Lascaux at last

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:

2 Responses to Lascaux at last

  1. George T. says:

    We don’t do the web every day; thus the comments accumulate:
    1. Looking forward to learn more about “My” Pineau de Charente; I only know that I like it. Hope you found out what exactly is: wine with added cognac on a combination of fermentation and distillation?
    2.Foie gras!! Long live Sarlat. Say hello to the goose statue in downtown. Will never forget the farmers’ market in Sarlat: “to die for”; If remembering correctly, it is on Saturdays.
    3. $50.00 a kilo? At Savenor, it is $49.00 for a few ounces. Send a kilo by mail!
    4. Do remember the Sarladoise potatoes; From the dinner table, we went directly to a Cardiologist!
    5. Walnut oil; don’t remember ever having it.Niki does remember having it at the hotel we stayed in “FOR BREAKFAST”!
    6. This is only recollection, but the one disappointment that sticks to my mind was the Truffle omelet.
    7. On the doctor’s experience, I am too biased to comment. However, it is the expression of REAL … TRUE free enterprise and not American style. Sorry!

    It is 100 F today and humidity is 200%! (usual exaggeration); If time allows, World cup semifinal (Uruguay vs Netherlands), we might read to next 2 days around France.

    Yes, we are sorry, we are not with you. You mention Steve’s a lot. In Paris, we found it very disappointing. It sent us almost exclusively to tourist traps and stopped reading it. Is it Paris versus the countryside?

    George T.

    • B Ruml says:

      George:

      Deb tells me (via Wikipedia) that pineau is lightly fermented grape must and cognac eau de vie (before barrel aging). Sounds right to me!

      We missed the Sarlat market days (Wd and Sat) but were generally disappointed in the town: hard to hear a conversation which wasn’t English; all shops tourist-oriented, restaurants too, etc.

      Actually, at today’s rates, 33.25/kilo is less than $20/lb!!! Wish I could mail a few to you — to me too!

      After the Sarladoise potatoes, I went directly to sleep.

      We keep buyng walnut oil and then letting it age for a few years: doesn’t really improve it. Let’s split a bottle when we get back.

      What could have been wrong with a truffle omelette (beyond forgetting to put the truffles in)?

      Can’t respond to your rant about doctors because I don’t understand what you’re saying. Calm down a bit and say it again! (Or maybe it’s the 100 degree weather.)

      Steves is like every travel guide: addressed to tourists who are only a little like you, and, to the extent that tourists follow the recommendations, they become tourist traps. So caution is required. We tend to rely on the non-hotel, non-food tips and find the overall descriptions useful as a first cut.

      We love your comments! Keep it up!

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