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Clare
Clare

Day 10: Auch

Our destination for today was the town of Auch, located about 80km to the west of Toulouse. This was a place we hadn't been to before but which looked beautiful in Google image searches when we were researching possible day trips from Toulouse. We took a train to L'Isle-Jourdain first of all and from there could get a connecting train to Auch. Fortunately French train stations have a much better level of information about incoming trains than Catalan ones seem to do, so we didn't experience the same problems as we did trying to change trains on the way to Girona last week, but we did find we had half an hour to wait for the next train, so we decided to have a quick stroll and see what there was to see in L'Isle-Jourdain.

It seemed to be a sleepy sort of place...

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...although there was a nice square in the centre of the town.

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We did spot one very impressive building, but we weren't sure whether it was part of a church or a castle.

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We made it make to the station just on time for our onward train to Auch. As we walked out of the station we got our first glimpse of the town and the catehdral.

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The main town of Auch is situated on a hill so we had quite a walk upwards from the train station.

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As we climbed upwards into the town, we began to hear what sounded like loud and repeated banging on a drum. As we eventually came up alongside the cathedral the noise got louder and louder, until we turned a corner and found what appeared to be a group of communists protesting against some sort of cuts. Someone was indeed banging very loudly on a drum, while a group of policemen, some with noise-cancelling headphones, stood and watched. I guess today must have been some sort of strike day in France!

Protests aside, the entrance to the cathedral in Auch was very grand.

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Behind the cathedral, the centre of the town was also very attractive.

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We found the town hall...

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...and some statues (though unfortunately it wasn't always clear who they were of!)...

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...but wherever you go in the town, you could see the cathedral towering above everything.

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It was here...

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...and here...

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...and here too :)

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After walking around for a while, we started looking for a place to have lunch. Eventually we found a restaurant which went by the not very inspiring name of Brassierie le parking but which had a promising-looking menu of the day. For starters I had ham, which turned out to be of a slightly uncooked variety and so Tim had to help me finish, then steak and chips for the main course. The waitress was very friendly, and after Tim had been talking to her in French for a while, she asked where he was from and whether he was Belgian, as she couldn't quite place his accent :)

After lunch we decided to climb back down the hill and go for a walk along the river. The waitress in the restaurant had recommended that we walk down the steps in front of the cathedral, where we would find a statue of d'Artagnan.

We walked around the cathedral, from where we had a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.

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From this side, the cathedral looks a bit more like a castle.

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We found the steps that lead down from the catehdral to the river, and partway down them we came across the statue of d'Artagnan.

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The further down we climbed, the better a perspective we had on how big the cathedral was.

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The best view was from the far side of the river.

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There was a pretty path by the side of the river which we were able to follow for some time.

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Though however far we walked, the cathedral still dominated the skyline.

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Soon it was time to head back to the station for our return journey to Toulouse. Auch was a really pretty destination and we had a lovely day there.

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