Sitting in the correct place


There are delineations and demarcations in French eating establishments that are invisible to us. Yesterday we entered a hotel cafe to order hot chocolate and seated ourselves in the restaurant area – WRONG! Today we sat at a just-opening-for-the-day canal-side cafe for coffee and sat at the lunch tables – WRONG! In both cases it was before 10am and there was nobody else there. The proprietors, however, considered it important that the rules of correct sitting were followed and quickly pointed out our error.

Today we found out that Marmande is the tomato capital of France. There is intensive fruit and vegetable cultivation everywhere, much of it inside hooped plastic greenhouses. The sun emerged mid-morning and the weather then remained fine all day – a relief after yesterday’s soaking. We have read about the serious floods elsewhere in France and can see the evidence of rain upstream as the Garonne is in full spate, flowing strongly with high muddy water.

We have been riding all day along the Canal des Deux Mers, a shady, flat, easy to navigate route with many locks and pleasure boats cruising up and down. We left the path for lunch at Aiguillon, near the confluence of the Lot and the Garonne, then continued on to Agen, known for the canal bridge across the Garonne. In the Saint Caprasius Cathedral we heard the organist at practice and admired the extraordinary interior where the walls and ceiling are completely covered with paintings of saints, biblical scenes and decorative patterns.


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