(Nogaro, France) Is it indecent to eat duck foie gras twice in the same day? Apparently not in the Gers, which makes it a specialty with Armagnac.

After the Bayonne ham the day before, the people of Nogaro raised their level of play a notch in favor of the belly of the followers who were already a little bloodless a week after the Tour de France pitched its tent in Bilbao. How about some smoked duck gizzard in the dinner salad?

Failing to have been memorable on the sporting level, the fourth stage disputed in the green countryside between Dax and Nogaro was a first opportunity for the French to set out the tables for an aperitif on the side of the roads. Quite a contrast to the images of riots that have been lining the headlines for a week.

In the paddocks at Dax, I took a picture of Adam Yates, his lover Lisa and their dog Zoe. So Hugo Houle will finally have a good reason to call me paparazzi.

Before the start, we met the former yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler, ready to get on his bike to comment on the race live. “The first winner of the Quebec Grand Prix!” I blurted out.

“It’s a lasting memory,” he replied before turning around, “The evening too, huh…”

Around the arenas, there were crowds. After kick-off, people flocked to the other corner to watch the peloton slip away one last time. A few seconds and it was over.

The press cars waited for the caravan of team cars to open their way to the start of the course. Enough time to observe the statue of a toreador and a strange stilt-walker dressed in a sheepskin coat pass over my head.

In Nogaro, some 600 guests, in other words a quarter of the village, came to watch the finish on the Paul Armagnac circuit, named after the greatest Gascon driver who died in the race in 1962.

To finally see the cyclists ride other than on a screen, I climbed on a narrow concrete wall at the entrance to the route, one foot precariously balanced on a column of tires. A gendarme gave me his hand to come down…

Crossed at the exit, a couple shared their enthusiasm, even if they knew nothing about cycling. “We, here, is motor racing,” the former boss of the local café told me, who remembers the passages of Formula 1 drivers like Jean-Pierre Jabouille, who died earlier this year.

Before leaving, they introduced me to the director of the Nogaro circuit, Caroline Divies, to whom I submitted that the show had been more dynamic on its track. “It’s going fast here, motor or no motor!” »

The party continued on the few terraces of the small town a few minutes walk away. The owner of the Hôtel-Restaurant du Commerce offered me a table inside so that I could continue to write in front of my foie gras salad. The waiter finished me off with an apple crisp with Armagnac coulis.

By 10:30 p.m., no one was left. She explained to me where I would find the stop for the bus that was to pick me up Wednesday at 6:15 a.m. “The door will not be locked. In Auch, prefecture of the department, I will jump on a train for Toulouse and then the airport. Because yes, I’m going back to Montreal.

As I was leaving, the landlady entrusted me with Ramses and Titi, the two Siamese cats that I must not let out.