Le Tour 2004 - A Virtual Cultural Trip

Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2004 02:40 pm
Thanks, c.i.!

But as said above: I just collect the photos from the web and steal most of the words from others :wink:

Actually, it is not such an effort for those regions, which I know quite well.
However, they are now cycling in some parts of France, I know only from passing or even where I've never been. But since I own some nice books .... Laughing
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 12:15 pm
Stage 10
Limoges > Saint-Flour Wednesday, July 14th

city, capital of Haute-Vienne département and of the Limousin region, south central France (formerly in the province of Limousin), south-southwest of Paris, on the right bank of the Vienne River.
Capital of the Lemovices, a Gallic tribe, Limoges was an important Roman centre, with its own Senate and currency. Christianity was brought to the town by St. Martial in the 3rd century. Legends of his miracles spread rapidly, and his shrine became a stopping place for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, one of the most important shrines in Christendom. In the 9th century an abbey was built at the crypt and tomb of St. Martial, very close to Limoges; the settlement that grew around it under the Abbot's control soon rivalled the other city, which was controlled by the Bishop. The two towns were on opposing sides during the Hundred Years' War between England and France (1337-1453) and remained separate until 1792.

Until the 16th century, Limoges was frequently devastated by fire, plague, and famine. It recovered its former prosperity in the 18th century, especially after introduction of porcelain manufacture in the second half of the century.

The porcelain factories have been modernized to use natural gas and have developed new production techniques. Uranium is mined in the region. Other industries include the manufacture of leather products, cotton textiles, and machinery. It is a railway junction on the main Paris-Toulouse line and a trade centre for stock farming.
The two medieval towns, now merged into and overgrown by the modern city, can still be recognized by their narrow winding streets, which are in contrast to the spacious roads of the newer neighbourhoods. The 13th-century cathedral of Saint-Étienne has an elegant, partly octagonal bell tower, typical of the Gothic churches of the region. The church of Saint-Michel-des-Lions (14th-15th century) has a tower 198 ft (65 m) high, with a spire surmounted by a big bronze ball; it also has fine 15th-century stained-glass windows. The 18th-century Palais de l'Évêché now houses the municipal museum, which has a large collection of old enamels. The Musée National de Céramique Adrien-Dubouché has a collection of ceramics and porcelain. Limoges is the seat of the Université de Limoges (founded 1808; suppressed 1840; reopened 1965) and is a bishopric.



Located at the southern tip of the Auvergne, the town of Saint-Flour is halfway between Paris and Barcelona. An air of mystery surrounds the basaltic rocky outcrop viewed from the lower part of the town, a green jewel which stretches the length of the A75. Via pathways with the evocative names of the Organ Mount and the Goat Path, we arrive at the old town centre captured by the volcanic silhouette of the Saint-Pierre cathedral. From the medieval streets to the Renaissance façades, the religious capital of the Haute Auvergne region reflects the charm of a town that is very much alive behind the superficial austerity of its black stone walls (Festival des Hautes Terres, Festa del Païs, Festival of Contemporary Art…). From the different view points of the High Town, the vast stretches of the Planèze or the smooth undulations of the Margeride provide us with a real breath of fresh air; and incite us to try out the numerous open air activities available (hiking, mountain biking, horse riding…).
At the heart of the town, the Bishop's Palace opens its doors onto the Haute Auvergne Museum and the A. Douët Museum of Art and History. With guided visits and the famous Philo® Hike as its figurehead… in Saint-Flour, culture is second nature!

Finally, let us not forget that at mealtimes the town's restaurants and inns all propose the list of the famous Auvergne specialities, delights so typical of the Cantal region (tripoux, an Auvergne sheep dish, truffade, Cantal cheese, mountain pork…).

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 12:45 pm
Limoges painted enamel and porcelain

Limoges enamels (generally considered the finest painted enamelware produced in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries) are largely the work of a few families such as the Pénicaud, Limosin, and Reymond families. The earliest examples show religious scenes in the late Gothic style. But around 1520, Italian Renaissance motifs appeared and became especially characteristic of the work of Leonard Limosin and Pierre Reymond. Painting in grisaille, or monochromatic painting intended to look like sculpture, was introduced at Limoges and became a speciality of Jean III Pénicaud. By the last quarter of the 16th century, the quality of Limoges enamels had degenerated, and the enamellers Jean and Suzanne de Court in particular turned from the soft harmonies of the earlier artists to the use of bright colours enhanced by an excess of metallic foil called paillons, for gaudy rich effects. The Laudin family dominated the production of the ware in the 17th century and were the last major enamellers at Limoges.

The inscription on the back of the enamel, meaning 'Made by Jean de Court, 1555'

Limoges porcelain, largely servicewares, is produced in Limoges from the 18th century. Faience (tin-glazed earthenware) of mediocre quality was produced there after 1736, but the manufacture of hard-paste, or true, porcelain dates only from 1771. The manufacturers took advantage of being near Saint-Yrieix, the largest source of clay and china stone in France. In 1784 the factory was acquired as an adjunct of the Royal factory at Sèvres, and the decoration of the two wares were similar. Other factories opened after 1797, and Limoges became a mass exporter of porcelain to the U.S. under the name Haviland ware, which now is produced there as well.

link: 1,000 years of Enanel, 259 years of porcelain
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 12:58 pm
Poached and Roasted Veal Knuckle
Chef Michel Rostang, Restaurant Michel, Paris

Pot roast never had it so good: this roasted veal knuckle and its rich gravy redefine the concept. The veal knuckle is poached, then simmered with vegetables until it is nearly falling apart. The rich gravy begins with the poaching stock, deeply colored by pan-roasted veal bits and the poaching vegetables. The veal is basted with the enriched pan stock for 20 minutes to give it a rich brown glaze. The stock is then further enriched with veal demi-glace and vermouth before it arrives at the table as gravy. At each step, the initial basic ingredients of veal and chopped aromatic vegetables are further enriched, resulting in a wonderful depth of flavor at the end. Cantal cheese is a French cheese made from rich cow's milk; it is ivory-colored, but the is similar to cheddar and edam.

Serves 6

Roasted Veal Knuckle
2 veal knuckles, bone in, about 3 pounds each
2 leeks, cleaned
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 large onions, roughly chopped
6 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 pound veal meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Leek Baskets
Green part of 2 leeks (above)
Canola oil for deep-fat frying

2-1/2 pounds green peas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fleur de sel
5 ounces Cantal (semi-hard cows' milk cheese)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 cup arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream

2 quarts veal demi-glace
3 tablespoons Noilly Prat or other fine vermouth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 ounce Parmesan cheese
6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the knuckles. Bring the water back to a full rolling boil. Put the pot in the sink and pour cold water directly into the pot until the water around the knuckles is cold. Drain off enough water so that the knuckles are covered two-thirds of the way with water. Put back on the heat and bring to a boil. Cut off the green portion of the leeks and set aside; roughly chop the white portion. Add the chopped leeks, carrots, onions, and celery to the pot and cook until the meat can easily be pulled from the bone, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the knuckles from the pan and set aside. Drain off the poaching liquid, divide into two containers, and reserve.

To prepare the leek baskets: While the knuckles are cooking, split the reserved green portion of the leeks in half lengthwise and separate into individual leaves. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the leeks, swishing them around in the water. When the water returns to a boil, remove the leeks and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Spread the leeks on paper towels and blot to remove all the water. Wrap leek leaves around a cylindrical metal mold, about 2-1/2 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall, overlapping leaves to completely cover the mold. Heat the oil to 360 F in a deep-fryer or large deep saucepan. Holding a mold with tongs, dip into the hot oil and fry until the leek is crisp, 20 to 30 seconds. Lift, drain, and place on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, slip the leek basket off the mold and set aside. Repeat to make 12 leek baskets.

To prepare the risotto: Shell the peas, reserving both peas and shells separately. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and add the peas. Return to a boil and cook 4 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain. Peel the peas and return to the pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss over medium-low heat until glazed with butter. Season lightly with fleur de sel. Set aside.

Shave 12 small pieces of the cantal cheese for garnish and set aside. Grate the remaining cheese and set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until the onions are softened but not browned. Add the rice and white wine, toss to coat, and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Using one of the containers of veal cooking liquid, add enough of the liquid to cover the rice and cook again, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding cooking liquid, bit by bit, and stirring, until the rice is al dente. Add the cream and the butter from the peas and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft. Add the grated cantal and the peas. If you still have veal cooking liquid left, use it in the next step below.

To finish the veal: When the knuckles have finished cooking, preheat the oven to 375 F. Put the drained vegetables into a roasting pan and add the chopped veal meat. Brown over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the meat and vegetables are a deep brown color, add a little of the reserved poaching liquid and stir up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Put the knuckles into the pan and baste with the remaining poaching liquid. Roast 20 minutes, basting often with the pan juices. Remove the knuckles and place in a serving platter.

Put the roasting pan and its contents back over medium-high heat and reduce the juice by one half. Stir in the demi-glace and vermouth and reduce again by half. Stir in the grated Parmesan and the butter until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain the gravy and set aside.

To serve: Slice the veal and divide among 6 warmed serving plates. Place two leek cups on each plate and fill with risotto. Drizzle the veal and plates with veal gravy. Garnish with the reserved cantal shavings.

Cantal Cheese Tart
(The Nouvelle Cuisine by Jean and Pierre Troisgros)


150g flaky pastry
3 medium tomatoes (100g each)
2 tbsps virgin olive oil
180g cheese, Fourme du Cantal or Cheddar
1 tbsp tarragon mustard
salt and pepper


Roll out the pastry into a round 26 cm (10 inch) in diameter. Place about 20 cm (8 inch) flan ring on a lightly moistened baking sheet and lower the pastry over the centre of the ring. Cut off the extra pastry round the edges with the rolling-pin. Press the pastry down into the corners of the ring so that it does not break when you take it out, and pinch up the edges. Lightly prick the base with the point of a knife and keep in a cool place.
Slice the tomatoes across into rounds 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick and discard the top and bottom slices. Taking care not to break them, remove all the pips carefully from each slice. Arrange on a plate, season with salt and pepper and coat with olive oil. Leave them to marinate for 15 minutes, turning them over two to three times.
Remove the rind and cut the cheese into slices 6 mm (1/4 inch) thick.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF. Spread the mustard over the base of the tart, cover with the cheese and arrange the tomato slices prettily on top. Sprinkle the tomato marinade over all. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven.
Let the flan rest for 15 minutes, to allow the filling to set a little, slide it onto a round plate, removing the ring, and cut into four. The flan is best eaten lukewarm, as it will be after resting for 15 minutes although you can serve it hot straight from the oven.
Serves 4

Do you know, btw, the great selection of wonderful recipes here at the Portal?

Link to A2K recipes/Portal
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 11:04 pm
I understand L Armstrong is falling behind. How many more segments (km or miles) before the finish line?
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Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 11:25 pm
I have never followed this or other races re L.Armstrong.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 11:29 pm
Roughly 1,600 km to go.

Armstrong (and some others) will get strongly forward, when they arrive in the Pyrenees/Alps.
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drom et reve
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 08:29 am
**edit-- double post**

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drom et reve
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 08:30 am
I'm still reading and enjoying, Walter; I have to second what Osso said about the diligence with which you have made this.

I love Limoges and its environs, incidentally. The Marquis de Limoges, who died right at the start of the Napoleonic wars, was related to my family and, consequently, Limoges was one of the first places in France that I visited on my own..

(Incidentally, how does one get to the Meuse Valley, from, say, the South?)

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 08:52 am
(Take the N2 [lA1 > A114 before the Charles-de-Gaulle-Airport] up to Laon [Soissons, which you pass before, and Laon are both really worth to be visited!!!], then D 977/946/D978/D988 vers Revin > Fumay :wink: )
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cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 09:39 am
Limoges = high prices. Smile
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 09:48 am
Here you get it quite cheap, c.i. .... views of it free of charge, I mean :wink:

La porcelaine en piste!
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Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 10:42 am
This morning I watched the tour for the first time (the only stages I enjoy are the mountain ones).

St. Fleur is absolutely splendid!

This time I want Armstrong to have tougher competition. Ulrich fell behind. Virenque is a good climber, I suppose.

Keep up the good work, Walter.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 12:43 pm
Thursday, July 15th

Stage 11
Saint-Flour > Figeac

Figeac (since the departure town Saint-Flour already had been presented, there's only one to be mentioned here)
is a friendly mediaeval town nestling on the banks of the river Célé in ancient Quercy. The beautiful countryside which surrounds it contrasts the rugged Jurassic limestone plateaux of the Causses with the lush green hills of the appropriately named «Garden of Ségala». In the old town, pale amber stone buildings with gothic arches fronting the narrow streets rise to reveal picturesque open-lofted roof areas, called «soleilhos», which give it a unique Southern flavour.

As you stroll through the town you cannot help admiring the mediaeval architecture of its brick and timber framed houses. Nowadays, attractive modern boutiques replace the shops of former traders behind the carved and moulded stone arches of the middle ages.http://www.quercy-tourisme.com/figeac/images/eng_2.jpghttp://www.quercy-tourisme.com/figeac/images/eng_1.jpg
In the later Renaissance period, wealthy merchants built their turreted stone mansions round an open interior courtyard, with finely carved bulustraded stone staircases leading to the upper floors.http://www.quercy-tourisme.com/figeac/images/eng_3.jpg
At the Place des Ecritures, there is a fine modern rendering of the Rosetta stone, by the artist Joseph Kosuth, celebrating the achievements of Figeac's famous scholar Jean-François Champollion. Born here in 1790, he was the man who first broke the code of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Around Figeac, the river valleys of the Lot and Célé offer a panoply of changing countryside for your leisure and enjoyment. Whether sightseeing, fishing or canoeing, you are never far away from small villages rich in prehistoric and early history.
Just a few miles separate the superb views at St. Jean Mirabel from the heights of the ancien fort at Capdenac-le-Haut. The nearby Roman church at Lunan is close to Faycelles and its Merovingian graveyard - an early example of ordered town planning. Camboulit and Cardaillac were mediaeval fortified villages (castra), and in Béduer stands one of the oldest castles in Quercy, now owned by an English family. Certainly you won't find a more delightful setting in which to explore this beautiful part of South West France.


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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 01:04 pm
Well, you all know


Today, the Tour passes the "lying Tour d'Eiffe'l:

Vital Statistics:
Location: Massif Central, France
Completion Date: 1884
Length: 1,853 feet
Type: Arch
Purpose: Railway
Materials: Wrought iron
Longest Single Span: 541 feet
Engineer(s): Gustave Eiffel


In the late 1800s, a mountainous barrier blocked the railways from reaching Southern France. For years, engineers tried to figure out a way to bridge the windy Garabit Valley in France's Massif Central. Finally, one of the era's best engineers, Gustave Eiffel, came up with a brilliant solution. He built a huge wrought-iron arch in record time with just a minimal amount of material. How did he do it?

Rather than building his bridge with thick, solid beams, Eiffel used beams with lots of holes -- holes in the shapes of triangles. Eiffel knew that if his bridge was made of thick, solid beams, it would be very heavy and the beams would rattle in the wind. But if he used a series of open triangles, called a truss, the gusty wind in the valley would blow right through them. Not only is the truss pattern lightweight; it's very stable as well. Depending upon the position of a train on the bridge, the connecting vertical and diagonal segments are pulled into tension and pushed into compression -- forces that resist one another. A push on one segment is resisted by an opposite pull from another, all along its length. So the bridge remains strong and rigid, despite its lightness.

Fast Facts:
It took 38 tons of red paint to coat the entire bridge.
For many years, the Garabit Viaduct remained the tallest bridge in the world. The single railroad track crosses the Garabit Valley, 400 feet above the Truyere River. That's half as high as the Eiffel Tower!
Gustave Eiffel's tremendous success with the Garabit Viaduct, and later with the framework of the Statue of Liberty and Paris' Eiffel Tower, earned him the nickname "magician of iron."


Because it's in (near to) Mrs Walter's hometown, I just want to mention the highest railway bridge in Germany: the "Müngstener Brücke" ('Muengsten Bridge') in Solingen
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 01:45 pm
A landmark in the roman-style art, CONQUES keeps artistic treasures born from the faith of the men from the Middle Ages.


The abbey of Conques, in the heart of the medieval village, has a magnificent treasure of roman-style sculpture and goldsmith's trade. You can admire on its western gate 124 characters set in stone and illustrating Judgment Day. Ste Foy (the local saint) keeps watch over a treasure of gold, silver precious stones reliquary. The abbey de Conques the Pont des Pélerins are a world classified site by UNESCO, as well as the roads to Compostelle.



The Entraygues sur Truyère region is located at the junction of the roads of the Auvergne and the Lot Valley: "between the waters" as its name says in the langue d'oc. The town Entraygues itself has retained its medieval-style alleys: covered passages, "cantous" (passages under the houses), XVth and XVIIth century houses and Notre Dame du Pontet chapel.

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 01:58 pm

" Would you like some more? "

You will often hear this sentence and be in trouble if there's some left in your plate ! The Cantal gastronomy is rich, generous and convivial, same as its land. All the products used in the different recipes come from this volcanic land : vegetables from the garden, animals fed with mountain pastures, cheeses perfumed with flowers of summering land, harvested fruits, liquors, wines and aperitifs from wild plants…

"Chou farci" (Stuffed cabbage) :
It is layers (cabbage and forcemeat with herbs) placed in a casserole, then put in the oven and simmered for a long time until the top becomes browned.

"Potée auvergnate" (the Auvergne stew) :
Various vegetables and "petit salé"(salt pork), knuckle, sausage cooked in the stock.

"Pounti" :
Pudding with stuffing, herbs and prunes.

"Truffade" :
Cut potatoes in large slices and put them into a pan. Steam. Add the slices of "Tome fraîche" cheese, mix and serve as soon as the cheese has completely melt.

"Aligot" :
Mash potatoes. Add garlic, cream and "tome fraîche" of Cantal cheese. Mix until it appears like a ribbon.

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Steve 41oo
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 02:07 pm
Brilliant Walter

I don't know how you manage to ride with the peloton, take the photos, give the history and write up the recipes all at the same time. You must be exhausted every night.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 02:10 pm
Could you ask me tomorrow again, please, Steve?

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Steve 41oo
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 02:21 pm
Now you really are joking. I know your proper bike is off photo to the right. You just borrowed that one.
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