This morning, the Madame of the Gite Levinhac Le Haut was waiting to show me to breakfast. She speaks good English and I suspect she was pleased to have an English man in the house. “Here is the fresh fruit salad, here the basket of bread, there are the croissants, help yourself to yogurt, butter and jam”. And then with a flourish she produced a mug like a magician produces a white rabbit at a children’s birthday party. Madame said “for the English”. I nearly cried. The French have many strange customs but none more peculiar than drinking their breakfast coffee out of the cereal bowl. The beautiful crusty baguettes are dunked into this bowl ruining both bread and coffee. The bowl cools the coffee in the shortest time and when you drink from it, much of the coffee runs down your chin and over your shirt.
I set off at 7.30 with 24 Km ahead of me. The path climbed though woodland before it reached the rolling hills. Mostly it led me from one farm to the next but occasionally it led into a charming old village. The region is fertile and the farmers cultivate cereals and livestock. Agriculture here is too important for the locals to bother about a few pilgrims so there are no refreshments along the way. No bars in the villages. No shops. How I miss Spain, at times.
I arrived in Figeac at lunchtime and had a superb meal on the banks of the Cele. After dumping my pack at the Gite d’Etape du Gua, I set off to explore this attractive medieval town. Apart from the stunning buildings there is the famous Champollion museum named after the local historian and linguist who founded Egyptology and who played a major role in deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Lots of Egyptology and the history of world writing are on display. Except, this being France, it’s closed on Mondays.
The Gua gite is a happy place with a huge garden and is owned by a young couple who are clearly seeking a different path through life.
Today’s walked from Livinhac to Figeac through farmland.
The village well.
D H Lawrence Virgin and the Gypsy
First poppies of the Camino
The Figeac Abbaye
Figeac town centre