Archive for the ‘France’ Category


Visit to Toulouse August 2018

Finished by trip to France with a few days in Toulouse. My second visit after several years. Toulouse has much to see, a mix of an old and historic centre and more modern avenues and boulevards. The Garonne river and the Canal du Midi cut right through the city creating open spaces and an airy feel. Add the many parks and gardens and some nice walks can be had.

I have a few pictures here. The Roman arena was viewed through the fence as it is open only on a Sunday afternoon. In truth there isn’t a great deal to actually see as the remains are scant. It was reckoned however to have had a capacity of 7,000 with a later extension perhaps raising this to 10 or 12,000. The location is strange, being a long way outside the city in what must have been a farming area. I had this vision of the fans tramping home miserably after a poor game, no trams or buses in those days and probably the taxi chariot driver didn’t turn up. Most of the Roman period legacy of Toulouse is long buried under more recent buildings. Toulouse escaped mass destruction during World War Two so much of the early city centre is intact, including the  11th century brick built Cathedral.

I have tried to find out more about the barn at Barricou but failed. It is obviously very old. It sits rather incongruously in a modern linear park out near the Airbus Industries plant.

Visit to Toulouse August 2018

Tagged: on August 31, 2018 by cubsur51

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Visit to Albi August 2018

A very popular tourist destination, Albi is known as the Red City because of the many distinctive red brick buildings, including the massive cathedral. Some pictures now via this link!Am0w7qp9HCpqhJlUer8fbIVgquMdSg

For those without cars, Albi is 1 hour by train from Toulouse. There are also trains from Paris via Rodez including one of the few remaining domestic overnight trains in the country.

Visit to Albi August 2018

Tagged: on August 22, 2018 by cubsur51

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Took a day out last week to visit the town of Lesparre, primarily to the Tour de L´Honneur. The Tour is all that remains of a 12th century castle which one dominated the area and was in fact English until the year 1453, that same year of the battle of Castillon which marked the end of the 100 years war.


Lesparre has a huge church, the church (in English) of Our Lady of the Assumption, whose tower hits the sky. Close inspection reveals part of it to be in very poor condition.


The Tour de L´Honneur houses a nice collection of exhibits from recent and more distant times agriculture, wine making and resin collection. They also have special themed events in the grounds.

My pictures at!Am0w7qp9HCpqhJkSeNGMTu_cibOEHw

The tower is open for afternoon visits (1430 to 1830) between March and October except on Sundays and holidays. In July and August it is also open in the mornings from 1030 to 1230 except Mondays. It is closed at lunchtimes. The exhibits are labelled only in French but there is a brief guide available in other languages.

It is NOT suitable for those with mobility issues. A spiral staircase is required to reach the upper floors and the roof.

Free parking outside. For those without cars it is 5 minutes walk from Lesparre railway station (local trains from Bordeaux) which is also where local buses stop. The town centre, with all the usual amenities, is also about 5 minutes walk.

You can read about it on Wikipedia at

Visit to Lesparre

Tagged: , , on August 16, 2018 by cubsur51

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One is new, in the old docks area. Art by one Suzanne Treister, completed about a year ago.


In the background is the looming mass of the World War 2 U boat base.

The second dates from 1938 and is an air raid shelter in ‘Flash Gordon’ style. It’s not accessible, being behind a tall fence in what is now a large government works depôt. A nearby plaque tells its story. I assume the shape is intended to deflect bombs but the designer clearly had influences.



As with many one time dock areas, new building is fast changing the area. It is still criss-crossed with long abandoned railway tracks, but apartment blocks are springing up all over.


No sign of this civic improvement around the base, which is no longer accessible to the public except on special occasions. Signs of the damage caused in 1944 and 1945 are still visible.


Two strange shapes in Bordeaux

on August 15, 2018 by cubsur51

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As you may know by now, the whole area is littered with them. I took advantage of a couple of cool days to better explore two areas I had not before. The first was up on the hill behind the railway station, amid dense woodland. This was the location of an artillery observation tower and command post plus ancillary buildings. Modern building has encroached on the southern part of the site but, buried in the woods by the water tower, are the remains of several large structures. There’s a map showing them at
Not all are still there and some are too dangerous to enter, although not fenced off in any way.

To the north of town are the remains of several large complexes including radar stations, barracks and anti aircraft defences. Some of these are in remarkably good condition considering the years that have passed and the violent events that took place in April 1945.

The final liberation on April 20, 1945, was made after 7 days of fierce fighting, in which 380 French were killed and 843 wounded, 937 Germans killed and 3,300 taken prisoner.

My pictures –!Am0w7qp9HCpqhJh5fpg1FO-Q-CYe4A

Bunkers of Soulac

Tagged: , on August 13, 2018 by cubsur51

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I have left the coast and have returned to Bordeaux, where it is much hotter! I have a few more pictures to deal with from my time there, which will be here shortly. On Monday I am travelling to Toulouse . I have not been there for a good few years, so it will be an interesting visit. I hope to be able to visit Albi (Toulouse Lautrec and all that), maybe Carcassonne again providing it is not raining this time, or perhaps somewhere new.

I leave the seaside and return to the city

Tagged: on August 11, 2018 by cubsur51

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It was extremely hot over the weekend, not the weather to be charging around on a bicycle. Just a few pictures from a couple of walks around the town.

The local bees were busy at work.


Selfish and inconsiderate parking is not just a Portuguese thing! A busy roundabout on the edge of town. So what if the peasants have to walk into the road? Not my problem!!


About the size of a large dinner plate. Is it poisonous? You poke it with your toe and find out!


The beach area known as Les Cantines just to the north of Soulac. The cantines are the remains of sea defences built in the 1930’s.


Looking south towards the buildings at the top of the beach.


The old defences are gradually crumbling…


… and in places the sand has covered them to some depth.



Miscellany from around Soulac.

Tagged: , , on August 7, 2018 by cubsur51

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