Saturday, 28 February 2009

Westward ho! St-Lizier and Bastide-de-Serou

Whee! Look at me! I'm just hangin' out in the sunshine.

The weather was forecast to be hot and sunny today, so we loaded up the car with gadgetry and set off for St-Lizier, which is in theory about 45 minutes drive away. We were following a route that we have travelled before, heading towards St Girons. About half way there the satnav told us to go right left right in very quick succession, which is not easy on a relatively straight road. We never found the road that Michelin advised that they road traveller take either.
The road into St Girons is so twisty and stupid that I don’t know why people bother. We had probably gone wrong again, but we eventually found ourselves at a busy junction and took a right turn and found St-Lizier with little trouble. Parking was a bit of a problem. We continued to climb the road into the town, following the P signs. There is a smallish car park, but most of the land up there is being remodelled into a bigger car park at a cost of 440,000 euros. This is where the entrance to the main attraction of the town is, the citadel. Unfortunately it would seem that it has been closed to the public since Sept 2006. Strange that I did not find a mention of that before we set off.
St-Lizier has been designated as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
It is easy to see why. There are many half-timbered houses, quaint narrow, cobbled streets, the Pyrenees mountains, some of them snow-capped, can be seen across the valley.

We popped into the tourist information centre for a few leaflets, then went into the church. This proved to be rather gloomy, but there were interesting ceiling tiles and a very unconvincing trompe l’oeil window to admire, as well as the usual statuary.
A hot air balloon could be seen through the trees, in the direction of the mountains. There were several interesting stone carvings or gargoyles. One little chap still has his willy intact. This would not happen in the UK, where many women like to "take a chip off the old bloke"

The Villa Belisama looked like a nice B&B to stay at. It has a panoramic pool, but we were not able to see it.

There were many interesting bits and pieces to photograph and I shall stick a few onto this flickr link for you to see.

After about 2 hours of wandering, we headed back home, but stopped for a look round another, smaller town, which we hear mention of quite a lot. Bastide-de-Serou.
Now this was a disappointing place. Much of the property is in a dilapidated state, there are no shops to speak of except a Doreur (Gilder) which had it’s shutters down so I don’t know if it is still in business, and there was a saddle and harness makers showroom.
The church, with its strange, thin bell tower, was gloomy and dark. There was a covered market place which still had the remains of three stone vessels, formerly used to measure quantities of grain.

The link to the Serou photos is as above.

No sign of Leonard Cohen, but Michelle might have enjoyed it all the same.

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