A few weeks ago, my father-in-law had a birthday.  He was born in 1918 in Paris and thus turned 94.  He fought with the Resistance during WWI after being taken prisioner by the Germans.  He was able to escape, get to England, and parachute back into France.  He met his wife, married and had 3 children.

Jacques has a wonderful family.  They have all lived to very advanced ages.  That should be good for him and my children.  Raymond is a bit wobbly and he walks with 2 canes, his hearing isn’t as good as it was in younger years but his mind is as quick as it every was. We spent the night at our favorite hotel La Ferme de Bourran and had lunch with everyone the next day.

The drive to Rodez takes a little more than 3 hours. When I was first married, the journey took almost 5.  The roads have been improved, even the little departmental ones.  There is a very nice autoroute these days.  The only spot that takes any time is the crossover from the A9 through Montpellier to the A750.  That then turns into the A75.

So now you are running to your computer to see what I’m talking about or, you stopped reading and I’ve lost you.  The A9 is the road that starts in Orange and continues in the direction to Spain.  If you find your way with a GPS, it always takes you through Montpellier.  But that can be slow since there is traffic.

From Montpellier, the road turns into a nice highway and you head to Lodève.  Years ago that was a tortuous road with lots of turns.  The next city is Millau and my favorite bridge.  Since it was a beautiful day, I was able to get some new pictures of the bridge, which I will post another day.  We leave the main road at Sévérac le Chateau and head to Rodez.  Yes, there are ruins of a castle at Sévérac le Chateau.

Rodez is in the Department –Aveyron.  This is an area with lots of agriculture.  It gets a lot more rain than we do here in Provence.  At this time of years, they have just cut the hay, and the corn is starting to grow.  The fields are full of cows.

The city was founded by the Celts in the 5th century BC. The Romans stopped by and did their thing until the Visigoths and the Franks took over. Next in 725, the Arabs ravaged the area.  The next people to take over were the armies of the Dukes of Aquitaine and of the Counts of Toulouse. During the Hundred Years War, English troops occupied Rodez.

In medieval times the city’s history was marked by a strong rivalry between the Counts and the Bishops of Rodez.  In the 16th century bishop François d’Estaing rebuilt the Rodez Cathedral, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez. One of its features is a completely closed western wall, which was part of the city defenses.

The last count of Rodez, Henry VI of Rodez, who became Henry IV of France, sold his title to Royal Crown in 1589. Since then, Rodez minded its own business and a strong middle class grew.

Restaurants serve local specialties, such as aligot, farçous, tripoux, and Roquefort, Laguiole, and Cantal cheeses.  When I was first married we lived in Rodez. I will never forget being served tripoux.  This has never been a favorite.  On the other hand, if you ever get a chance to try the dish, l’aligot, you should do so.  The basic recipe is melted tomme cheese, garlic, butter and mashed potatoes.

There will be a few more post about Rodez.