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Trip Report Exploring Languedoc, Midi-Pyrénées, Aquitaine and a Sunny Week in Paris

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Thanks to all of you who helped me in the months-long planning of this trip, every minute of which I enjoy, almost as much as the trip itself. Now that I don't have a trip to plan I am going to have to find something else to do. I'll put that off for now and re-live this one by doing a trip report!

We traveled by plane, train, automobile, metro, bicycle and canoe. We did not visit any museums or experience any out-of-body dining experiences. We did not dance on any table tops and we were tucked into bed most nights by 11. But we did have a wonderful adventure with only a few "OMG This wasn't supposed to happen, what do we do now?" missteps.

We started out in Barcelona (I've done that report already over on the Spain board). We packed a lot of sightseeing into our four days there and left with our pockets un-picked.

The Renfe train from Barcelona to Perpignan hummed along quickly. The attendants hand out headphones and the movie "The Impossible" was shown on a screen on the bulkhead. It did cross my mind that showing a disaster movie was an odd choice, but better than something about a derailment.

A strange thing that occurred was that at one point during this short journey there were 7 police officers standing just outside our compartment. There didn't seem to be any crisis and they were just standing there and chatting. The were still there when we disembarked in Perpignan but we never found out way. Something to do with the border?

Perpignan is from all accounts a great city, but we were just picking up our rental car and heading on our way so didn't see much but the train station and the car park. After finding the ladies room which was extremely well hidden (traveler tip: always carry a supply of TP as you never know when you'll need it - like in train stations for instance), we made our way to the Europcar desk to pick up our car.

We have had good luck getting competitive pricing with Kemwel, the broker for Europcar. This time they set us up with a brand new VW Polo. After a "duh" moment when we had to get help figuring how to open the trunk, we were on our way.

I was navigator and DH was driver. My first task was to get the GPS set up. I failed to get it to talk to us in any language, but the screen directions were there at least. GPS is great, some of the time, BUT I would never travel without my trusty Michelin maps to refer to.

About the International Driver Permit - we had one. Never got asked for it by anyone at any time but we had it. Why take a chance we figured.

Our first destination enroute to our stopover night in Limoux was the Château de Quéribus, but first we needed to make our way to the village of Maury for lunch at the Auberge de Quéribus. Because what could be better before driving up a winding road and hiking to a ruined castle on a craggy outcrop than a nice lunch and a picher of rosé?

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