The medieval city of St. Lizier was the perfect place for me this afternoon. Lunch (late) was on the terrace of a creperie across the place (square, but it wasn't so I'll stick to the French term) from the Cathedral of St. Lizier, another on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
The cathedral was awesome, in the less-than-hip sense of that word. Its cloister was small, beautiful and with a second story porch, which was closed to the public. The building itself makes a kind of arching curve, clearly visible from the inside. Typical of medieval churches, other buildings ran right up next to it and I couldn't get far enough away for a good photo.
The interior of the cathedral was dark, with lights that could be illuminated for short periods. It made me imagine the interiors of these old cathedrals before electricity, in candlelight. The frescos are from the11th century. I don't know the date of the polychromed wooden sculpture, but she is hollow. From the back chisel marks remain visible in the wood. This was another of the stops on the Route de Compostellae, this route coming from Narbonne.
The city has another Cathedral, and a palace of bishops, which now houses a museum rich with Roman and Merovingian objects from the area. There were architectural elements, but also jewelry, tools, and coins. A fair-sized section of the original, Roman (not medieval) wall remains, included in a photo here.
The frescos on the ceiling of the other Cathedral, La Cathedrale Notre-Dame de la Sede is covered with frescos of the 12 sibylles of antiquity and the 12 sons of Job. They date from the 15th century.
The gentleman who checked me into the hotel was also waiting tables at lunchtime service, and very busy. But he took the time to tell me where I could bring my bike in and lock it, later gave me the internet codes. When I returned late in the day, he asked about my trip, we got to talking cycling, and he gave me the name of this site. You can find it by googling salite. It is http://www.zanibike.net, and anyone interested in climbing on a bike should look at. An Italian site, cols all over the world are included, along with stats about distance, altitude gain and grade. I am sure he has done a lot of riding, and suspected him of winning the Tour de France long long ago, but he laughed and denied it.
The last photo is the view from my hotel balcony at the Hotel de la Tour.
Dinner was delicious, and leisurely and I am now full and tired. Tomorrow I head to Biert, at the base of Col de Port.