what she was saying.  She seemed to be able to understand my rudimentary French okay, though.  In several books about Americans living in France, I've read where women call "coo-coo" when they want to call to a friend.  This woman did that, so it was neat to hear her do it.

After breakfast this morning we left for Collioure, which is a seaside town about 10 km from the Spanish border.  In fact, the exit off the autoroute is the last exit in France before crossing into Spain.  The town is lovely.  Many of the buildings are painted yellow, cream, pink, or terricota, so it is very colorful.  When we were there 5 years ago, there was a troupe of acrobats making a human tower -- they weren't here this time, though.  Instead, we were "entertained" by the National Commando Training Center (French Army), which is located there and was doing training excersizes as we were eating our lunch.  Three teams of 6 had to inflate a rubber raft, don life vests, then paddle out into the harbor.  Once out there, they had to do transfer maneuvers in the water.  It was really interesting and they drew quite a crowd.  Actually, it was a little like watching a "Survivor" challenge.

We had crepes for lunch -- Bretton-style crepes.  Mine had ham, egg and cheese.  Mom's had ham, cheese, mushrooms, and egg.  We also shared a pitcher of apple cider, which is traditional with crepes.  We walked over to the church and went inside -- it is very different that other French churches.  The decor is more Spanish in style.  Jan and I bought watercolors from the artist -- he was really nice, spoke some English and thought my French was pretty good.  We saw a little more of Collioure this time than we did before.  It turned out to be a bright sunny day and we enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine and the shimmer of the water.  The Mediterranean is sure a pretty blue color.

We got home around 6 (it's about a 2-hour drive to Collioure each way), and got cleaned up, then went to Clermont l'Herault for dinner at Le Tournesol.  This is the same restaurant where Mom & I had dinner for my birthday in 2005.  We had an excellent dinner.  Mom & Jan had foie gras for their starters and I had langostines.  Jan had seafood for her main course (scallops, calamari, etc.), and Mom and I had duck (strips of duck breast coiled into a roll with a raspberry sauce) - it was very good.  For dessert: a crepe with vanilla ice cream.  We were among the first to arrive at the restaurant about 7:15 and it was 9:30 when we left.  This was the first restaurant dinner we've had since we were in Beaune, nearly 3 weeks ago!

We've enjoyed having Jan with us.  We've taken her to many places we've been before, but it seems like we've seen them differently and have seen more of each place as we have done a little more exploring.  We have just 3 more nights here before moving to the Dordogne.

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