Two mountaintops in one day are more than Don Quixote and Sancho should ever hope for. Today, in spite of more “scattered showers” was the day to corner another subtler, but more elusive dream: the town of Artoise. All reports assured it was a dream town: nothing famous, just plus beaux perfect. We drove around it yesterday without ever even seeing a sign for it. This morning, I swallowed my male pride and stopped at the tourist office at the bottom of the hill to secured a local map. Brave, nest pas?
After a million hairpin turns through the fairy tale landscapes of Quercy streams, walnut groves, sheep, cows and geese, we finally ambled onto it. A cursory mouth-gaping stroll through town spiked our adrenaline and we were at our easels, discovering what the capricious sun had to teach us today. Settling for a snack and skipping lunch, we knocked out two studies each before the rain returned and we packed up and hit the road, only to stumble on another jewel at the top of the mountain, whose grande dame tottered onto us walking home with her baguette. Chatting on the lane, I discovered not only I was painting her house, the very one in which she was born, but that she, too, was an artist and we were invited to see her work when we finished. One more French jewel for my memory.