After Carcassonne we travelled a few hours north to the Aveyron region where we are staying about 10 km in the countryside from Villefranche de Rouergue. We took a bit of a side trip along the way as I had (I think it was Karen but I wouldn’t want it to sound like I was blaming her) selected an incorrect destination on our google map about an hour or so east of where we were supposed to go. That meant our 2 hour trip ended up being about 4 hours. Hey but we had some interesting driving on narrow country roads and saw some neat sites in rural France.

Here are some photos from the trip to Villefranche-de-Rouergue:

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My guess is that about 10,000 people live in Villefranche-de-Rouergue but out here where we live is more like a small farming community in New Zealand with a few houses scattered over the countryside. By the way there seems to be quite a few towns whose name starts with Villefranche. I asked a guy in a café/bar what it meant and as far as I could understand him it is to do with how some 800 years ago these towns were tax-free towns. We are staying in a lovely cottage, which the French call a Gite. Ten years or so it was a simple barn and the owner lived in one side of it and the animals the other side. There are two other Gites on this land which also use to be barns with the owner living upstairs and the animals downstairs. In those days, no long ago, they were primitive barns and not the lovely houses with mod cons that we have. They didn’t even have toilets in them … Here are some photos of the Gite we live in:

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Our neighbouring Gites:
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Inside ours:
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It’s a really nice area, so quiet, the sound of a birds singing during the day, not much else to disturb the peace except two kids … Lovely to run around this area except you have to watch you don’t get in the way of the odd car on these narrow roads …

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The weather here turned a little on us and we have a few days of rain, nothing too serious except makes it difficult to sit outside the owners house to use the internet. On Wednesday we drove about 1 1/2 hours north to Racamadour, where Karen and I had visited 18 years ago. This is the first place we had been to before in this trip so far. Racamadour is an amazing town in the middle of the Upper Quercy region; build in the side of a 150 meter cliff face. This sacred city dates back, I think, to the 10th or 11th century. The church at Racamadour existed back in the 11thcentury and the first historical trace of a pilgrimage to Racamadour occurred in 1112. By 1188 most of the buildings in the city were completed and many pilgrimages took place during 1193-1317 which is referred to as the Golden Age of Pilgrimages. I will leave the history there before I get carried away.

This is a street in Figeac, a small town of about 10,000 people that we liked:Wk7 rac trip IMG_5606

Here is Racamadour:

A plaque on the church wall that I liked:
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The church from a distance:
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I guess I shouldn’t have sat on the fence after eating so much …Wk7 rac pete seat IMG_5665

Coffee again, nice view …
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I had to take over the home schooling on Thursday as Karen is flat out with our business accounts.

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So of course I decided, after maths, that it was time for a field trip. We went into Villefranche-de-Rouergue to check out what some call the greatest country market in France. Of course Karen couldn’t stay at home doing the accounts as she had her eye on buying all sorts of strange cheeses etc. Our quick field trip ended up taking a couple of hours but then by about 4pm we were back at the school desks working on our blogs (and Karen on her accounts). Here are some photos of the market:

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