Off to Europe:Southern France, Part Six

(apologies for the delay in posting, I’ve had sporadic internet access here).

Yesterday we went to Albi on our way to Conques. I was expecting to be disappointed with Albi, as it was Yet Another Big Church, but I was pleasantly surprised! The church is made of brick, not stone, so it looks very different from just about every other cathedral I’ve seen, and the interior is exquisitely painted. The ribbed ceiling is especially cool, it’s very far up and you can just make out the frescoes if you stare. Also, the background for all the painting is blue, which is very different from the gray/black scheme of most churches I’ve visited. On top of that, the church has an Immense organ that takes up an entire wall, and an exquisitely crafted separator that used to keep the common folk apart from the priests and other church servants back in the day. Right now, it’s all open, and I took plenty of pictures (and some video!). There was a number of lovely hand-crafted statues of course, but at some point I hit information overload and sort of zombied out. We spent the rest of the day walking around Albi (the weather, thankfully, improved), reading a book about Victorian England, and talking. We arrived in Conques late, but not tired, and overall happy.

Today was not particularly eventful, spent in conversation, more reading, and walking around Conques. We got to see the Conques cathedral, which is (I think) the last Big Church we will see this trip / that I will want to see in a long time. I have seen A Lot Of Churches this week đŸ™‚ Still, the visit was worth it for the vaulted ceiling: the way it’s constructed, looking at one vault, you can almost always see the next one slightly off-center, and then the next one, so the overall feeling is of looking at a forest of gray stone, vaults like trees colliding and interfering with each other. The conversation was fun, too – I told my mother about the Poe play I saw in Providence, and made some connections to Russian literature; she was very excited! Then we came back to the hotel and had the nicest dinner of vacation so far: split a plate of foie gras for appetizer, I had simple (though very finely prepared) beef with mashed potatoes, my mother had pigeon with apricot, and for dessert we shared a peach in almond milk. Yummmm.

Tomorrow, we head of to Montsegur!


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