Archive for May 4th, 2020

May 4, 2020

Saint Paul Cap de Joux !!

Eh yes voilà a title that will make many think what am I doing! But yes this is my beautiful deep belle France ,one reason I love to be here, towns like Saint Paul Cap de Joux, in the Tarn dept 81 of the region of Occitanie my backyard sort of speaking! My road warrior days on the back roads of France have taken me to many towns like it many times overlooked or just little written on them , until now.

It is time I tell you a bit more about Saint Paul Cap de Joux! Hope you enjoy it as I do

The town of Saint Paul Cap de Joux , which before 1891, was commonly known as Saint-Paul-de-Damiatte. By 1585: Passage to Saint-Paul of Henri of Navarre. The future King Henry IV will sign the manifesto of St. Paul with the Vice Languedoc, Henri I, duke of Montmorency; adding the territory which later came to the kingdom of France. It is here, also, that in 1145  St Bernard de Clairvaux came to preach what would later be the Cathar heresy. It is also from here that the Cathar community was installed in the north of  Italy,  the chapel from the 14C of  Sainte-Cécile de Plane Sylve, where there is now a Cross telling us that it was here the center Cathar of Saint Paul . In 1622, St. Paul served as the rear base for the Protestant leader of the region, Henri de Bourbon, marquis de Malauze, during the siege of Briatexte during the rebellion of the Huguenots.

St Paul cap de joux

St Paul Cap du Joux

me and my twins

The nice town of Saint Paul Cap de Joux, seat of the Cathars’s bishop! and a nice historical Church of Saint Paul Cap de Joux .The wonderful thing to visit here is the parish church, from the 19C, of Neo-Romanesque style, it contains murals of 1878 by Bernard Benezet, a renowned Toulouse painter. The altar could be the work of Viollet le Duc.

st paul cap de joux

My family on left

 Saint-Paul-Cap-de-Joux  has a market all year round in city center between 8h to 13h.

The city of Saint Paul Cap de Joux on the Church in French: City of Saint Paul Cap de Joux on the Church

The tourist office of the dept 81 Tarn on Saint Paul Cap de Joux in English: Tourist office of the Tarn on St Paul Cap de Joux

Oh yes forgot, well I come here several times in my road warrior ways, as said car is king and I am in my second home. The best to describe is Saint Paul Cap de Joux is south of Gaillac and Albi and further south of Graulhet and east of Castres.  All towns already written in my blog. Ok are you following me , it is in deep country roads of the Tarn ,the road D112 that starts out from way out Toulouse, passes by sentimental Lavaur and continues along old lavender and pastels fields into wonderful Saint Paul Cap de Joux! No trains but a wonderful spot for the bikers in you and of course far expanses car drivers like me.

From Toulouse (see posts) you follow up in jolimont district the route d’Agde which is the D112 crossing the A61 beltway of Toulouse continue direction Gramont/Balma here same road becomes the route de Lavaur step on your pedal you are passing beautiful hilly fields pas Monplaisir and into Lavaur (see post) but do not go into city center the road passes just outside next town Saint Paul Cap de Joux! Lovely run into the real country fresh air all around you!

The other way from Castres (see post) you get along the Agout river on quai du Carras just before crossing the bridge (do not cross it) bear left alongside of the river ;this takes you to bd des Docteurs Sicard or D83 road ,then turn left on the D612 into bd Georges Clemenceau to link up with the D112 road or Avenue de Lavaur, continue on this road until Saint Paul Cap de Joux. Both ways it is the main street in town.

Hope it helps and do try it, it is beautiful sublime country of my belle France. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 4, 2020

A small town another stop Payrac!

Ok so this was just passing by but memorable that it was our first long trip alone with the boys and not my dear late wife Martine. We were coming from Toulouse where we stayed and not wanting to go on the autoroute expressway we took a leisurely road back home. And we stop at another pin in my world map the small wonderful friendly town of Payrac.

Payrac is located in the Lot department, no. 46 in the Occitanie region. The town is located in the Bouriane natural region, on the old royal road D 820 (we took) and D 673 between Souillac and Cahors.

I dig some information on the history of Payrac as I like it

Payrac was an important town under the Roman peace. The oldest written mention of the village dates back to the 10C. The terrible military campaigns, looting and destruction of the Hundred Years War, as well as the plague of 1347 test the population, so that the region ends up almost uninhabited!

During the feudal era, Payrac belonged to the lords of Gourdon, a fortified city which still remains the capital of Bouriane. Around 1279, Payrac became the property of the Verneuil family and remained so for approximately five hundred years. It was at this time, in the 13-14C that the castle, of which only the big feudal tower remains, was built. During the Hundred Years War, the population was practically exterminated; the region was then repopulated from neighboring regions. In the 16C, Payrac suffered from religious wars. After a defeat in 1580 in Rocamadour, the Protestants took refuge in the church and in the castle of Payrac. It was then burnt down and the Protestants were exterminated. From the Renaissance, Payrac grew in importance as a postal center and stage relay. Mail from major cities in France was deposited there to be redirected throughout the region.

The French revolution of 1789 led to the depopulation of Payrac. Then came the opening, under the reign of Napoleon 1er, of an imperial road crossing Payrac to link Paris to Toulouse, this is the current RD 820 (we came in), then the advent of the railway transporting goods faster and further, which diminished the preponderant role of commercial plate that Payrac had become. Until the beginning of the 20C, vines and lavender were cultivated in the canton of Payrac, a lavender distillery was even present there. Phylloxera destroyed most of the vines, while the cultivation of lavender was abandoned in favor of more productive regions like Provence.

Some things to see in Payrac

From this rich past, Payrac has kept only a few buildings, including the castle, the former lair of the lordship of Gourdon, with its large round tower from the 16C. It has two floors on a vaulted room in the semi-basement. Loopholes pierce it, allowing the use of a small artillery. The house dates from the 18C. The castle welcomed the sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul from 1856 to 1957. Some inhabitants of Payrac have kept the habit of calling the castle, the convent for this reason.

Also, Church of St. Pierre, the Romanesque church, poorly maintained, was mined and destroyed in 1899 as well as the covered market and the town hall. The new church, completed in 1901, is an amazing building of real beauty. Modern for the time, but inspired by ancient and neoclassical styles, it has magnificent stained glass windows from the beginning of the 20C, the work of glassmakers from the Lot. They represent the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. They were restored in 2001 with great care and have regained all their splendor. From the old church, the sanctuary preserves a beautiful Madonna and Child in carved wood and a small tabernacle in Louis XVI style. A bust of Christ crucified carved in wood and polychrome dating from the late 17C to early 18C is located in the Saint-Joseph chapel of the church.

The city/town hall, built in 1911, replacing the old town hall destroyed at the same time as the old Saint-Pierre Church because glued to the latter, is a fine example of bourgeois architecture from the beginning of the 20C; built in briquettes and white stone, it stands out from other buildings in the center of the village. Deprived of its bell tower since 1948 ; it was rebuilt identically thanks to numerous donations from the inhabitants of the village and some businesses. Bourgeois houses from the 18-19C along the old royal road N 20 today D820. Picturesque houses in the old town, old 17C porch in rue Saint-Louis. Large wrought iron cross from 1829 at a crossroads near the washhouse. The Pope Pius VII, who stopped at the Payrac post office on the night of January 30 to January 31, 1814.

Of course, I was passing by on the D820 and did not stop long enough to see the above. However, I will be back! We did stop for a funny encounter at the restaurant Le Centre, right on the D820, they have a nice Facebook page here: Facebook page of Le Centre in Payrac


We were getting hungry so we saw this picturesque place on the road passing it by we quickly turn around for it. The folks inside about 3 gentlemen were very nice and welcoming and we ordered our beers just for the apero starter. We exchange some conversation as we were with our dog Rex a borador, and they have dogs too so animal lovers we struck very nicely. Then, we decided to ordered food but heck, the place does not have the kitchen open on weekends!!! so we could not eat here! Hungry but with a nice talk and good cold beers we continue our journey happily!!! And Le Centre will be in our mind once in the area again! Hope you enjoy the story as we did/do.


The city of Payrac on heritage in French: City of Payrac on heritage

Tourist office on the Valley of the Dordogne on Payrac in French: Tourist office valley of the Dordogne on Payrac

And there you go folks , my road warrior trip came up with another nice encounter of the fourth kind and we love it. Payrac gave us a nice impression good enough to keep it in our hearts for a real visit soon. Hope you enjoy the post and Payrac story.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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May 4, 2020

And we have Gaillac!

And I stay in the Tarn dep 81 of my Occitanie region in my belle France. I need to tell you a bit more on another town which is dear to me ,written briefly before ,and not enough photos! yikes! I even get my wines from here !!! Red Gaillac need to find them they are good…and I know a bit about wines.

My dear late wife Martine had uncles here and now cousins still there just outside of town, see my previous posts. Gaillac was our base and we love it especially by the wine cooperative of Técou we grab them by the case lol!! ok ok but the charm of the town always fascinated me for its quaint architecture and history I like.

Gaillac, this is a wonderful laidback country town but the center of one of the best wines in France. One of the red grapes Duras is one of the oldest in the world, and the Mauzac for whites is typical of the area. The coop Técou is now call Vinovalie and you can find it here in French: coop Técou now vinovalie Gaillac wines

The wines of Gaillac are not advertise as much and not well known but they are here since Romans time and are wonderful indeed especially the reds;the whites are supple nice dry and sparklers as well very good value. The wines of Gaillac webpage is here and I tell you our good ones too. The wines of Gaillac wineries

Ok look thru the webpage above and our favorites recommended by our family in the area and we have drank it since 1991! in our house. These are Château Clément Termes, caves Técou and Rabastens, Château Lastours, Domaine du Moulin , Domaine d’Escausses, Domaine Lamothe, and Château de Saurs. You won’t go wrong with any of them. Read my blog.

The best way to reach it and the other towns is by car of course, the D988 or old N88 link Toulouse with it which links with the N20/A20 from Paris or the autoroute A68 from Toulouse. The D112 from Toulouse thru Lavaur and the D631 to Graulhet, the D12 /D87 to Giroussens etc etc. Parking is always very easy to find as these are smaller town with nice squares. There is a train station with buses but never taken them.

What is there to see in Gaillac, other than the wineries, and the wine center at the historical Abbaye Saint Michel , by place St Michel and behind it the river Tarn flowing freely ;it is also the tourist office. Built in 972 and rebuilt in 1221,it is very nice to visit for the architecture alone. Here is the Maison des Vins de Gaillac  on the above Gaillac vins webpage. Many battles between the royal forces and the cathars were held in the town, one of the principal reminder is the rue de l’Anquillé very quaint old medieval and site of hand to hand combats, headquarters of the order of Chevaliers of St Jean de Jerusalem.  The place d’Hautpoul where the hotel de ville is located is big and wonderful square. As well as the picturesque and nice plaza the place du Griffoul with a nice fountain typical of the area which we love to stroll when in town. Do take a walk on the Place du Griffoul and see the house at 10 place du Griffoul next to the arcades market hall in brick done in 1842. See the wonderful tower and it has a nice small enclosed garden. All on top has a terrace with a cover of tiles held by beams; the windows takes you to the main building , all in gothic style of the 13-15C. In the middle a nice fountain of Griffoul. 17-18C.



Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its worth the detour are

The city of Gaillac 2000 years + of history in French: City of Gaillac on its history

The tourist office of Bastides and Vineyards on abbey St Michel in English: Tourist office bastides vineyards on abbey St Michel of Gaillac

The tourist office of Bastides and VIneyards on oldest vineyards in France Gaillac! in English: Tourist office of Bastides and Vineyards on oldest vineyards in France

There come into the countryside of my beautiful Tarn and see more marvels of my belle France. Gaillac is one nice gem off the beaten path really to see, recommended indeed.Hope you enjoy the post on my Gaillac.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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