36 years ago today, I became a mother when Christian Lee was born. He has enriched my life beyond words…..brought me my highest highs and my lowest lows. I couldn’t be more proud of him or love him more. Joyeux anniversaire, ma chéri.
Feeling nostalgic, we spent the morning sharing happy, funny, touching stories of Chris….like the time he was four and we were camping at Yellowstone….he danced around the campground singing “a bientot….A Bientot….A BIENTOT”. We thought it was cute at the time, now we think he might have been French in a previous life (he’ll deny this, of course).
With the morning half-over, came the realization that we’ll probably turn in the wheelchair next week so we decided to use it today to visit a city that I probably won’t be able to maneuver on crutches…. Carcassonne…..with a stop in Castelnaudary to see where Chateau Miaou is located.
We should have taken this drive earlier…..there were fields of sunflowers as far as the eye could see…. now past their prime but they would have been at their glorious peak a few weeks ago. We must return next summer to see these fields awash in yellow and green.
We were unsuccessful in our first attempt to find the cattery but, being close to Castelnaudary, we drove into town for lunch. Castelnaudary, a small town on the “Grande Bassin” of the Canal du Midi, is the capital of “cassoulet”…. French pork and beans…. “which, according to tradition, must be made in an earthenware pot from Issel (a cassolo) with beans grown in Pamiers or Lavelanet, and cooked in a baker’s oven fired with rushes from the Montagne Noire.”*
I don’t know whether or not they followed the traditional recipe, but the cassoulet we had at Maison de Cassoulet was delicious…..a mild, yet savory blend of beans, sausage and duck. Much too much for either one of us to finish…..wish they had doggie bags in France.
Using a different road back to Carcassonne, we finally spotted Chateau Miaou. If only hadn’t been closed for the afternoon…. we would have liked to have seen what will be Felix’s home-away-from-home when we return to California later this month.
On to Carcassonne….. we parked as near to the entrance as we could and wound our way to the entrance of the castle. There was a “wheelchair” placard showing the route for us to take, but “handicapped accessible” must have a different meaning here. After rolling along a nice smooth walkway, we were dumped out on the street to fend for ourselves. The entrance to the castle is cobblestone….it proved too difficult to roll both me and the chair over the stones so I had to walk in on my cannes. Inside, the walkways are mainly sloped brick….much easier for rolling ….so we spent a pleasant afternoon exploring the alleys and shops in this medieval city.
After a leisurely drive home, some quality outdoor time for Felix and a few aperitifs for us, it was time to call it a day….a most wonderful day.
À Bientôt…..see you soon!