Conques - Sun, Oct 8:
Foggy early but lifted to a sunny day again. Today was the fête of Ste Foy. Around the church congregated many people - a concession selling plastic toys and religious articles stood by. The patisserie had a table set up outside to sell prune tarte. Cars were parked all over the place. Loudspeakers by the church blasted Chantons de Bonheur and other hymn type stuff. Church bells from St Rochelle, perhaps the little church, and the big church were all tolling, All sorts of neat old men were sitting around.
And then just before eleven a parade headed by the fancy cross and trailed by a bishop and gold statue came up to the church. People kept pouring in and the whole ceremony was broadcast. The last few old men waited until all had gone into the church and they they went onto the bar. Since the service was on loudspeakers they missed nothing.
At the end of the service the parade left the church and went around to the sacristy and hundreds of people poured out filling the place in front of the church. Many people were dining at the various cafés and restaurants.
Walked to Chappelle up the hill for lunch - several families picnicking along the way. Then up the trail and around to see the expanse of the entire valley. After the 3 PM church service there was a parade through much of the town led by the cross and trailed by the statues - hundreds of people in middle. They returned to the church for more. At the café de l'Auberge du Pont Romain there were many people drinking. After dinner - braised celery - noodle soup - many old men were drinking.
Maurice - ~30 yrs - rounded strange shoulders - thick drawl - very drunk - many missing teeth - grab assed Françoise whenever possible - ate dinner but could barely manage. His friend, Marcel, could barely stand up. A bunch of young guys came in and started singing dirty songs after that; Marcel & Maurice sung a lot too. Maurice had a real southern accent. Pain served. A guy came in who looked Italian and spoke French with an Italian accent - he did sprinkle in a few mama mias. They sung songs in patois? Two old men also very drunk sat and ate dinner. Later Maurice bought us some cognacs - then the two old men did.
Finally some soupe de fromage and vin rouge superior, Another old man joined us: M. Rouse. They told us how bad German wine was - how similar German and English were - how high the mountains were - about the weather. M Rouse drove a taxi in WWII in Paris - was in WWI in Germany - 73 years old. Had wife who left him - I think. After Maurice left it got pretty quiet - although people kept coming in until after 1 am. Rotwein, gute morgen, etc...