The last weekend of March, I took a trip to southwestern France to visit a friend of my high school French teacher.  The main reason was to observe her using TPRS in the classroom (mentioned briefly here) and to talk to her about it, but also to see a different part of France, and one that’s NOT a big city!  This country girl has been hurting for some wide-open spaces.

Port-Sainte-Marie, where the teacher lives, is marked in red.  It's really near Agen and between Toulouse and Bordeaux.

Port-Sainte-Marie, where the teacher lives, is marked in red. It’s really near Agen and between Toulouse and Bordeaux.

I definitely got some country sights in that weekend!  Judy (the teacher) and I took a walk one day and I really enjoyed seeing the fields and different sights.  The weather that day was CRAZY- it went between raining and sunshining like every 10 minutes!

The view out my bedroom window.  Rain.

The view out my bedroom window. Rain.

There were lots of fruit trees nearby: peach, cherry, apple, and more I can’t remember.


I asked Judy while they’re trimmed like that, and she said it’s to pick them easier.  Makes sense, but they sure look strange!  Like gnarled old women.


There were some more normal-looking ones.  Anyone know which fruit all these trees grow?  I sure don’t.

After our walk (we got rained on, btw. See how the sky changed in the last picture?) Judy and I headed out to see a small town nearby, Nerac.  On the way, we drove by Vianne, a walled city.  We didn’t stop, but we drove through; it was cool to stop for a moment in the center and be able to see all four entrances into the city!

(Side note: totally thought I had snapped a picture of Vianne, but I guess I didn’t, or it got lost somewhere.  It looked like this.)

Then we made it to Nerac.  The first thing Judy pointed out was a mill; I guess King Henry IV used to sign some of his documents “Henry the Miller” because of this mill.


Next we went to a chocolate factory and shop.  Does Judy know me, or what??  It was fitting because it was the day before Easter.  There was a chocolate fountain at the entrance and a sign that read, “Is chocolate good for your health?”


I walked out with just one thing: a little chocolate snail.  Funnily enough, we had escargot for dinner at Judy’s that night!


Whoa sorry for the blurry picture. Snapped it with my phone.

After the chocolate factory (where I did NOT get turned into a blueberry), we headed to Henri IV’s castle.  Only one wing of it is still standing, but it’s open to visitors.   Something cool: there are 12 columns out in front and they all look twisted, but one is twisted the opposite way.  Can you guess why?


The 12 columns represent the disciples and the one going the other way represents Judas, the traitor.

The castle was cool.  I saw a medieval toilet…


and managed to NOT hit my head on a super-short doorway.


The next day, I had some time to walk around Agen before my train back to Toulouse.  The only things I snapped pictures of were two big churches.  It was Easter and I was sad that I couldn’t go to church, but at least I saw a few!



I took the train to Toulouse, put my bag in a locker (THANK GOODNESS that thing was heavy), and then spent the day walking around until my flight back to Nice that night.  The first place I went was the main square where the town hall is, La Place du Capitole.  In front of the hall there’s a huge car-free area for pedestrians, surrounded by shops and cafes.


I realize you can’t see much of the building behind me, but it’s one of the only pictures I took of myself that day 🙂

Next I went to the Church of the Jacobins, where there’s a huge palm tree made of a column, with a mirror below it.  Wait, that doesn’t make any sense.  Here’s a picture.


It goes all the way up to the ceiling and has wooden “branches” coming out of it so it looks like a palm tree.  The thing is HUGE and when you look in the mirror at the base, it looks even taller.


Note my small camera.  I didn’t feel like lugging my big one with me, and boy did I miss it!  The quality of photos was seriously decreased with my small camera.

I saw the biggest bridge in Toulouse, Pont Neuf…


and a school that was decorated with crocheted sweater-things around the trees.  Right up my alley!


This building made me laugh.  Just a skinny little guy!


I went and saw this amazing church (number four of the day! Woo Easter) but for the life of me, I can’t figure out which church it is.  For once, Google is failing me.  Maybe it’s the Basilica de St. Sernin… can anyone help me out?  I guess this is why you don’t wait nearly a month to write posts… ahem.


The rest of the shots are too terrible to even include, but here’s one.  Poor little eBay camera was struggling.


Despite the still-chilly-ish weather, there were some beautiful flowers in bloom.


I got more nature in a couple different parks I went to.  It was a sunny day, and they were full of people!


That’s more like it, eBay camera.


I made it a point to walk out to the Port de l’Embouchure, where the Canal du Midi, Brienna Canal, and the Garonne River all join together.


After that, I finally walked back to the train station, got my bag, and took the train out to the airport.  It was a LONG day of walking but a good Easter, all things considered!  My sister texted me some pictures of her (big belly!!) and my parents all dressed up in their Easter best, so that made me happy.  And I was glad to see a different region of France!

Categories: Teaching, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Port-Sainte-Marie/Nérac/Agen/Toulouse

  1. Clarette

    You are quite the traveler, missy. If I ever go to Europe, you’re coming with! Very glad you found some wide open spaces. That would have been true for me, too. I was out in the country last Saturday, and i LOVED it. I laughed out loud at the skinny building – too funny!

  2. Mom

    So glad you post about all your adventures! I really enjoy experiencing them thru you! We missed Christmas church on our trip and now you’ve missed Easter too. Maybe we could celebrate Christmas and Easter at Ill City Encounter this summer. I’ll hint to Pastor Toni.

  3. Dad

    Nice trip! We sure enjoy going along with you. AfBen have some of those upside down grafted limb trees in their yard.

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