In between castles, cathedrals and the french country life.

September, 2018

Nearly two weeks I am staying now in Frayssinet-le-Gelat and just loving it! I am running from one cathedral to the other, discover empty, spooky houses, drive along the river Lot and explore all the hiking trails around the village (where I even spot a deer walking in between the houses).

In between I work. On my blog, following courses and loads of other administration. I have to get used to shop twice a week, as there are no supermarkets in the neighbourhood. Constantly, I am out of supplies, so sometimes my meal consists of tomatoes and tuna or cheese and olives. The bakery is closed on Monday and the only eatery in town, called café Le Bourian, closes Tuesday night and Wednesday. If I am touring around and I see a big store, I immediately stop the car and go shopping.

While being in France, you should at least once visit a Brocante. It reminded me of the time we lived in Greece, when once a month whole families got in their car at 6.00 in the  morning, on their way to the carbootsale. Most of the time it was held at a big parking spot in front of the supermarket. It was a great way to get rid of old clothes, toys, books and all kinds of rubbish. At the same time it taught the children how to sell their own stuff for the highest price possible and it had a social function; afterwards we spent the earnings in the taverna with other ‘carbootsale friends’. Here in Prayssac it looks exactly the same, but the socializing and money spending starts already at lunchtime!

Frayssinet-le Gelat is surrounded by hiking trails, just like all other villages in the Lot department. Only the signs tend to disappear after a few kilometers. At least I noticed, that you are safe following the yellow sign and NOT the yellow cross! The best map these days is my phone; at least it tells me where I am (very important as I get lost everywhere!). One day I discover, that just five minutes walking up the road behind ‘my’ house, there is this ‘château’, totally abandoned. I heard that it belongs to two sisters, one passed away and the other one left. The garden is overgrown and it looks, even on this sunny day, a bit spooky. I try to take some pictures from the other side and would have loved to get through the gates and see it from the inside!

I continue my hike into the woods and feel pretty uncomfortable. No other souls walking here, only plenty of mosquitoes flying around and I even more spooky houses present….

My speed is increasing and I force myself to keep on walking. Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel; I arrive at a road, which leads me back to town. On my return in the village, I have a relaxing moment with a glass of wine at Le Bourian.20180924_175603.jpg

On another occasion, I get in the car to drive to this very impressive castle, just thirty minutes from where I am staying. It is called Château de Bonaguil and according to the map I can reach it via the small village of Saint-Front-sur-Lémance. While driving along the scenic road, I just can avoid a dead deer. Not a nice start, but nothing can spoil my day. The weather is superb again and I can’t wait to see the castle. Just today they broke up the road in the tiny village. In my best french I ask the roadworkers if I can walk to the castle. Oh yes, not a problem at all! So I park the car somewhere in the shade and start climbing the road. I have my water and my biscuits, as always. I follow the signs and the road has a lot of curves and is awfully quiet.

The only car which passes, is the car with the same roadworkers coming from the other side!!! Ehhhh? Why didn’t they tell me that there is another way to the castle? Ah well, it is a nice walk, although again I am the only person hiking. The road becomes smaller and now goes through the woods. I see a sign; castle one kilometer. Yes, I made it! Suddenly, there is an open space and wow, the castle is right in front of me, situated high on a cliff. I look at the castle and at the road in front of me; it is going down and down and the curves are going the wrong way. It means that I have to walk up and up again later. This is too much. No clue where I will end up. I decide to go back and will try to reach the castle via another way, but not today! After an hour (going down goes faster), I reach the village again. The roadworkers are still there and I decide to give them a big smile and just rush to my car. At least I did see the castle!!!P1040359

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A housesit in Frayssinet-Le-Gélat, France

11th of September, 2018

There was a time, that I was a member of five housesitter websites. That was before I settled down in the Netherlands. The time I was still kind of ‘homeless’. I kept the membership of one of the most popular and best working websites, as there are always moments I can skip daily life. Definitely, since I am without a job again. Flipping through one wonderful housesit after the other, my eye catches this cute house in Southern France and I already start packing, when reading the description. Immediately I apply, without even having looked in my diary. Normally, there are several people applying at the same time and chances are small you get chosen. Though until now, I have always been pretty lucky and also this time I get a positive response more or less right away. Oh dear, I was not ready for this! Now I really have to do some serious thinking. My children encourage me to go (‘you deserve it, mum’; really?). Do I go by car or plane? Is renting a car an option? What are the costs of flying? After some calculations the conclusion is made that driving myself is best and cheapest. I have a look at the map and notice I need to go via Paris. Last time I drove through Paris is around 25 years ago, on our way to Spain and that was in the middle of the night. This time it will be daytime! Do I book a hotel for the night or just see where I will end up? I have to arrive the second day at lunch time, on time for the introduction and instructions. The night before I leave I barely sleep. Paris is hunting me……..but cheerful I drive away in the dark at 6.00 a.m. My adrenaline is flowing and keeps me awake until 4.00 p.m. For sure the strong coffee along the route keeps me awake too! (1.80 euro for a big cup; different prices than Switzerland!)20180911_144110.jpg

I passed Paris with ‘sweating hands and drops on my forehead’, while trucks were trying to push my little Twingo at the side in the tunnels. At that moment I started to feel like the lady I am now; a senior! In Vierzon I stopped at the first hotel I noticed. I got their last room. Coincidentally, it was one of the budget hotels from my list. I slept like a baby and arrived fresh and cheerful at my house- and catsit on time. Pfffffffff…………..

 

 

Frayssinet-Le-Gélat is a very tiny village, about half an hour from Cahors, in the Lot department. There are roughly 300 inhabitants, a bakery and a tiny pizza place.

 

One of those villages you drive through and not many people realize that on the 21st of May 1944, a massacre took place right in this village, by the Nazi’s. It happened that an SS Rifle company of the second Panzer Division ‘Das Reich’ stopped for a refreshment break. Believing that one of their officers had been shot by members of the French underground, fifteen hostages were taken and executed. Ten young males from one child families and five young women. This was to prevent any further family line of descent. A memorial remembers the victims.

 

 

The surroundings of Frayssinet-Le-Gélat are green, authentic and also very quiet. There are several interesting towns to discover, musea and castles, so I will not be bored! Every day there is somewhere a market. On Friday mornings it is Prayssac, on Sunday morning Cazals and on Tuesday Puy L’Évêque. During the first days I visit the two markets, both with a totally different atmosphere. I prefer the market in Prayssac, a typical french market and barely any foreigners. Here you can find lot’s of treats and local produce; truffles, confits, lamb, grapes, foie gras, prunes, walnut cake, goat cheeses, ready-made chicken, teas, olives and of course Cahors wines! My next market will be in Cahors!