In Pictures: D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers at the Village of the Wolf in Gascony (Day 34)

Onwards, southwards. . . from an accidental pilgrimage at the land of green lentils and black Madonna in Le Puy and a bucolic stay at Flower Camping near a French countryside castle, to the land of d’Artagnan, the Three Musketeers and Cyrano de Bergerac in Gascony in the south of France. The most famous of them was born in the village of Lupiac (means “wolf” in French) where wolves, apparently, used to roam free, just like the musketeers (or King Louis XIII’s riflemen), known for their wild, rowdy behavior and fighting spirit.

During our second family camping road trip from Spain to Poland and back, the boys were fascinated by them. So, here is our visit to these wolves’ ancestral den in pictures. Enjoy your trip!

A quiet welcome, one cloudy day, at the Wolf’s Village (Lupiac)–birthplace of, perhaps, the most famous of all musketeers– d’Artagnan.
But who in the world was d’Artagnan? It’s this dude. NO, NOT the horse!
Born Charles de Batz de Castelmore, d’Artagnan (and later Count d’Artagnan), was a 17th century “French Musketeer who served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard. He died at the Siege of Maastricht in the Franco-Dutch War.” (Source: wikipedia, where else?)
Made famous by Alexandre Duma, King Louis XIII’s riflemen (the musketeers) were culled from lower class nobility and were usually the younger children of those families or some ambitious commoners. As such, they were considered unruly, wild and without such fighting spirits that they later became some sort of elite force of the French army.
Psssssttt: here’s the deal: “D’Artagnan, a protagonist of The Three Musketeers (published 1844, performed 1845) by Alexandre Dumas père. The character was based on a real person who had served as a captain of the musketeers under Louis XIV, but Dumas’s account of this young, impressionable, swashbuckling hero must be regarded as primarily fiction.” (Source: wikipedia. Yup! Where else?). . . Pssssssttttt: Please don’t tell the kids that he was all made up!
Finally, after 5,000-something kilometers, on the return trip of our family camping road trip, we made it to the musketeers. It was actually a surprise for the boys because we did not tell them until they. . . well, saw the signs!
Ahhhhh, finally! Dine and drinks and d’Artagnan at the only plaza in Lupiac… But there’s nobody here and everything else, apart from the museum, was closed. Bummer! We (the parents) were looking forward to the local “Wolf Bitch’s Brew Beer”.
Saluting their captain hero, the boys raised their swords and yelled, “One for all, all for one!”–The English translation of the rallying call to arms of the musketeers in Alexander Dumas’ novel “The Three Musketeers”. The BEST part? KIDS are FREE! That is, the entrance of €5.50 is only per adult! YaY!
At attention in front of their captain. The museum-provided headphones and audio-guide in English and other languages was a great service that kept the boys interested for the whole duration of the visit. Wonder how that works now with Covid?
Lots to read at the 2-storey museum about the musketeers, d’Artagnan, the King and the ambitious and life during the 17th century in France, including fashion (what people wore at the time).
Traditional houses at the center of Lupiac-village of the wolves who hold fairs on Saint George’s day and also on the day of Saint Loup–literally “Saint Wolf”! Here’s a little story from a plaque around town: in 1819, the mayor and the local officer in charge of hunting wolves noted that 14 wolves, she-wolves and pups had been killed within the municipality, then 19 wolves the following year. 31 years later, wolves had all disappeared from the area. The coat of arms of the village at that time featured two wolves. And now?
An iron-clad (literally) d’Artagnan watches his museum while pointing his sword ( technically a “rapier”, a secondary weapon of a musketeer). . . maybe at the ghost of Cardinal Richelieu at the tower of Saint Bartholomew’s Church.
Kids@play. “En garde!” ( On [your] guard in French), commanded Karol. “AAAAAHHHHHHHHHtttttttattattaccccckkkkk!,” responded his younger brother! Ohhhhh, how stories come to life. . . when we were young!
Un pour tous, tous pour un!”–the “original” rallying cry of the musketeers was actually originally Latin: “Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno” which, curiously, is the unofficial motto of Switzerland. Really?
Inside Saint Bartholomew’s Church… one of those rare moments when the young one was quiet. . . for a long time. We wondered what he was thinking. And he wouldn’t say it. Hhhhhmmmmm.
Saint Bartholomew’s Church. Small church open to the public. This is one of the 3 remaining churches and chapels that survived the French Revolution (you know, when the King of France and later his Queen Marie Antoinette were beheaded, and later a small man with really big. . . ambitions, called Napoleon, kicked out the revolutionaries and seized France). All the other 11 were destroyed. The addition to the Gothic northern wall of the old church was made in the mid-19th century. The church contains a remarkable 16th century “Pieta”, made from 2 varieties of wood–lime and poplar.

What else is there to see in Lupiac?

If we were to do it over again, we’d give Lupiac at least a full day to see the village center, the d’Artagnan museum, the church, have lunch at the town plaza, and see these two below. But if you have young kids, consider an overnight stay and see the other half for the following day.

Château de Castelmore–the actual French countryside castle where our hero–d’Artagnan was born in 1611 or somewhere around that time.

Lac De Lupiac–a small lake with a beach and a “tropical” style beach bar (with banana trees!).

We had to skip them because… I don’t exactly know why! Maybe it’s just the Duh, DUH. . . . DUH-MB factor. Oh well, save some (as they say) for the next time around.

Where to GO CAMPING?

Camping Le Castex is a very nice well maintained camping site about 10 kilometers west of Lupiac. It’s located on a hill and has plenty of space and shade from full-grown trees which is a relief in the summer heat.

There’s also Camping D’Artagnan and “unusual camping Lou Prada” nearby–both of which we did not stay at.

And OH, just in case you are wondering: NO, WE DO NOT, DID NOT, HAVE NOT received any freebies, payment or anything like that for mentioning these camping sites or any other entities in this post. We just do it for the heck of it (and so that the kids will have something to read about us later. . . they’ll probably gonna hate that when they are older and have girlfriends!)

That’s it for now. There’s always something fascinating, interesting (even if not outright jaw-dropping) to discover anywhere you are. Sometimes you’ve just gotta make an unplanned stop, like what we did in Le Puy, and the curious little story of the artist of the red countryside castle.

NEXT STOP: the Virgin of Lourdes

Relatively short drive to see the Grotto of the Lady of Lourdes, France… a must-see destination of Catholic pilgrims and a place of wonder for the rest like the half of us.

Then, onwards, southwards. . . to Spain and 1,500-something kilometers to go!

But first and overnight camping at the Pyrenees mountains, the French side.

Second half of the return trip of our family camping road trip. . . part 2 with 1,575 kilometers to go from Flower Camping in Naucelle (France), Lupiac, Lourdes, crossing the Pyrenees into Spain, Pamplona, Salamanca and HOME.
First half of the return trip of our family camping road trip. . . part 2 (2,236 kilometers): Poznan, Mainz, Luxembourg. Schengen, Strasbourg, Freiburg, Bern, Lausanne, Geneva, CERN, Perouges, Le Puy, Naucelle, and. . . 1,575 kilometers kilometers to go!

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