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Walk along the Blaise riverMy first exploratory walk in a new location or place is another one of my semi-sacred rituals.

I love not knowing where I am going. And it’s sorta fun to do it alone, because then the care-taker in me is not worried about when the other person gets tired, hungry or bored.

I can just go.

Me and the camera :)

First glimpse of Nerac on the BlaiseA week after arriving in Nérac, I took my first solo walk into town.

I’d been in the town before – last summer for starters. And repeatedly in the week since arrival. But last summer’s visit was only one day and the visits the week prior had all been via car – running the million errands on has to run when setting up a new house. And for some reason, no matter how well you try to plan, you can’t get away from those errands.

And in those drives you are busy looking at road signs, searching for the hardware store, trying to figure out shortest routes.

NeracOr,… if you are me,… focusing on learning how to drive stick! ;D

So the walk was about just soaking things up. Just savoring.

My dad told me the there was a path along the river Blaise that was accessible near the house. The path would take me straight to town in under 20 minutes.

Great!

NeracMud boots on, armed with shopping bag, and a mission to buy baguettes for lunch, off I went!

Forty minutes and 900 pictures later…

I knew Nérac was beautiful. I knew the place was cute. I knew it was worth buying a house in.

I did NOT know it was breath-taking.

I did NOT know that walking along the river from the house to the town would be like a meditation.

I did NOT know that it would make me forget sore muscles and tired feet.

Old Nerac streetsI walked along the path, and crossed the ancient little bridge connecting the two parts of the town. I think I stood there for about 10 minutes. People walking by were looking at me odd – snapping away pictures and grinning like a fool.

There’s two parts of town – Old Nérac and New Nérac. In an oxymoron that you would only fine in Europe, Old Nérac is actually newer than New…. why… well… because the medieval castle had been built in the bend of the river, and then across the river and outside the castle gates a town eventually flourished.

New Nerac streetsWhen the castle was damaged in the French Revolution and the nobles fled, the town expanded onto its lands… forming ‘New’ Nérac on the stones of where the old castle had been. (One wing of the castle still stands – can’t wait for it to open up to visitors in the summer!)

The new part of town has sweeping streets and grids and squares.

The old part of town has tiny little alleys where cars couldn’t dream of fitting and where you can cut shortcuts by going up steps and around fountains and past lace-covered windows.

New NeracThe place was pretty much deserted because for the locals temperatures in the high 40s F  were a bit too chilly to venture outside unless you had to. But for those of us used to Northern European temperatures… it was perfect exploring weather. After all, the sun was out :) And the quiet streets gave it a magical quality.

My mission to buy baguettes turned into a journey a magical place.

Old Nerac Notre DameLike I had done last summer, I fell in love at first sight with this incredible town.

Nerac castle

Thrilled Elloise in Nerac

View from Notre Dame in Old Nerac to St. Nicholas in New Nerac

View from Notre Dame in Old Nerac to St. Nicholas in New Nerac

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