During our last long weekend off before school let out this past spring, Danny and I took a road trip first to the north and then to the west of Madrid. We started out with a visit to La Granja on Friday afternoon, and then on Saturday morning we got going early so that we could have a whole day in Salamanca. It's a medium-sized town about two hours by car from Madrid that is famous for its university. I'd been wanting to visit for a while, but felt it was a little far for just a day trip, so this long weekend seemed like the perfect time to fit it in.
Did you know that for a while during the 14th century, the Catholic church picked up everything and relocated its seat of power from Rome to Avignon? It was all because of politics (some things never change!), and for 70-something years the popes took up residence in France instead of Italy. Obviously, it was a pretty short-lived stint in the history of the church, but it left behind the grand Palais des Papes as well as a pretty impressive claim to fame for Avignon.
From Belcastel we drove to the Viaduc de Millau, which was slightly out of the way to our primary sight for the day, but I thought Danny would really like it (he's always seemed really into bridges, but it turns out it's more a thing with historic bridges than modern ones...now I know!). We opted not to drive over the bridge as the toll to do so is rather hefty (I think around €12) and we generally skip toll roads as much as possible in Europe as they add up very quickly and the back roads are often much more scenic.
On Friday night we left Toulouse in our rental car and headed north for Cahors, the first stop on our road trip around southern France. Cahors caught my eye because of its pretty bridge, the Pont Valentré. We got in to our Airbnb as it was getting dark, which wasn't our plan, but we decided to stop for groceries before leaving Toulouse so that we could have some picnics in the coming days, and that set us behind a bit. There wasn't anything too noteworthy about our stay that evening except it did have the best WiFi of our trip.