Tuesday, June 29 – (farm outside Les Ezyies): The big objective today was to see Lascaux II, the reproduction of the original cave which was closed to visitors in 1963 due to calcium deposits resulting from the breathing of the large number of tourists. As no photographs were permitted, I can show you only the entrance:
The big surprise for me was that the cave is small (15 yards long, 12 feet high) and the pictures are large (four and five feet long in some cases). There is really no way to convey the experience without being there. We had a fine guide who explained in detail how much is still unknown about the paintings (why they were made; over what period; why, although 90% of the hunted prey was reindeer, there is no representation of one on the walls) and the few things that are known: the materials used for color, the techniques for painting (primarily blowing the pigment through a hollow bone).
Leaving Lascaux, we stopped at a local supermarket where one could buy right out of the case a whole fresh foie gras:
at prices I would love to have available in Cambridge:
At the end of the afternoon we arrived at the farm recommended by Steves.
It was a large operation with a swimming pool and many guest rooms decorated in excruciating French middle-class taste. We were the only guests!
A fine local touch was the basket of walnuts on the table which provided a way to pass the time between courses:
The dinner was a marvelous one, half local cooking and half fussed up to give a high-class veneer to the presentation. It started with a glass of house-made walnut wine:
and continued with a fine fava bean soup pepped up with a solid undercurrent of smoked ham:
Then, a cold platter of foie gras enclosed in duck meat along with a small glass of nicely flavored shredded carrots:
The main dish was veal with sarladoise potatoes (cooked in duck fat):
Dessert was a walnut crème brûlée:
After dinner we finally set up the tripod and learned how to use the self-timer on the camera. We got a new blog banner out of it and also this portrait: