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Getting Creatively Lost: A Ramble Through France


Saint-Céré from above.

The center of town in St.-Céré confused me, for no apparent reason. I must not have been used to a metropolis that boasted not one but three pharmacies (where I stocked up on those hip, slick, and cool blister remedies to bring home), and a half-dozen or more hotels. I went into the tourist bureau to ask where mine was and found it no more than a hundred yards away, though slightly obscured by a park. At least, that was my excuse.

My hotel, the Victor-Hugo, was a pleasant place run by two people born to be in the hospitality business. My room overlooked a small stream, remnants of a river-turned-creek, where a heron fished. Behind that was a park where the kids from a nearby lycée hung out during breaks and after school.

Being a good-sized village, St.-Céré also had three pastry shops. I was looking for a mille feuille (a Napoléon), but they only sold those in family sizes. So I settled for a puit d’amour (well of love), pastry cream inside a soft shell whose makeup I couldn’t define, topped with caramel cream. And yes, it was love at first bite.

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