Friday, May 15, 2015

Our Return to France to See GREAT Friends

Thursday, 14 May, 2015:


Today's plan only had two parts.

First, a visit over lunch with France's most knowledgable man in all things related to baseball, American football and the geography of Provence, Olivier Rival. This would require us to leave the Iberian Peninsula and cross into southwest France's Basque Country.

After our lunch we would continue on in France for a few days, spending the night in Toulouse.

Our quaint Hotel Donosti in
San Sebastain/Donostia

The hotel served a solid breakfast

We would meet Olivier in this
gorgeous French coastal village

Oh goodness, a French boulangerie

I wonder if they also have croissants or a pain au chocolates?

Why yes, they do serve
decent croissants in France!

Foie Gras, we're in heaven

They sell wine in St-Jean-de-Luz too

There are snappy dressers in this village

St-Jean-de-Luz is a coastal city

King Louis XIV

He was married in the beautiful Basque style church in St-Jean-de-Luz.

Place Louis XIV

This was our rendezvous point with Olivier.

Ascension Thursday is a National Holiday in France which is why a concert was about to start.

Music lovers on Place Louis XIV

Suddenly I was distracted from the music

Kids dreaming of someday playing
in the wind instrument section

What a beautiful day for a concert!

What do you think of the band?

We loved them!

Olivier and his two children, Antoine and Emma, arrived and he then led us on a walking tour of the city.

Walled up doorway to the main church

After the ceremony in St-Jean-de-Luz's Basque style church that joined King Louis XIV of France to Spain's Princess Marie Therése in wedded bliss in 1660, they walked out of this doorway. Afterwards, the doorway was sealed as some sort of a tribute to the occasion.

This beach will be crowded in the Summer

Chili Peppers, time for lunch

We had a marvelous lunch at the Restaurant Aux Pigeons Blancs with Olivier, his wife Carole, their two children and, to a pleasant surprise, former TCU walk-on French QB Baptiste Mullot who we had met in Dijon in 2013.

Baptiste is now working with Olivier at Quiksilver Sporting Apparel's French division.

Emma, Olivier, Antoine and Carole

During lunch, Emma convinced me that soon having a granddaughter will be just a whole lot of fun!

Antoine, Baptiste, Emma, Olivier and me

We had yet another great experience over a fine meal while talking over American football in France and Spain, as well as catching up on each other's lives.

Again, it is all about the wonderful people that you meet during the EuroBall experience.

Merci mon amis!!!

Heading back to the car after lunch,
Laurie saw a shoe store

I got off easy, only two pair of authentic espardrilles were purchased.

Now it was on to Toulouse . . .

. . . in the rain . . .

. . . LOTS of rain

While word reached us that the temperatures in Murcia had soared into the 105 degree range today, in Southern France we had rain with temperatures in the low 60s.

The rain stopped us from making any snap decisions about route changes such as a detour to Lourdes. 

We pushed on to relatively dry Toulouse.

Crowded Restaurant Queue

Toulouse was overcast but dry. We were hungry and our well situated hotel had about 40 restaurants in a five block radius to pick from.

But first we needed an ATM,
this one with a football logo worked for us

We love chocolate!

This was our restaurant of choice

We were not disappointed in the least. As it turns out, the food in France is pretty darn fabulous.

Who knew?

We will continue our March towards Lyon on Friday to hopefully be there in time for our beloved Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons' DII playoff game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Next Circumnavigation Tour Stop: Aix-en-Provence, France


Olivier R said...

The "football logo" on the bank is actually a stylised squirrel George!

George said...

No, it is a stylized American football emblematic of the rise of the sport in France. At least that is what I think.