We went on foot and saw some kamikaze birds in the street (French people drive like crazy in general. A few seconds later two cars came speeding round the corner and the first one made an emergency stop so the second driver almost collided with him. An argument ensued. The birds escaped unharmed.)
On day 4 we paid an extensive visit to the village of our base camp. In 2015 there were 1183 inhabitants in Montricoux according to Wiki so as you can guess from these numbers, the village is small but it is very picturesque and quiet. It was a cloudy day around noon so all the shops were closed (siesta hours) and there were hardly any people around. The tourist office consisted of two tables with leaflets and a phone and a set of keys. From this evidence I deducted that a live person is manning the office and that there weren’t many thieves or tourists in the area (despite the warning on the church door claiming the contrary).
According to the guide there is only one must see monument in the village: the castle in which the musée Marcel Lenoir is housed. I will write a separate post about this.
First of all we had a peek around in the church, Saint Pierre de Montricoux. Most French churches are very dark inside so the quality of the pictures is not great.
The square with the austere medieval church. Note the large crowds of tourists.
A statue of Joan of Arc, who is also present in some other churches we visited.
The inside of the church with – amazingly – an other visitor apart from us
One of those creepy glass coffin saint thingies
Skulls on old grave stones
After the visit to the museum around the corner we continued our stroll through the village.
La vache qui rit above a door. The cow is the trademark red cow of a brand of molten cheese, but I assume also a reference to Lenoir (see above) who painted a still life with a box of the famous triangular cheese packets.
Rue de Templiers or Templar Street, but the Templars disappeared a long time ago
There are four cats in this picture. Good luck finding them.
[Solution: cat in flower pot on the left; red cat in the middle and mother cat and kitten on the right]
When we saw a poster for a “Big food market with musical animation”, we made a note in our agenda:
Visions of a lively market with folk musicians and stalls with lots of fresh bread, olives, savoury quiches, cheeses, etc appeared before our eyes. Alas, when the time came, it was raining heavily. So we had to be patient.
Luckily after an hour it stopped raining and we marched towards the village, ravenous like templars and ready to attack the food. When we got there, it was suspiciously quiet in the centre of the village. No location was indicated on the poster but we assumed it would be on the terrace near the river so onwards we marched.
When we finally got there, we saw this:
What? Where was that big food market? All we saw were a couple table with local people eating moules frites. (reminding us of our traditional local “mossel soupers”). There was a small buvette, i.e. a stall where you could buy a drink, and a wagon where moules frites, paella or chicken wings could be ordered. This is France!
The musical animation was a recording. We walked around, not sure what we’d do, and got stared at as if we were curious aliens so we retreated hastily.
Ok, back to the house it was. Luckily we had a plan B and food in the house.