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Getting Creatively Lost: A Ramble Through France

Simple Pleasures

The road to Saint-Céré.

The next day, I took my last village-to-village walk, to Saint-Céré, and the shortest, only about an hour and a half. I spent almost the entire route along a highway, unpleasant and nerve-wracking, but the simplest, most direct way to town. At the chambres d’hôte in St.-Sozy, I’d heard a few Israeli visitors complaining that St.-Céré wasn’t worth the trip, but that depends on your point of view.

It won’t make anyone’s list of the most beautiful towns in France, but beauty isn’t everything. For starters, St.-Céré has a laundromat, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have discovered this in the tourist brochures in Autoire. Since I hadn’t washed anything since St.-Sozy, and since that last night there, I could smell my wardrobe from my hotel bed, I made that laundromat my first stop in St.-Céré. Trouble was, I had no place to change out of what I was wearing; the supermarket around the corner had no bathroom.

So I persuaded the woman who ran the hairdressing salon next door to allow me to use hers for a quick change. It took some doing, since she was at first dead set against it, and she resented having to remove everything valuable from that tiny room before I went into it–as if I would load up on her spare shampoo and stuff it into my backpack–but she did it. I thanked her profusely and offered her money, but she refused.

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