Day 417: Roquefort & AlbiApril 7 in France
Up and out again, and heading west across the countryside. First stop was the town of Roquefort, home of the strong blue cheese! It's not a regionally protected name, like champagne is, but a lot of Roquefort cheese is still made in the area and as soon as I got out of the car I could smell it!
We had a look in a couple of shops and the underground caves where the mould is grown on the cheese, then had some samples and ended up buying a cheese of course. It was probably a bit strong for my liking but will see how we go!
Another hour or so in the car and we arrived at the Episcopal City of Albi, today's world heritage site. This was at the centre of a religious controversy in the 14th century, when some locals decided that their brand of Christianity was different to the standard Catholic doctrine (the major difference AFAICT is that they considered God in the Old Testament to be "evil God", while in the New Testament he was "good God", rather than the Holy Trinity). A minor crusade and some stake burnings later, Albi was once again under the thumb of the Catholic church.
To show off their power, a massive fortress style cathedral was built, and next to it a large palace for the local bishop. Both of these still exist, largely unchanged since the 14th century and very impressive. They're excellent examples of what medieval fortifications were like, so we spent some time wandering around and filming. These days the palace houses a museum dedicated to Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, the early modern artist who was born in the area.
There's also an impressive old bridge that's one of the oldest road bridges still in use in France. Filming done by mid-afternoon, I headed to our hotel on the edge of town while Shandos went to the Toulouse-Latrec museum. We'd again chosen a budget hotel but this one was much newer and quite a bit nicer. Still fairly bare-bones, but again completely fine for one night. Had dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant across the road, nice to have some variety of cuisine for a change!
It's funny, I'd said to Shandos that unlike say Italian, where you can easily rattle off several distinct styles, or even Spanish or German cooking where you can do the same. French cooking is just so associated with various types of gastronomy that I find it difficult to separate it out from other types of cooking. But the bread is uniformly excellent - we've eaten a lot of baguettes so far!Read more