Chambres de hotes Dahmen (60€)*
We begin walking after breakfast at 7:45 AM, early to beat the heat. The weather is overcast, with the terrain up and down and quite beautiful. We arrive in Le Romieu at 2:00 PM just in time for a late lunch. Bonnie has an omelet with potato and salad; Nick has a sandwich replete with ham, salami, and melted cheese, plus a salad. We tour the imposing abbey – at once massive and lovely – and enjoy its serene, nicely-gardened cloister. We consider what an experience it must have been for medieval pilgrims to walk the Camino… what it would have meant to see and experience the wide world beyond their village, and that world’s architecturally-varied, grand and wonderful churches. Back to the present… the place abounds with cats. The story goes that they’d once been so pesky that they were killed off, and no surprise, rats ran riot, devouring crops. But lo, a little girl, Angelique, had hidden away a pair of cats, soon blessed with numerous offspring, and the days of rats, rats, rats were over. As she grew up, it was said, Angelique became remarkably catlike. Our chamber de’hote is elegant, a restored rectory with a private room off the main house. The hostess makes me a gift of plums and tomatoes, regional delicacies. We have dinner down the street at Le Cardinal and it hits the spot. A cold buffet with different entrees… Bonnie opts for assorted meats with mashed potatoes and mushrooms; Nick has duck with mashed potatoes and a carrot tart. Great wine, then Armagnac, crème brule, and pancetta with plums.