Local member Jim McC is currently enjoying a post-conference vacation in France and Spain. Although he will be missing our Fall Drive, he is kind of doing his own version over there: First missive I left Paris early on the morning of the 6th by TGV for Montpellier (a bit over 3 hours by TGV). For some reason, when I booked, for the times I wanted (both going and coming) there was almost no difference between 1st class and 2 class tickets, so I booked 1st class. I didn’t stick around Montpellier, but picked up a car at the train station, spent some time in Beziers and Narbonne. I have been in Narbonne a few times and was there last year – it is a very attractive city, much nicer than Beziers (in my opinion). I am currently in Mirepoix, which is a medieval town in the Cathare region of France and where I will stay for a 2 or 3 days. The geography is interesting and some of the towns are quite attractive – with spectacular locations, interesting architecture, etc.. The attachments will give you some idea of what the centre of the town looks like. The hotel I am staying in here is exactly the kind of place that I really like: Hotel-le-commerce . If you click on the video button at the bottom, you will get a pretty good idea of what the place is like. I have only seen one 2CV so far. It had a Cocorico paint job and the other hand I have seen a number of Renault R4s. I ended up with a Peugeot 206 this time; I was kind of hoping for a C3 since I have never driven one. Jim Next missive: I hope that the fall drive goes well. I have been having an interesting fall drive of my own. The attached pictures will give you some idea of the road conditions, fellow travelers, and interesting vehicles that I have encountered along the way. Looks like they were waiting for me Hey, what are those stains on the road? Ah, now I get it…. I crossed the border into Spain yesterday around noon. I am currently in Villanova y la Geltru. I will probably stay here at least a couple of days. The hotel, which is a small family run affair, has a nice garden terrace. I need to do a few revisions for a chapter to a book and it seems like a good place to do it. They also have very good WiFi connectivity, which has not always been the case for some places that I stayed at. Jim And another message: I crossed back over the Pyrenees into France yesterday. The road height was around 8,700′ in the pass. I am currently in the Rance River Valley at a small town, current population under 600, called St. Sernin sur Rance. This is a very picturesque area as well: quite hilly with deep river valleys. I took a small windy country road down in the valley of the Tarn River yesterday. You couldn’t go much over 20km an hour. Having some knowledge of French and Spanish has been useful, since for the most part I have not been in main tourist areas. Jim And a final message, before Jim returns to Canada: [to summarize my trip] Following a few days in Paris the first week of October for a meeting largely focused on European banking and sovereign debt issues, I took the TGV to Montpellier, where I had arranged for a car. I then drove via Narbonne to the Ariege area of France, where there are a number of ruins of Cathar fortreses and castles. I used Mirepoix as a base of operations for a few days. (see pictures of Mirepoix above) Among other things, while there I climbed up Montsegur, which was one through part of the French Pyrenees (pictures that I sent of Citroen wrecks, passage canadien, cows, attached is another one of the cows in case first was not clear enough,) towards Axat. Axat is a small village, which is not near any major city; my plan was to go to a B&B there, which I had noticed on internet and where the owner has a 2CV (it is on his website – actually he has 2 now); however the B&B was filled to capacity (I think that they have three rooms). The owner, who was quite nice steered me on to another B&B in Puilaurens, where is another ruined fortresse-castle. (the landscape here is very mountainous, with narrow valleys – see picture – near Axat) I then went as far south in Spain as Tarragona, which was founded by the Romans. Following a few days at in a Spanish coastal town, where I could do some editing, etc., I went inland a bit and crossed back over the Pyrenees. The elevations were higher, the pass I crossed over was at around 2.65 km. The rest of the time was spent at various places at or not far from the French Mediterranean coast, or a bit inland. On the way I passed by the Millau Bridge. I did not see a lot of 2CVs – perhaps 10 in total; some in very nice condition, others had seen much better days. (The attached picture is of one in excellent shape in St. Rémy de Provence. Also attached are a couple of village scenes a bit south-west of Avignon (Mouries) That’s about it. I am catching the TGV: Lyon – Charles DeGaulle in the morning, then an afternoon flight to Montreal and a train ride to Barrhaven Station.

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