12th February 2014

Albi on Friday was lovely.  The sky was blue, the weather a warm 18 degrees.  It's nice to walk around the cobbled pedestrian areas, glancing at the locals rushing to and from work.  We always park in the Jean-Jaures car park off the Lices Jean Moulin.  Seems to be a law that all French towns name their streets and parking areas after the same historic men. At least I'm learning a bit about French history. Think Jean Jaures was a politician around the time of the infamous Dreyfus affair, and Moulin of course was the heroic leader of the French resistance.  Next we had lunch at the Saint James Bistro overlooking the fountain.  Our entree salad was wonderful:  a melange of hot pear slices, topped with chevre cheese and toasted walnuts tossed amongst green mache leaves. As we ate, a young girl wheeled in her grandfather, soon joined by the rest of the family. I love the French family spirit. Family is everything. But outside, sitting at the terrace tables were some young girls smoking. I felt like shouting No, No, don't you understand? Dying isn't just for the old; it can affect you too! France is a curious mix: wonderfully efficient health care, fantastic cooking skills, up-to-date chip and pin technology, but some old taboos like smoking still linger on.  Come on France: get rid of the tobacco!  

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