First stop in France this year! Arrived at my hotel a bit after 10 pm, having traveled on three trains to get here from Milano. Ready to stretch my legs and couldn’t wait to get a glimpse of the town. I’m staying just opposite the train station (Centre) on its south side; and a couple at the hotel told me I’d likely find a place that was ‘sympa’ for a drink on the other side of the station. So off I went. There’s a long esplanade heading north from the station, quite a pleasant walk, leading to a statue and to a Roman arena. On the far end, the smell of animals was strong, so I looked around and found pens of sheep and cows – which I found startling and disturbing. I learned the next day that this temporary “animal farm” is part of a heritage fair going on this week.

After the statue, you enter the pedestrian zone. The town seemed closed down, but I eventually found two spots with signs of life. First was a Mexican restaurant with a good crowd at sidewalk tables still enjoying margaritas and food. I looked at the posted menu; sharable guacamole as an appetizer was 9 or 9.5 euros, and it went up from there, so I kept walking. Then I found a bistrot that was obviously closing up, but the young bartender was still willing to serve me a glass of draft beer and engage in very friendly conversation. Cheers!

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