Najac is usually a busy place, but on a rainy day in February we had it pretty much to ourselves
After a tour and lunch in the only restaurant that was open The “Air du Temps” offered a warm welcome and a hand written menu, a good start. Basically a crepe and galette place. There was also a selection of daily specials. Everything was freshly made and good value.
On from Najac to Villefranche de Rouergue, a proper bastide and much bigger than Sauveterre. A very popular market is held every Thursday morning, but today the town is quiet and there is plenty of time to visit the cathedral, explore the medieval streets and stroll along the river (now the river has receded a bit! last time I was here the river had flooded the footpath.)
We are lucky enough to have some fine example of bastide towns within easy driving distance, so on a misty morning in February we took our guests on a tour which included the nearest and with a little poetic justice the impressive town of Najac.
First stop Sauveterre, a small but classic bastide town where the central square and the old town walls are very easy to see. The town attracts artists and artisans; there are workshops where you can buy paintings, drawings, sculpture, traditional knives and even hats. There are also several lunch options from the basic to the rather splendid “Le Sénéchal”
Spring with a question mark about sums it up. The long, cold and extraordinarily wet winter has become a very wet spring. On odd days it suddenly feels like midsummer with temperatures in the 30s, but we are soon plunged back into the grey and damp, apparently while the UK has record high temperatures……..the irony!
It’s not all bad. Everywhere is a lush green and nature is still doing its stuff. Dandelions turn the some fields turn yellow then white, others are white with daisies. The hedgerows are full of birds and flowers.
On balance I think I’ll stick with it!
At the end of February I had the privilege of showing one of my nephew’s and his wife around my little corner of France. They braved the coldest month of the year and gave me a great excuse to show them round and to revisit some places I hadn’t seen for a while.
Marcillac market on Sunday mornings is very busy in the summer months, but on a bright cold morning in February it is still vibrant but calmer and it’s much easier to park!
The produce on sale include local specialities: farçous, tripoux, tête de veau. Some greek treats including keftedhes and baklava. A fabulous cheese stall supplied direct from the producers in the mountains of Cantal (and I have been here long enough to be pretty blazé about local cheeses, so trust me when I say they’re good!) and the local Marcillac wine also direct from the producer, a stall that can get very lively as the tastings get underway.
Just down the road towards Rodez, is the village of Salles la Source. There is a lovely nature trail, a museum of local crafts but we visited the waterfall. One of the advantages of the wet winter is that the “cascade” is at its most dramatic. A truly magical place.