Saturday, February 10, 2007
Les Deux Durforts
We read about a village that piqued our interest---all they do there is make copper cookware. It was hard to keep my imagination under control at that point, so out came the maps and the search was on. The weather was glum and drive along the tiniest of backroads was just the shot in the arm we needed. The promise of viewing artisans perfecting their centuries-old coppersmith craft had me on edge.
The roads, as they were, narrowed, the signposts almost negligible. Would we be the first visitors to this amazing place? Without notice we were there. It at once became obvious that their copper industry was a well-kept secret. There was absolutely no evidence of artisans, shops, craftsmen, or that a tourist had ever been remotely close. Doug looked at me in his "you are the navigator" stare, and I had no rebuttal but to pull out the book and check my homework.
Who would have known that there would have been two Durforts? Why on earth would they name another town identically in Ariege and Haute-Garonne? Go figure. So, a few days later
on yet another glum morning, after thoroughly studying the map in the guidebook, off we head to Durfort in the Haute-Garonne. After one let-down I know the experience cannot be repeated, can it? The countryside is captivating, the mist rising off the hillsides. It reminds me of the Smokey Mountains. Hawks and herons everywhere. The hawks are always on the hunt, but I have yet to see one successful. But we figure it must be good hunting grounds around here.
On to Durfort Deux. I have only made a few miscalculations in directing our whereabouts. The fine print on this map is not designed for bifocals. The road takes us through the greenest rolling hills as we head towards the Montagne Noir, the Black Mountains. Durfort is nestled deep within them, along a river that fueled the industry supporting this village. We arrive shortly past noon on February 10. Deader than a doornail would be an understatement. Not only were the 2-1/2 hour luncheon closure hours in effect, but it is the middle of winter. No one, and I mean no one is open and there is no life on the streets. We press our faces to the windows of the shops and drool looking at the shelves of copper pots and bowls inside. Behind these shop doors, there are artisans actually making these items (of course not right now!). Ferme, ferme, ferme, the signs all tell us.
We will return. Probably to both Durforts. Why not?
Click on the pictures to enlarge. By the way, none of them have anything to do with Durfort.