by Thing One
Dear Mom and Dad,
I got into Périgueux last night, after riding trains all day, and my new companion is Elder Yeung (from Hong Kong), who was in Béziers two transfers ago.
I went on a train to Toulouse and then waited there for six hours before getting on the TGV to Bordeaux, and then the TER to Périgueux. I got in about 8h00. Another missionary who came in as well, Elder Loera, was on a very delayed train. He was coming from Nice, and he had a 3 minute layover in Bordeaux, and the missionaries who were at the station to help missionaries move their bags from one train to another weren’t sure if he got on the train or not. I dropped my things off in the apartment, and Elder Yeung, Elder McBeth and myself went to the station to pick up Elder Loera. His train wasn’t there. It was an hour late. Then it got an hour and 15 minutes late. Then an hour and a half late. It was past 10, and Elder Loera called us from someone else’s phone to say to go back to the apartment and he’d call us when he was in. The train was not moving at all. Eventually it started up again and he got in at 11h30. Today I found this email:
You plan to travel with SNCF on 03.03.2014 on the 8516 train from TOULOUSE MATABIAU to BORDEAUX ST JEAN.
We inform you that due to high winds and flooding on Brittany, Pays de la Loire and Aquitaine, the flow of all TGVs may be disturbed.
We invite you to visit regularly Infolignes or mobile application SNCF Direct to know the traffic conditions of your train.
Traveling with TGV and INTERCITES for any course in France, you get THE TRAVEL GUARANTEE whose conditions include specific application available on sncf.com .
SNCF thanks you for your understanding.”
This cybercafe is a lot nicer than the one in Narbonne. It’s like an office, You can buy 10 hours of internet for 15 Euros, the furniture and computers are nicer, and most importantly, there’s no Arabic song the owners play over and over.
In Narbonne, Frere Fructuoso took us to church! We had another family home evening with the L—— family. This lesson was the Plan of Salvation. They were a little confused because it was new things for them, and they explained their beliefs afterward. We explained it quickly and simply so the kids wouldn’t get bored. We made cookies and played a board game with the kids.
The church in Périgueux is a branch with about 50 or 60 attending. We have a few investigators already as well. According to Elder Phelps’ uncles, Périgueux is known for its foie gras.
(Editor’s Note: Thing One’s letter ends here. For now, this is a brief introduction to Périgueux, and we look forward to learning more about the area from Thing One’s future letters.)
Périgueux is the capital of the Dordogne Department, also known as the Périgord (which will be explained soon), also known as the northern part of the Aquitaine region. To organize (or confuse) the area further, the Périgord is divided into four sub-regions, the Périgord Noir (Black, for the truffles), the Périgord Blanc (White, for the color of the rocks), the Périgord Vert (Green, for the landscape) and the Périgord Pourpre (Purple, for the grapes). Got all that? Good!
Returning to Périgueux, it’s the capital of the region (whatever you choose to call the region from the abundant choices just presented), with origins dating back to around 200 BC. The name Périgueux derives from Petrocorii, a Latin-Celtic hybrid word describing the four Gallic tribes who arrived from the north and settled the area before the Roman conquest. The Romans established the city of Vesunna, which at its height was a city of 15-20,000 inhabitants with amphitheaters, baths, temples and a forum. Today remnants of Vesunna can be viewed at the Museé Vesunna. By the end of the third century AD the Roman town was surrounded by a defensive wall and renamed Civitas Petrocoriorum.
During the Middle Ages the town was less prosperous, but its walls protected it from several Norman attacks.
Nearby, the village of Puy-Saint-Front began to grow around the abbey sanctuary containing the remains of Saint Front, the Apostle of Périgord and first bishop of Périgueux. (The Byzantine-style Cathédrale Saint-Front de Périgueux was modeled after the St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and was the design inspiration for Sacré Coeur in Montmarte, Paris.)
Merchants and artisans interested in doing business with the travelers and clerics led to the expansion of this village and by 1240 a treaty was established to unite the Civitas Petrocoriorum (called the Cité) and the Bourg du Puy Saint-Front into the city now known as Périgueux.
- Read the 1240 treaty of union between the two towns
The Périgord region would be the site of many battles during the Hundred Years’ War of the 14th and 15th centuries, and as a result, the region teems with fortified churches and towns (Bastides), and over one thousand medieval and Renaissance castles situated mainly along the Dordogne and Vézère rivers. Périgueux was held by England for most of the Hundred Years’ War and in the 16th century it was a stronghold of Protestantism. Skipping ahead to the French Revolution, by 1790 Périgueux became the préfecture of the département de la Dordogne and began to flourish again after the difficulties of earlier centuries. When the railway was built through the town in 1856, Périgueux expanded further and today is home to about 30,000 inhabitants.
(The Gimlet would really like to learn more about the eviction of the Huguenots under King Louis XIV and the impact the eviction had on Périgueux if any, but this is a family blog post, not a PBS history miniseries. He can look it up for himself.)
The Périgord is renowned for its cuisine, particularly for products related to ducks and geese. The two standout offerings from this region are truffles and foie gras. Will a missionary’s diet include these delicacies, or will Thing One stick with Nutella? We’ll find out.
If all this history were not enough, the Dordogne department is also the location of the Lascaux caves, famous for their Paleolithic cave paintings. Yet another destination to add to the wish list if our family gets to pick up Thing One at the end of his mission. All the sightseeing may require an extra month to bring Thing One home.
Tags: france lyon mission, LDS missionary, narbonne, périgueux