France 2

An earlier post details a visit to Spain for olive oil and wine, calling at St Bertrand de Comminges a village in the French Pyrenees close to the border dominated by the vast church. The village has a few decent restaurants so it’s always worth a stop for lunch on the way to the Spanish supermarket. The Border at this location is crossed before the high Pyrenees and the road follows the River Garonne into Spain. So we went again in search of cheap Rioja. The church was built between the 12th and 16th century, the Gothic part completed in the 14th century by a bishop who went on to become Pope clement V. The church is unusual in that it contains a church within a church, the carved wooden choir stalls were designed to enclose the clergy from the common people, they are notable for the fine carving of scenes from the old and new testaments. High up on the wall is a stuffed Crocodile, legend says it was killed in the river Garonne by St Bertand whilst it was terrorising the locals bathing and washing clothes. It one of five stuffed crocodiles listed as French national treasures. Another reason for visiting the village, there is a tourist shop that sell expensive umbrellas, Karen had looked at them before and regretted not buying one, last time we called the shop was shut , so this time we were successful, they are beautifully hand made and come with a lifetime guarantee, a bit like the Tilly hat. It now has pride of place by the back door.

Spanish wine, although it’s good stuff we went for Rioja
Church at St Bertrand de Commings
The crocodile
Carved choir stalls
The umbrella

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