Carcassonne and more, France

Great morning, October 19 2015, south of France
Yesterday up early and a lovely drive to Toulouse to pick up my mom, Jim and also to meet my friend Francesco, at the airport by 930 am.
We met and it was lovely. Off to Carcassonne, a fabulous ancient stone castle and fortress within an old town in south of France. Of course the game of the same name, I have seen and also have purchased for family members. I knew of this town before I came to south of France.
The drive through small towns and countryside was again, spectacular. I can’t seem to get enough of the tree lined streets, plane trees I think they are called. Rows planted very close to highways and roads, sometimes both sides of the road. Leaves are very high in the trees and provide shade and incredible visual sights during drives through the countryside. My favourite is on the road to Pezanas from Roujan and it takes my breath away every time I am on it!
Catching up in the car, conversations with Francesco about his travels recently with his mom and dad in Spain, and how he spends his time travelling the world, as well as a contracted agent with GAdventures (which is where I met him last year at this time). Also catching up with mom and Jim about Venice. They spent three nights and two full days exploring the city, the islands and the culture and history of Venice on a Gateways International tour.  
They had a spectacular time and the tour guides were fantastic, knowledgable, on time and full of great information. As well, they highly recommended the boutique hotel where they stayed and they ate two dining meals at the same fabulous restaurant in Venice, so they loved that as well šŸ™‚  
Carcassonne, we stopped and had a lovely little lunch at a restaurant by the old city walls. We then walked around … not sure if we were seeing all there was to see. Not many people around, stores and shops all closed, it is Sunday. Then we stumbled on a road side map and realized were not in the Cite area where the ancient sights are. Ah- ha, it makes sense now.
We hopped in the car and found a parking lot up close to the front gates of the magnificent sight, the Cite and old ancient castle – THIS is what all the fuss is about šŸ™‚ lol
Steve purchased a ticket and went through the sights and got to take pictures from the high castle walls. The rest of us wandered around the cite, shops selling clothes, hats, mementos, chocolate, crepes, glaces, wine, knives and swords, dress up clothes, children’s toys and more chocolate and sweets šŸ™‚ What a beautiful place to hang around! Lots of people watching, of course, all tourists and many speaking English.
I found a great store and spoke to the owner, creator of a clay soap product. She makes the clay dishes and exfoliating “soap” disc and sells also aromatherapy dispensers, all out of clay. All natural products, and she designs the products, and fires them and sells them in this little old walled town. The clay soap disc is rough and hard and solid but also porous and so it you lay it in liquid soap, it soaks up the soap overnight and then you can use it as a soap bar for long time until the soap runs out again, you resoak and voila! I purchased one.  
We are likely going back to Carcassonne on Tuesday to meet our friends Glenn and Maggie from UK – who will be there for a few days. I may go back to the shop and get more soap discs. The dishes to hold the discs are so beautiful and unique but I don’t really have room to pack them in a suitcase….. oh well. I took pictures šŸ™‚
The drive back home was delightful and we got here before dark. The tree lined roadways, and old stone structures in the countryside, as we passed rows and rows of vineyards. The closer we got to home, the more I can really feel how much I love this area. It is feeling so comfortable and beautiful.
The pace is slow now, tourist season is all but over, and the air is cooler (about 18-20 degrees during the day only) and chilly at night so the leaves are changing almost daily it seems. Autumn is settling in this area of the south of France and I am loving the changing of the seasons and all the colourful and bountiful sights and sounds, smells and textures that it brings.  
Ciao for now. I was up early this morning to take Francesco to his meeting place for a ride to take him back to Italy. How fun to see him and he enjoyed meeting and spending time with my family. I feel we have a special kind of international friendship – connection.  
Perhaps a leisurely drive toward the south coast, toward Perpignon and Spain. Although we will not go as far as Spain … there is beach at La Barcares France, and that seems like a fun destination to start.
Follow along on Facebook to the journey:)
Have a wonderful day, 
Pamela in France!


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