Gretchen Markle

Travel Blog

(posted on 19 Jan 2017)

Yesterday we went to see a small village over the ridge to the west, St-Sever-de-Rustan. Straddling a decent sized river, the village is the site of a Benedictine monastery originally founded in about 800 AD. The abbey was destroyed time and again during the various wars over the centuries, but nevertheless it grew into a tall, sprawling citadel that is now mostly derelict. Various bits even got sold off. The city of Tarbes bought the cloister back in the early 20th century and moved it down to their formal gardens. Strange...

The surrounding village is quite typical of towns around here - mostly two and three story houses butted up against one another along narrow, twisting streets:


Then today we drove north to Miélan for the market. It was a lovely drive up the valley, surrounded the entire way by cultivated fields in a patchwork of golds, browns, russets and green. The market itself consisted of only a few vendors, but we got to see another town, and we bought an absolutely fabulous croissant at the small bakery off the town square. We also checked out the church, rather time-worn around the edges, but not over-the-top like the Spanish churches, and obviously well used. It's great to be able to do some small-scale exploration like this. The round trip, including our shopping and a brief amble around town (it was bitterly cold, so we didn't stroll for long), took just over an hour.


The French roads are great. The main roads are smooth, wide and clear. The smaller, rural roads run through beautiful wooded areas and, though not terribly wide, have hardly any traffic. Quite often, we go to our destination and back without meeting more than half a dozen cars, if any at all!