From Biarritz To Rocamadour With Dogs And Monkeys

The first thing you notice when you enter France, coming from Spain, is that people on the street don't scream while talking.

Even the children behave.

And yes, the dogs are everywhere, behaving even better than anyone else.

Biarritz: made for the royals

Gucci and Whisky in Biarritz, in their stroller.

Biarritz, an elegant seaside town has been a popular resort of the European royalty for the last two centuries.

Today it's a famous surfing destination.

The waitress who served us the first-ever croissant in France didn't insult us and was actually speaking some English.

A great beginning! Promising!

Espelette: the red pepper town

Espelette, the red pepper village

I liked the charm of Espelette, the sweet, little red pepper town.

We couldn't try any typical food with their pepper, because between the “lunch hour” and “dinner hour” the kitchens are closed.

The restaurants were open, but they only served cheese plates and foie gras: the only thing the cook left prepared in the kitchen.

Whisky, having a coffee in Espelette.

Gucci singing in Espelette.

It's strange to see a nice touristic place with all those hungry tourists walking around with their sandwiches because they happen to be hungry at the wrong time of day.

However, Gucci and Whisky got bowls with water so we were happy with our cheese. The foie gras was not our thing.

Rocamadour: Virgins and monkys

Our next station was Rocamadour, a picturesque medieval cliff-side village known as a sacred city and a place of pilgrimage, surrounded by a wild and protected environment of Occitania.

The fame of the sanctuary of the Black Virgin makes every year countless pilgrims go to Rocamadour.

We didn't climb the 216 steps of the Grand Staircase, we preferred a cafe au lait in a village bar after witnessing a crazy stampede of Gucci and Whisky around the castle.

Gucci in Rocamadour with the church of Black Madonna in the back.

Monkey Forest Rocamadour - 'Foret des Singes'.

So, we didn't visit the Black Virgin but we visited the monkeys!

In the middle of France, we mingled amongst 150 free-roaming Barbary macaques, following the 1,3 km trail around the 20-acre park.

The Monkey Forest (La Forêt des Singes) is involved in the preservation of the Barbary macaque, a threatened species, with only about 8000 still living wild.

The natural habitat of these monkeys is in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria. Thanks to the breeding program at Foret des Singes, groups of monkeys can be released back into the wild of Southern Africa. Nice.

The instructions they gave us were clear: we could give the monkeys only the popcorn they gave us on the entrance, we were allowed to give it only into their hand and we were never allowed to touch the body of the monkeys (no hugging, no cuddling) because the monkeys consider it a physical aggression.

The dogs are not allowed in the park but that part we didn't understand because it was written in French and we don't speak French, don't we?

We entered with the stroller and carefully passed near the first monkey to see if he was going to acknowledge the hidden dogs, but the monkey was some very cool dude who just wanted his popcorn.

We were still ready to run if needed to protect our hidden babies, when a sexy monkey lady in a topless came, with a baby ever hanging from her tit, proudly fighting for her rights to breastfeeding in public. She also just wanted some popcorn.

So, the monkeys were cool with our dogs! Satiated animals are all generally cool with each other, it's just stupid people who cause problems.

We were in the middle of the June/2019 heat wave so we got a genius idea of having dinner before even reaching the Blue Cost. Close to our monkeys, in the middle of the wild woods, I googled for some rural grill restaurant… But, he who has style, has style even in a forest. We landed having an exquisite dinner in a castle because that's France for you: it's easier to find a castle than a mediocre grill.

After mingling with monkeys in 100 Celsius degrees all day long, we felt like dirty pigs, but we decided, in the manner of King Louis XIV who took a bath only three times in his life and used to “sweeten the air” around him with liters of perfume, to do the same.

Surrounded by a perfume cloud we literally felt like the medieval queen and king of the castle, with Gucci and Whisky sitting next to us, acting properly as always and definitely smelling better than us.

The food was delicious and we decided to stop being scared we would be hungry all the time in France, because of the small portions of something triturated in a form of mousse, as we expected.

After the dinner, even Gucci and Whisky decided they were interested in their food, for the first time during that, as a hell hot day.

Gucci in Rocamadour with the church of Black Madonna in the back.

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