The Walnut Route

Looking towards Autoire from the cascade of Autoire.

Looking towards Autoire from the cascade of Autoire.

The last two days have seen us driving ever narrower roads to visit various scenic villages in the Bave and Lot valleys.  This area is known for its walnut production and all of the roads we were on were signmarked as being part of the “Route de Noix.”  Another, “who knew” moment.

We are using a Michelin green guide and trying to follow its directions.  Suffice it to say that the directions are minimal and our driving involves lots of backtracking and gives Michael ample opportunity to demonstrate the incredible patience for which I love him.

Yesterday, we began in St. Cere and then meandered through the unbelievably beautiful village of Autoire.  St. Cere (there should be accents on both of those e’s) has 15th and 17th century houses in its center . . . and, I believe, cobwebs that are at least that old.

Just before we arrived in Autoire, we parked the car and took a little hike up to the cascades on the river and to an overlook that gave us a great view of the entire valley.  More villages, more gorgeous views.  We had spectacular weather, which was the icing on our walnut gateau . . . although the walnut gateau I had last night came with custard sauce, walnut ice cream, and whipped cream . . . no icing at all.

Today was another glorious fall day and we headed out to the market at Martel where we bought some of the most expensive cookies I have ever seen.  The vendor must have seen the look of horror on my face when she told me how much they were because she added several handsful of other cookies as a “present.”

At one point on our drive, the Michelin guide told us to take a right hand turn to go to the site of the Moulin du Limon where we would see “the ruins of an old mill and a chasm overgrown with greenery [which forms] a charming setting.”  Well, I was up for another charming setting, so we tried to find the place.  One problem that Americans have, I think, is that many public roads in Europe look more like private driveways in the states; it is very uncomfortable to head off on them.  As we twisted our way up the single lane road, past farmstead doors that opened directly onto the road, we began to question the rightness of our right hand turn.  The road deteriorated into two gravel tracks with grass in the middle.  We never did find a mill, ruined or not . . . nor did we find a chasm.  But it was a lovely drive.

And, now, we are safe and sound back in Rocamadour and can look forward to a calming bottle (or two) of wine before night descends upon the town.  Big sigh of relief.

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1 Response to The Walnut Route

  1. Joan Robinson says:

    Your pictures and descriptions are wonderful; I almost feel as though I were there! (Instead, I am in Atlanta enjoying a baby, which has its own rewards.)

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