Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Hundred Foot Journey

Months ago, I read the book The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard Morais.  A hard-core francophile and foodie, I loved it.  When it became a movie, I headed for the theatre the day it opened.  I went back a week later to see it again.

Yesterday, we made a detour to see St.-Antonin-Noble-Var to witness for ourselves the town where some of the film was shot. We drove from Albi to St.-Antonin along the crest of the chain of low mountains above the Aveyron river at the confluence with La Bonnette.  We descended into St.-Antonin at the river and crossed the bridge into the town itself.

The medieval town is at the heart of the Gorges de l'Aveyron on the edge of the Quercy region.  A limestone ridge--le Roc d'Anglars--dominates the town from above.
Le Roc d'Anglars

The bridge across the river is lined with flowers as are so many bridges in France.

Across the bridge is the old town where the movie was filmed in the little alleys and streets. The town can be traversed on foot in about ten minutes.

 Many of the streets are only accessible by pedestrians--not that this fact ever prevented a Frenchman on a mission to arrive at the other end of the street in a car.  

St. Antonin was built around a Benedictine Abbey from the 8th century.  The Roman house, which was built in 1150, is one of the oldest in France.  It is now the city hall. Tanneries began in the 12th century because of the availability of water from the two rivers.
On the edge of L'Aveyron. 
The town is at the meeting point of three ancient departments--Quercy, Albigeois and Rouergue.  Thermal baths from the 20th century offer respite from aching bones and healthy cures.  

It's hard for me to separate the movie from the town and the local theatre makes the most of it with posters and photos promoting the film whose title is translated to Les Recettes du Bonheur--Recipes for Happiness.
Advertising at the theatre
The town, however, is a lovely place in its own right.  Stone buildings, half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, a beautiful river and tree-lined streets make a visit a pleasure.    

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