Saturday, May 12, 2018

Capestang, dogs in France, old vehicles, French "rules" and poppies among the vines

It was only last night that we decided to visit Capestang, a 25 minute drive from where we're staying. There are still so many places we'd like to see (Minerve, Servian, Collioure, Termes, Serignan...etc.) but we could pick only one because our trip is coming to an end. Tomorrow we drive back to Toulouse to stay the night and then fly home on Monday. It has been a wonderful trip and I cannot believe how many gorgeous places we have visited. I have literally hundreds of photos to go through. And I may do some more posts about our trip once we're home.

But back to Capestang. It's an old hilltop town with a tall Gothic church and an old chateau that was the summer residence of the Bishops from Narbonne. Today it's vibrant, at least it appeared so. There was a big gathering of classic cars taking place there. Aficionados were gathering in a big parking lot to show of their old cars and sell and trade their stuff.

There were lots of people there milling around, many with their dogs. Of course I took more interest in the dogs than in the cars. But that's a girl thing, I guess.

And speaking of dogs, the French people we've seen here just love their dogs and they take them everywhere. Dogs are welcome at outdoor cafes and even inside classy restaurants. I think it's because the dogs are very well behaved. They don't jump up on people or bark or fight with other dogs. Today we saw this dog sitting quietly in a chair at an outdoor cafe.  This dog knows how to behave. I can't help thinking if we trained our dogs better in Canada we might be able to get the same privileges for them in cafes.  But somehow I doubt it.

Capestang had the usual mix of castles and churches and lovely manor houses hidden behind gates. 

We found a lovely restaurant in this quiet little square. La Galiniere is an upscale restaurant and on a Saturday at 1:00 in the afternoon was filled with French families. We didn't have a reservation but they found a nice table for two. We ordered from the a la carte menu.  I had fish in tomato and basil sauce with some lovely red caviar on top. Harry chose a casserole of shrimp and prawns and we shared a wonderful creamy lemon desert. I guess I should have taken a photo of the food--but by the time I had thought of it, we'd already messed up the plates. 
This poster was framed on the wall and I was thrilled to be able to translate (more or less) these "Rules of the House."

Say good morning and good night
Believe in yourself
Don't complain
Do what you love
Be happy each day
Laugh at jokes
Say please and thank you
Do your best
Hold your head high
Don't talk with your mouth full
Always try
Excuse yourself if it's too hard (not sure about this one)
Say I love you
Accept our differences
Keep your promises 
Love one another
Be respectful
Tell good stories.

I've been reading a book about French culture called "The Bonjour Effect" and I believe that these "rules" really reflect the French approach to life.  We've so enjoyed our interactions with the people here. They've been unfailingly helpful and kind, putting up with our fractured French with a smile. It was a good last day.

And best of all, I found the photo opp I've been looking for--poppies growing among the vines. The vineyards are really starting to come to life, and so are the poppies. My dream was to photograph them together and today on the way to Capestang I found the spot. Isn't this beautiful?

A fitting end to our trip to Languedoc, I think.


  1. What a wonderful trip you have had! Love the photo of the bull terrier in the outdoor cafe. We have had dinner in elegant restaurants with dogs lying quietly under the tables in France. Will have to read the book you mentioned, it is a lovely culture in so many ways and staying as you have in apartments and shopping in the markets as a base is one of the best ways to experience it. Safe travels home!

    1. I know you will enjoy The Bonjour Effect. We will be bringing it back with us so you can borrow it. It's fascinating.

  2. I have enjoyed your trip almost as you did !
    Love the dog sitting at the table with his friend. So adorable.
    Have a safe and restful trip home.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Thanks Parsnip. The trip back is the hardest part of a vacation--although it will be nice to be home again.

  3. Safe travels back home. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures!


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