My Life as a Traveler

The Three Musketeers Searching for D’Artagnan

I’m in Toulouse with husband George and son Morgan. We have the morning free for sightseeing before George’s pre-meeting meeting, so after a nice Holiday-Inn style breakfast (scrambled eggs and bacon are included) we head off in the rental car for some sightseeing to La Gers, or, as you may know it in English, Gascony.

The region of Gascony was made famous in the book, The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas. Now that I’m reunited with my two guys after being with Susie for 10 days, then alone for a couple more, I fall back into the role of one of the three Musketeers of my immediate family. In Dumas’ story, there is Athos, the oldest and wisest (George), Porthos, the one who loves to eat (me), and Aramis, constantly ambitious but unsatisfied (Morgan).  They were met by aspiring Musketeer, D’Artagnan, from Gascony. But we are just the three of us, going into Gascony, searching for D’Artagnan. We cruise through the southern French countryside, visiting a Chateau (closed, could not get in), an Abbey (closed, could not get in), and a village on top of the hill (raining). Beautiful scenery, but no D’Artagnan.

Back in town, George goes to his meeting and Morgan and I are in the hotel room. We hear the beat of drums; a wild band is playing outside in the street. We must go check it out. The guy in the hotel tells us to “be careful,” whatever that means. We find a parade with drummers, marchers, and clowns. We follow them to the main square of Toulouse, Place Coupoule, where a stage and some tents are set up. Turns out, this is a fund-raiser for maladies de sang (something wrong with the blood – AIDS?).

A banner advertises that the City of Toulouse set up the stage and a guy is up there, greeting everyone and introducing the acts to come. These include:  kids singing along with a pre-recorded song, a petite lecture on AIDS or whatever blood disease they are trying to bring awareness to, and then a pretty girl and her band takes the stage. Morgan’s in love and must videotape almost all of her performance. Next, a crazy guy and a louder band take the stage and sing many favorites of the audience. What fun. Maybe he’s D’Artagnan.

We end the night at one of our favorite Toulouse restaurants, L’Entrecote. Only one thing on the menu: salad, meat cooked in butter sauce, French fries. Wine and dessert (you can choose from different desserts, but they have only 2 kinds of wine). You have to get there early because it’s very popular and first-come, first-served. We’ve been here lots of times. Nice to be back home in Toulouse with my other two Musketeers.

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