We arrived late last night chez Julie et Darren to find a fantastique French dinner awaiting our arrival. We ate, had a quick walk down to the Canal du Midi and then off to bed.
Then I woke up late to this breakfast:
I know. I was...blissful. It is such a lovely thing to find Julie and Darren in this gorgeous little slice of paradise.
After breakfast, we headed out on our hosts' bikes to follow the canal tow-path from Argeliers to Le Somail, about six kilometres away. As beautiful as these pictures are, they don't even do these views justice. It was pastoral perfection.
The barge pictured below is the Athos, owned and operated by Julie and Darren's good friends. For a truly princely sum, you too can take a holiday on the luxuriously appointed Athos. It looks divine.
It was a more peasant-like transportation for us, however. We used our own little legs to get up the canal. Yellow lilies and red poppies littered our way.
Plane trees lined the path and canal.
And because it is early in the season, we were alone the whole way.
There are small establishments dotting the canal along the way. Eric is on the bridge that takes the canal over a river down below. Apparently the construction of the canal went way over budget. I think it was bells and whistles like bridges for canal to pass over rivers that probably took it over the top. It is picturesque, but I bet it was costly to construct back in the day. It seems amazing even now!
The old houses along the way would have housed canal workers.
The river that passes UNDER the canal.
Here is a spot to rent boats. In our short time parked beside the canal, we observed some very dodgy captaining of boats under bridges. It is either trickier than it looks, or the intellectually challenged are big boat renters. We couldn't help but think (perhaps naively) that without tides, currents, rocks and waves...it looks a bit simpler than our West Coast boating. Maybe we are wrong. But I don't think so.
There's Le Somail in the distance.
This was the view from our lunch spot.
The lunch. Oh mon Dieu. I think I may have gone overboard in my praise for this lunch, but c'mon! Look at it! Seriously. Look again. L'assiette du pays came with a glass of wine and a lychee sorbet for dessert. It was twice as delicious as it looks. And it looks delicious.
Our lunch table with Julie and Darren, who joined us to eat.
Eric's entrecôte avec frites.
Darren's poisson entière.
That was our table under the plane tree. Eat your heart out, Dad.
The view of our restaurant from across the canal...wait for it...at the gigantic antique bookstore.
Observe. And imagine the happy grin on my face (with my belly full). I purchased two copies of the magazine "La Femme Chez Elle" from the 1930s to frame.
The only food store in town? On a boat.
Home to Argeliers and a little walk around town before dinner.
I spotted this sign for a local restaurant called "Le Chat qui Peche", where we are going for dinner on Friday night.
And dinner tonight:
Alright, you can hate us now.