Mark had played in a golf tournament in Carcassonne earlier in the day. He had enjoyed it, played reasonably well, and thought attending the prize giving reception at l'hotel would be interesting, as we had never been inside it before.
It was a pleasant evening, wine and canapés were served and the views from the back of the hotel, where the reception was held, were fabulous.
|all views in Carcassonne are fabulous, but some are hidden, like this one, from the gardens of the hotel.|
|Mark, on the right, with another prize winner.|
Yesterday, we returned from our trip to Pau. We went by train, from Carcassonne, changing at Toulouse, through Lourdes and onto Pau. It was a brilliant train journey. The Pyrenees looked fabulous, Lourdes looked as bizarre as it always does, and we were able to chat, read and relax as we watched the country side go by.
Sharing a compartment with a young French man, pony tail tied into a stylish top knot, while he read Zola's " Germinal" seemed perfect. ( Note to self: I will read "Germinal" in French sometime soon ).
|The free funicular railway, connecting the railway station with the terraced walkway which gives visitors to Pau such a fabulous view of the Pyrenees.|
Pau is a great city. We wandered, visited the chateau, (and took the excellent guided tour....in French, and coped ! ), ate good food, looked around Galeries Lafayette, spent some time in the hotel pool and spa, saw an amazing sunset, people watched and mountain watched.
|Much of the chateau was renovated by Louis Philippe and then Napoleon III in the 19th century, but it had been the birthplace of "Le bon roi Henri IV", from the late 16th & early 17th century.|
|Spectacular tapestries are found in the chateau, most from the 16th and 17th century.....and we were allowed to take photos as long as the flash was turned off. The colours were stunning.|
|Henri IV as a boy|
|Sunset over Pau.|
|The sun shone, we walked for miles, and I particularly liked the shadow of this balustrading which ran for several hundred metres along a terrace, providing long distant mountain views.|
All this would have been good, but the whole experiences was considerably enhanced by the hotel deciding to upgrade us. Instead of the normal ( very nice) hotel room in this 5 star establishment, we were given a suite, with living room and balcony overlooking the mountains, bedroom, with balcony overlooking the mountains, dressing room and bathroom. The bed was huge, and the complimentary cakes, bon-bons, fruit juices, nuts and other little treats kept appearing.
|view from our balcony, over the park and to the mountains|
I have suggested to Mark that he introduces such sponsored prizes at his golf club in England.....where they delight in awarding monstrosities as previously described. I don't hold out much chance. However, if Mark wants to carry on playing lots of golf in Carcassonne, I will continue to approve and wish him luck every time he heads off to play.
|Me, wrapped in the sumptuous towelling robe, after a swim and a sauna.....reading on our balcony.|