James Washburn does France - Part Two

I always take more pictures than I can use - there is a thumbnail gallery of the entire set. Enjoy!

This is the second part of James's trip, you can find the first part here and the third part here.

James's luggage was misplaced for a day by Air France when we flew to Montpellier, in southern France. But everyone was very helpful. We drove to Nîmes and had Algerian food (good) and saw incredibly well-preserved (and still used) Roman structures.











A widely copied statue of a heroic Augustus (there is one modern? copy near the center of San Jose on the grounds of The Rosicrucian Museum).









So, I guess I should not have been surprised, but in Southern France next to Spain, bullfighting is a big thing. Interesting.













So, this Roman fresco fragment inside the former temple shows a greater understanding of realism than most art until the Rennaissance. Truly the Dark Ages - I guess they just lost perspective.





James did most of the driving - narrow medieval streets that dead end are not my thing.







We stopped somewhere for lunch.








James found out what this sign meant as he entered a long single lane tunnel to find a bus bearing down on us. James had some trouble finding reverse...





We stayed in Tournemire, a couple kilometres from Roquefort. We realized that we seemed to be outside the tourist season. Things were a little too quiet.




James and I spent the early morning walking around Tournemire, passing old people walking, looking at buildings and just relaxing in the quiet misty morning.









Every night, after the third bottle of wine, James would start blabbering about the Citroen 2CV - or the "Deux Chevaux." It was maddening. But the plot thickened. (The Deux Chevaux below almost hit me as I took a picture for James in Tournemire).









I liked the different colors on the trim of the stone house. The large chateau or whatever was inexplicable unless...





We then went to Roquefort. Ruined 11th century churches, and cheese.





Now, the whole point of this trip was to sort of interview Monsieur Bové. Alas, he was in French Guyana tearing down a McDonald's. We tried to connect up with a representative of Confédération Paysanne ("farmer's confederacy" - Monsieur Bové's organization), but we were unable to schedule anything.





The animation of the formation of the caves was great! The flumes bring air into the caves maintaining a natural temperature of 8°C - I think?




Roquefort cheese is produced from January to July. It is best eaten when it is around seven months old. Being November, the caves were empty - except for some fake plastic cheeses put on display for tourists. We did get a tasting though.






We lunched at the Hotel Moderne in St. Affrique. St. Affrique provides sheep milk to be turned into Roquefort cheese. For dessert we had ten different kinds of Roquefort cheese. The wine from Bourgogne was excellent - Oui, James, no Night Train for us.
















A girl - and her sheep.






















I tried to take some pictures of the interior of the Abbeye de Sylvanès through a keyhole.





Why is it that not far from any abbey is a bar?







James ate the fourth main on the menu - which may have been the thalmus glands of sheep.




Check out the receipt below - numbers are written differently in Europe (hey, I find this interesting).





It got a bit chilly for our Southern California boy...








As we approached Millau, we saw signs of our ultimate quest - the McDonald's. This was the site of José Bové's desecration of American Globalisation. Oh, that's the British spelling...










The mad cow warnings? or explanations are always amusing in Europe. Well, maybe not so amusing.





We weren't quite sure what we were eating (not beef) - and the coffee was nasty.















James says he always gets gas after McDonald's.





On to the third part of Jim's trip!

Brian Pawlowski / beepy@netapp.com / beepy.com