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Getting Creatively Lost: A Ramble Through France

Final Post: Heading Back to Paris

From Loubressac to Autoire.

The next morning, I got up early to catch a taxi to the train station across the river, in Bretenoux, where I’d catch a train back to Paris. I was sorry to leave the valley, and I felt a tightening in my chest at the approach of my time to go home. But it was time to go home.

I’d walked a hundred miles in ten days, about my speed. I’d seen beautiful countryside; smelled the fresh, fragrant air; got a closer sense of the people than I’d had before; poked around ancient castles and churches; eaten spectacular meals; drunk wine I wish were more available in the states (in the nearby Cahors, they have a way with malbec); and tested myself physically, a little. I was lonely, often, but often not. And when I was by myself, with no one to talk to, I thought about life, my family, and how I could be a better husband and father.

I couldn’t have asked for more.


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Causse de Lauriol

Climbing the Causse de Lauriol.

My last neighborhood ramble was up the Causse de Lauriol, a limestone plateau past the outskirts of St.-Céré. It was the most heavily wooded walk, and, not surprisingly, as unlike the Pacific Northwest as could be. I saw few conifers, but many more bushes and low-lying trees, the most common being a type of small oak I’d come across throughout the valley. The top of the plateau gave splendid views for miles around. What I liked most, though, was a sense of peace and quiet, as if everything that could possibly make noise were far, far away. I did some deep thinking in that place, one of the most refreshing, reviving walks in ten days.

On the way up, I passed a small, well-tended vineyard, where the grapes looked rich and ripe. I noticed shiny materials hanging from the vines every row or two. I couldn’t tell whether they were DVD disks, aluminum pie tins, or strips of metal. I asked the owner, who happened to be chopping wood, and he said–predictably–that the shiny material deterred birds. I asked him more questions, as with what type of grapes, but he pretended not to know, the first and only time on my wanderings that anybody stonewalled me.

Conversely, while en route through the Causse de Lauriol, I encountered two guys and their dog running in the opposite direction. We wished each other bonne route. Later, when I passed the café where they were having a drink, one looked up, waved, and alerted his companion so he could wave too. That cheered me and took the sting out of my interaction with the surly grape farmer.

Like this blog? I invite you to visit my other one, Novelhistorian, in which I review historical fiction and history.  Read More 

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