Monday, 11 August 2008

Sunday Road Trip

Off today to another brocante... well sort off.  Ange is now addicted to shopping for junk while I enjoying driving through the country-side and the kids... well, it's best not to ask them what they want to do. 

That's not strictly true: Jack wanted to see the nuclear power station near Agen - he's at that "endlessly inquisitive" stage.  James and Henry were happy to go along for the ride especially as they had been promised an ice cream somewhere along the way.


Ange's brocante was a big 200 stall affair in a great little town called "Beauville".

We then meandered further south towards Agen to check out the Golfech Nuclear Power Plant on the Tarn River.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Goudourville in a park overlooking the the local château.

We then headed north to the medieval village, bastide of Lauzerte. Built upon a rock pinnacle, the village dominates the neighbouring valleys and provides magnificent panoramic views.


I didn't take any pictures of the brocante - I've been to one too many. I still find them fascinating but my interest is now limited to 30 minute instalments as opposed to Ange who could go all day (if we let her loose). 

I do have to admit to a first purchase: a metal jug of sorts which I thought looked really cool.  Ange tells me she got some good bargains: I will have to get her doing another blog post on these.

Nuclear Power


Jack was fascinated to hear that we had seen the cooling towers on a previous trip. Of course New Zealand is totally nuclear free which just further adds to his young minds intrigue with jet fighters, nuclear bombs, energy and how everything works.  He had lots of questions!!

We managed to find a good vantage point to check out the site which left Jack buzzing with energy :)

France has 59 nuclear power plants at 19 different sites. As of 2008, these plants produce 87,5% of France's electrical power of which around 18% is exported.

The Golfech Nuclear Power Plant is located between Agen (30 km downstream) and Toulouse (90 km upstream) on the Tarn River, from where it gets cooling water.

The station has two operating nuclear reactors that are both pressurized water reactors of the French P'4 design. The plant has two cooling towers but it only takes water to compensate for evaporation, the cooling loop is closed and water is never released back into the river.  It employs nearly 700 full time workers.

JackNP NP image


Goudourville turned out to be just a place to stop for lunch. The château looks interesting but is only open to special functions, weddings etc. We found a good picnic table and set about devouring a late lunch.
 Ch√Ęteaulunch image



Lauzerte was extremely quiet given the time of year.  Not many shops around either - it seems a rather sleepy place.  The streets around the square are filled with beautifully restored houses and Ange had me take lots of snaps of old cast iron door knockers - no doubt these will be featured in some later post.  The kids finally got their ice creams and then we raced home for a swim.
icecreams Lauzerte Square