… which really should read, “too much lunch in Fanjeaux” … “but I’m getting ahead of myself and Denys liked to hear a story told well.”
Every year this area of France puts on an open air photographic exhibition called “Les Chemins de Photos”. I can’t quite get to grips with that French ‘cos it seems as if the “de” should be “des”, there being multiple photos, but it ain’t. Be that as it may, the exhibition consists of several collections of 12 photographs printed large, mounted on boards and displayed in the open. Each of these is one of the chemins. The overall theme this year was Scènes de Vie.
There are two collections on our host farm, one around the edge of our lake to do with Thai salt production and another in amongst some trees between us and the farmhouses concerning traditional French farming and the transhumance – moving livestock between seasonal grazing pastures.
There are a few other collections in Fanjeaux itself so we thought we’d walk in, have a gander and combine it with reacquainting ourselves with old, historic Fanjeaux. The exercise might serve as an excuse to enjoy lunch at a fine local restaurant called La Table Cathare and the fact that we would be walking meant we could both imbibe. The walk in took about 30 minutes and got us there a shade before midday. We wasted a few minutes to allow the restaurant to begin opening up and, it being a Friday, managed to make a reservation for 13:00.
The first chemin we found was of life along the Nile. There was a second chemin, which I couldn’t really get a handle on, in the old village washing facility. I think the latter was something to do with “leaving” or “travelling”.
Once we’d gone, “ooh, ahh” at the photos, we climbed a little higher into Fanjeaux – being an old Cathare place it’s up on a bit of a hill – and came across the old market hall. I love the old French market halls. We’d already been in to Revel to have a closer look at that one, now we were in a similarly old timbered example in Fanjeaux. I found another weird facility on my mobile phone camera which, against my better judgement, I couldn’t resist having a play with. It had something called Photo Sphere. I’m a mobilephobe [maybe I should call them mobile phobes instead of mobile phones?] but eventually I managed to figure out how to get it to work. You stand in the middle of something, take picture #1, then the darn phone directs you to spin round through 360° while it takes 7 other shots to stitch together and complete an all-around, spherical view. Clever though this undoubtedly is, I’m not convinced it’s of much practical use in really showing what things look like but here’s Faanjeaux’s halle in the round.
Time for lunch so back to La Table Cathare. They do have other interesting things on the menu but this is cassoulet country and I love it. Cassoulet is a very hearty concoction of slow-cooked white beans, like haricots, cooked together with meats including sausage, salted pork and with a whole confit of duck leg stuffed into the middle. It’s cooked in a traditional earthenware pot called a cassole and then smacked into the oven for a light crust to form on top. I petty much already knew I’d be ordering it but I was greatly surprised when Francine followed suit. This was always going ot be way too much food for her.
It was way too much food for me, too. Not to worry, the restaurant is ready for such eventualities and offers to box up the remains. I popped said remains into my rucksack for the walk back to camp. It leaked a bit but kept us going partially for the next two days.