Albi, France should be on everyone’s bucket list!  

Today was amazing! We got up leisurely and set off to take Mom and Jim to Toulouse Airport to catch their flight to Venice for a few days. How lucky are they? A special birthday gift for mom … Gateways International is the travel provider I booked with … Flights direct, transfers, hotels overlooking the bridge and canal, tours each day etc. I will pick them up in a few days 🙂
We used gps and maps to get there. It was a challenge at times … And we used major highways, 130 km most of way. Almost twenty euro for the toll! Phew. Safe, and sound.
Steve and I decided to adventure home. We programmed GPS to go to Albi first. If you do not have this town on your bucket list …. Time to add it! Maybe the most beautiful town …. ever! We found a place to park near the Cathedral. I had read about the red brick masterpiece just the other day in that fabulous book I was reading …. 100 places every woman should go in France. Well, she was right!
After we toured that magnificent structure, I bought a flag of Albi for the grandboys for three euro! It is beautiful and we walked around the corner to the information tourist building. Beside that and sharing the ancient red brick wall, was the Henri Toulouse-Lautrec museum. I also had read about this.  
Back in my younger days in high school or so, I remember writing a school report on old Henri. I remember his story a bit and know of the Moulin Rouge fame ….
We decided to go inside. Also as a secondary exhibit was a photo gallery of Marilyn Munroe.  
Once the museum sights were out of the way, we checked out the Gardens and the fantastic FABULOUS SPECTACULAR view of the river and buildings on the other side. We took more time than planned as it was so amazing. We even tried to sit and just take it in.
Then grabbed a sandwich for Steve, worried we would lose the sun for the drive home, to Roujan and the villa.
We set the GPS. Maybe to the most direct but not the fastest route, and without tolls. We wandered and meandered through the most amazing countryside.
Farms, sheep, cows, horses, fields upon fields. Ancient stone structures that must have at one time been someone’s home! Windy twisty roads. Speed bumps through little towns barely bigger than the speed bump and a few houses and a church. Always a church!  
Shutters closed, cars parked, no one put walking. Little tiny closed up towns, one after another, interspersed with farm land and old stone bridges and walls. Looked like long abandoned structures. They drew our attention. As did the rolling hills and tree lines. Still light enough to see …. And precious few cars on the road, luckily!
And then we saw a vision. A sight of a town on a hill and we were going right toward it. We see a sign for a Plus Beaux Village …. 
Now that I am home, I see it is Olargues. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olargues

We will go back there. Depending on weather, tomorrow … Or Saturday after the Saturday market at Pezanas.  
Perpignan is another area I want to explore. Perhaps the day we pick up mom and Jim…. Sunday. And Francesco is supposed to meet us there at the airport in Toulouse. Francesco was our CEO guide with GAdventures local living in Sorrento last year when I travelled with the gals after my retirement from government …..A drive south toward Barcelona and the Spanish border.  
On Tuesday next week we plan on meeting Glen and Maggie we met on Cunard cruise last year … In Carcassonne. They are vacationing from their home near Darby UK. That will be fun!  
So much to do. The time is zipping by and we are having an amazing holiday! Must go eat something now :). 
Ciao all, 
Love Pamela of France!  

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