Journey Diary_ Man’s Greatest Pal

Journey notes from the actual France. Carnet de Voyage is a weekly private journey story in France despatched in by readers. Should you’d like to put in writing a narrative for Carnet de Voyage, head right here for particulars on tips on how to submit. That each the Pyrénées Shepherd and Nice Pyrénées canine breeds originated within the Pyrénées Mountains may appear apparent, however I used to be unaware of an annual Fête des Chiens (Canine Pageant) to rejoice them till my spouse heard an oblique reference to the occasion and requested me to analyze. We’ve got a Nice Pyrenees as a member of our California household, a 100+ pound white sweetheart that neighborhood youngsters typically assume is a polar bear, so I used to be motivated to start out investigating. We discovered {that a} competition is held each September in Argelès-Gazost on the foot of the Pyrénées Mountains, about 13km from the well-known pilgrimage city of Lourdes. Canine lovers from throughout Europe convey their Nice Pyrénées canines, generally known as Patou in France, for the present and cultural celebration.

In early September we flew to Bordeaux, rented a automobile and drove via the historic and picturesque Aquitaine in southwest France to Argelès-Gazost. It’s a charming city nestled on the base of the Pyrénées with an exquisite animal park and a splendid parc thermal (thermal baths) the place the French come for therapies, therapeutic massage, and many others. The park contains a big garden with open areas for kids to play, pétanque courts (just like bocce) and a on line casino, all simply steps from the city middle. The following day greater than 100 large white canines arrived, prancing via the park and city; you would not assist however look and smile! Nice Pyrenees are by custom livestock guardian canines, taking cost when the shepherd needed to depart his flock unattended. They’re very good, perceive they’re in cost and may be ferocious if a predator ought to strategy. However the canines at this competition all behaved like large white teddy bears, eagerly accepting consideration and pets. As in lots of canine reveals, there was a greatest in present occasion with canines and their handlers trotting earlier than the judges – critical enterprise for breeders. However there was additionally a relaxed parade via the city’s important streets that introduced the city’s regular hustle briefly to a standstill, a lot to the pleasure of all. Then we sat with our new canine pal, loved an apéritif and listened to competition performers singing conventional songs.

We stayed on the Lodge Miramont and it was great. The three-star resort is housed a former Rothchild residence, now a small resort with snug lodging and a terrific restaurant named Des Petits Pois Sont Rouges. It actually means the inexperienced peas are purple, but it surely’s a phonetic joke. When spoken quick in French it appears like “little goldfish” – Des Petits Poissons Rouges (In French, goldfish are purple!) From breakfast via dinner the meals was implausible! After our first meal we eagerly signed up for demi-pension, every day breakfast and dinner, as a part of our lodging. We took facet journeys to satisfy canine breeders at their farms and located climbing trails with spectacular views of the encircling peaks. The Pyrénées are as stunning because the Alps, if a little bit decrease in altitude. Now after we stroll our personal canine in California, we think about the response a parade of Nice Pyrénées would elicit right here however are content material with our personal French polar bear! Learn our different Carnet de Voyage entries right here

John was launched to France within the first yr of a brand new program launched by his alma mater, Colby School, Junior 12 months in Caen (Normandy). Courses had been supplied in language and tradition and included a category in gastronomy the place college students and college loved a memorable connoisseur lunch as soon as a month. As typically happens, life’s instructions modified and John spent 30 years within the excessive tech trade in Silicon Valley. His job required vital journey, however, alas, to not France. After retiring within the early 2,000’s he had the pleasure of introducing his spouse to the gorgeous nation he remembered from school days. The journey on this story was their first journey collectively to France, however not their final!

Lead picture credit score : The Fête des Chiens in Argelès-Gazost © John Guislin