The Saulue family farm (a dairy farm, surrounded by cornfields for cattle feed) is in the village of Ledieux (pronounced like luh-DESH), our hotel, Chez Germaine, was in Geüs-d’Oloron, the nearest town is Oloron-Sainte-Marie, and the nearest city is Pau. Chez Germaine also handled the catering for the wedding reception in a building near the hotel.
Wednesday we drove to Lourdes for two reasons: first, to see a famous religious site; second, they have a Monoprix store. Susan hoped to find some of our favorite dark chocolate there. The shrine was interesting its way, but I’ve been more impressed by others. Monoprix didn’t have the chocolate we hoped to find, but we bought what they did have.
We also hoped to drive up the Col du Tourmalet, a famous climb often used in the Tour de France. Unfortunately, we would have been in cloud and rain, so we didn’t make that drive.
Wednesday was also Girls’ Night Out, which is not a French tradition. I assume the girls had a fine time. I had dinner at the hotel with Tim.
Thursday we drove to Pau, to pick up Betsy’s mother and sister, coming on the TGV from Paris. While there, we shopped for French children’s books for Ren, and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. This was the first time we had Mexican food in France, and it was quite good.
Friday there was an excursion to the old city of Navarrenx, to see the remains of the citadel. Unfortunately, the information office was closed due to the holiday (Feast of the Annunciation).
Pipérade ? festival
On Friday evening there was a party for which Betsy and Kristin had prepared ten quiches and other food. The Americans and many of the French attended, but there was a distinct clustering of like-with-like. At one point, Kristin came around with François’s uncle Jacques, one of four brothers of François’s father Joseph. Jacques speaks good English. Kristin announced that Jacques was planning to tour the beret factory in Oloron, and wanted to know if anyone wanted to go. Now, one of the points of interest we had tried to see during our 1990 trip to France was a beret factory in Oloron, which was supposed to be the primary producer of berets; however, we had been unable to locate a factory or even a store on the day we were there. When Kristin announced this opportunity, Susan jumped on it with such enthusiasm that it had to be explained to everyone who heard her. She asked when this tour would take place, and realized it would be while she was helping with the decoration of the reception hall. Nonetheless, she volunteered me to attend, and commanded me to take pictures. No one else seemed interested, and I made arrangements to meet Jacques on Saturday morning.
Next: Beret Workshop