For our last day in Cruzy, we decided to revisit a village we have been to on both of our previous trips: Minerve. It has Cathar connections, of course, but it is primarily a delightful little place to explore. Our weather was mixed with clouds one minute and sun the next but we had no rain and the temperature was mild, so, it was a good day for wandering.
The first wonderful thing that happened in Minerve was that the miniature museum was finally open. On both of our previous visits, the shop had been closed up tight: The first time for a funeral; the second, for a family emergency. The third time was the charm and it was open for business when we showed up.
The place consists of a series of dioramas illustrating the history of the Cathars (although the proprietor went to great lengths to explain that the term “Cathar” is a very recent invention). The dioramas consist of tiny clay figures, meticulously crafted and set into sort of elaborate settings. We each had a booklet with English explanations for each of the sixteen dioramas. It was just as charming as Dave had led us to believe. We were both glad that we had finally had the opportunity to experience the exhibit. At three euros each, it was a bargain.
The second wonderful thing was that we found a place to have a coffee. A little bookstore/tea shop was open in the almost deserted village and we had coffee. The lady running the place spoke some English and we spent a delightful half an hour or so visiting with her. We discoverd that two of her four sons are painters with a current exhibit, “Catch Me If You Can,” in San Francisco. We also discovered that she and her “companion” have homes in two neighboring villages and that they spend two or three evenings a week together, which, according to Sophie, is perfect as she never wants to live with another man full time again. It’s amazing what just a smattering of shared language can reveal. I can only imagine what she is saying about us.