We are now at the top of the roller coaster ride. It’s the peak. The summit. The spot when we start our rapid descent from the craziest part of the tourist season into the cooler and calmer days of September.
Locals have told us that the heaviest load of tourists runs from July 15 to August 15, which seems like a reasonable estimate. But I’d say the peak load lasts a bit longer, until the tourists from England, the Netherlands, Belgium, and other parts of France start packing up their tents and caravans and taking the kids back home to get ready for school. As for now, it’s still madness.
One sign of the madness is the annual festival — the four-day festival, it must be noted — in Daglan. My wife Jan and I have been coping by trying our best to ignore it. For instance, on Friday, we skipped the open-air dinner and then the dancing that went on until 2 or 3 in the morning, and instead remained in our TV room/den, trying to stay cool. (It’s been over 40 degrees Celsius lately, which is well over 100 Fahrenheit.)
Yesterday, we had the clever idea of taking the train south from Belves to Agen, which seems like a lovely town — but it was so hot we could manage little more than wandering around a bit, having lunch at a brasserie, buying some dinnerware, and taking an early train home. By the way, Agen is famous as the hotbed of French rugby (very, very popular in southwest France) and the home of les pruneaux d’Agen. If you’re a prune fan (I had a delicious prune tart for dessert in Agen), you may want to consider a visit. Look at what’s coming up!
Today, we thought we would be smart and miss the traffic in Daglan, by visiting the weekly market in Cazals — one of our favourites in the Greater Daglan Area (or GDA). Well, who knew that today was the day of the annual Foire du Troc, which I will translate loosely as the Festival of Stuff that Even Your Grandmother Would Find Hokey and Useless. Nevertheless, that catchy title brought in people from all over the Lot (the department just south of the Dordogne) and from — well, just about everywhere else in France. It was madness, with cars parked everywhere. Here is just one peek:
And then at 4 p.m. today, we left our house to watch the parade that is one of the highlights of Daglan’s four-day festival extravaganza. And guess what? It was only about an hour late in starting, which is pretty good here in the CDT time zone (that’s Central Daglan Time). This year’s theme was the Liberation of France, which seemed fairly promising — and potentially a bit politically touchy, given that we do entertain visitors from, well, other parts of Europe. But it was all good, as you’ll see from this one photo of a guy I’ll call The French Patient. (In fact, I have so many photos — including some beauties of Charles de Gaulle — that I’ll share them in future postings. Once I’ve had a nap or two.)