Our third day in Montcabrier was quite busy. 25 years ago we got married in the presence of friends and family in Seattle’s Good Shepherd Center Park. We began this day with breakfast on the terrace. Sally decorated our table with red bows and a beautiful card featuring a print of her late husband’s painting of Montcabrier. It was a very touching way to begin the day. We will treasure the card.
We needed to buy some drawing paper and Sally called ahead to Artempo in Agen to ensure that they were open and let them know that two Americans were coming. With directions in hand and our GPS working we drove to Agen. Artempo proved to be a small shop with a very complete collection of papers, canvases, paints, pastels, and other materials. The proprietress was most gracious with our poor French and assisted us to find the papers we wanted. Paper blocks in hand we set the GPS to go to Pujols, a medieval village nearby.
Pujols sits high on a hill overlooking the Lot valley. There has been a fortress or city here since the 12th century. Although much was destroyed in subsequent wars and the need to find building materials, several of the ancient structures remain. The old town of Pujols is about the same geographic size as Montcabrier, but with houses crammed much closer together. The only vehicles allowed are those of residents. We strolled the lanes, visited shops and artists’ ateliers, and the town’s two churches. For a late lunch at an outdoor cafe we had anchovy pizza, salad, and beer.
Egilse St. Nicolas is a small functioning church dating from the 15th century. It is part of the original ramparts of the fortress, so quite substantial. Eglise St. Foy La Jeune also dates from the 15th century. This Agen saint is a well known martyr from the region. While quite changed by time and revolution, the church has preserved part of the original frescoes. The walls are covered with these marvelous faint images while the space below is used as an art gallery.
(To stop on a photo in the slide show hover your cursor over the photo and a control bar will appear with forward, back, and pause buttons.)
Leaving Pujols, we returned to Montcabrier in time for aperitifs. Amy, a native New Yorker who now lives in Montcabrier full time, had invited Sally and us to her home. Her garden is one we had noticed on earlier walks and hope to paint while here. We spent a delightful hour with Amy and Sally, learning about life in France. Amy deserves extra credit for having taken and passed the French driving test! She also introduced us to one of her cats, Jules. His feline colleague is named Jim. Did I mention the terrific Viognier wine? The cheese, sausage, nuts?
Having imbibed a good deal of wine, we made our way up the street to Atelier de la Rose where Sally prepared our anniversary dinner. Couscous, spicy sausages, and a north African vegetable mix. Of course more Viognier! Desert was chocolate mint ice cream with chocolate wafer sticks accompanied by herb tea while watching the sun set. What a fine day! We went to bed stuffed with visions of the Lot valley, memories of great stories and conversation, good food, and fine wine.