Sunday, 26 September 2010

Visitors 3 - Another fine Mas

For our next trip out together, we headed westwards. The weather was still glorious and we explored the entrance to the cave system and descended to the river bed itself. I am sure that when I was there before, there had been a lot more water.
Our first photo stop was at the Eglise de chemin decroix de Raynaude, which has a cross path with 14 chapels perched on the side of the hill behind the church.
I have spoken of the caves at Mas D’azil before, but have still never shelled out the coin to visit the cave itself.
The larger hole on the left is where we went exploring, the smaller hole on the right is the road which runs through the mountain and pops out in the village of Mas D’azil itself.

The village was our next stop, and we wandered about the streets.
I found this corner of the village, which I had not seen before.
It has a bridge across the river, a fully air conditioned public toilet, and an old mill.

There was a family enjoying their midday meal outside in the square next to their house, sitting at a table, with their washing on driers around them.
Time was ticking, so following my GPS instructions, we headed off in the wrong direction.
I turned round at the first opportunity and the GPS eventually got with the program.
We arrived in St Lizier and parked in the car park near the Palace of the Bishops. St Lizier is listed as one of the 2 “most beautiful villages in France” in our region. There are 300 in France. I have visited it before and the choir performed in the Cathedral here 2 summers ago.
When S and I first visited, two years ago the Bishops’ Palace was being refurbished as a major tourist attraction. Indeed it is a world heritage site! It was supposed to re-open last year. We found out that it was still not open. It is not scheduled to open until February 2011. Part of it has opened as an apartment hotel.
We wandered around again. J and I went into the Palace grounds and I followed a fingerpost sign and found this.

A few bits of masonry a cross on a stone plinth and 2 park benches.
We regrouped and ate our picnic at a stone table. I was able to put my pocket knife to good use for a second day, slicing sausage. Could anything else costing £70 be more useful???
Putting our rubbish in the bin (other visitors had not been so courteous), we walked down the road into the village with the Couserain hills on our left and ahead of us. This is hot air balloon country, but I can’t remember if we saw any floating on high in the distance.
There are lots of details to photograph, both in and around the Cathedral and its cloister and in the little twisty streets.

Me photographing J and I, I photographing J and me

I spotted a sign for the library, so went to investigate. The door was open so I walked in.
It was a very small room, with bookshelves round the wall, fair enough. However today appeared to be Scrabble day (French version) and two games were in progress with 5 ladies participating. I had a little chat with them before leaving. They wished me a happy holiday. How could they mistake me for a tourist? It was probably my sister and her hat.
There was a passion fruit plant complete with small orange coloured fruit, and there was also a kiwi plant growing in the same small street. I have not seen kiwis growing before, although I know that there are kiwi farms in the Ariege.

is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a kiwi

Tour of the village completed, we had a drink on a terrace overlooking the main square and the Cathedral. The restaurant seemed to be packing things away, despite it not being very late. When I went off to enquire about the bill, he found out that the waitress had gone home and forgotten all about writing down out order. Doh!!

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