I can’t say enough wonderful things about unaccountably undertouristed southwestern France, except to say (for purely selfish reasons) that I hope it remains under-visited.
We spent a weekend in Provence and it was amok with tourists. We spent the rest of our stay in Toulouse and (later) the peaceful Aude, and I will definitely return. I think I could stand the lifestyle.
If you must go, I recommend one of two strategies, both of which we tried. One, plop yourself in a small village for a week and enjoy the zillions of hiking trails that connect every village. Or two, bike from village to village over a week staying in a demi-pension. Then enjoy a marvelous, heavy, wine-ridden dinner.
It is safe to say that, perhaps for the first time ever, I am fully sated with wine, cured ham, foie gras, and cheese.
Possibly the only peculiarity of the trip was the tendency, almost daily, for a random stranger to come over and, rather than coo at our adorable 3-month old, tell us she was too hot. Or too cold. I am not certain about this, but I think the correlation between the actual temperature and the hot/cold advice was close to zero.
I have just arrived in London, where I keep having the urge to speak in French or Spanish to Anglophones. It always takes me a couple of days.
And Owen Barder (of the excellent blog, amongst other things) is helping me work off the foie gras and cheese by springing, quite suddenly, a 5k race on me. I have never run a race. We’ll see how that goes. Then off to Oxford tomorrow for a conference.