A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 10 January 2008


From Cahors to Moissac it's a further 70 km along the pilgrim route. I walked this in 3 days. The 1st night I spent at the highly recommended private gîte, Le Souleillou, near Montcuq, run by the welcoming Jacques and his wife Simone. The evening meal was exceptional as Simone was an excellent cook. I passed a most relaxing and entertaining evening in the company of Théa and Béat, a Swiss couple, and their gorgeous husky dog; and Jean-Pierre Jorres, the French actor, and his charming wife Arlette. The 2nd night was spent in unusual luxury at the Auberge de l'Aube Nouvelle (another superb dinner - I was spoiling myself!) The 3rd night I arrived at Moissac and slept there in a spotless gîte d'étape which was a former Carmelite monastery situated on a hill above the town.

Moissac is a major stopover on the pilgrimage trail, well known for its Benedictine monastery, the Abbey of Saint-Pierre. In the abbey church I was most impressed by the medieval Romanesque sculpture (1st photo shows a polychrome Holy Family carved from wood), the 12th century tympanum over the south porch (2nd photo shows a detail from this) and the 15th century cloister enclosing a garden with an enormous cedar tree at its centre. The capitals of the cloister's marble columns are composed of extraordinarily delicate carvings of animals, plants, saints and Biblical characters (3rd photo).

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