These don’t give you the same sense of the wartime atmosphere or aesthetic as the 1967 documentary about Dutch-Paris that I mentioned in my last post, but here are some photos from my most recent research trip to Europe in May 2012.

Matabiau Train Station in Toulouse 2012

Like most of the Engelandvaarders and Allied aviators who traveled with Dutch-Paris, I took a train from the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris to the Gare Matabiau in Toulouse (the slow train; the more frequent TGV leaves from Gare Montparnasse).

Rue Croix-Baragnon, Toulouse, 2012

I was amazed to discover that I could eat in one of the same restaurants in Toulouse where many of them had eaten: the Restaurant La Truffe du Quercy in the rue Croix-Baragnon.

Restaurant la Truffe du Quercy, Toulouse, 2012

Many of the rail lines used in the Pyrenees in the 1940’s have been turned into roads, so I had to drive a car south from Toulouse.  Dutch-Paris evaders, however, took the train, following a guide from the Gare Matabiau in Toulouse to the little station in Loures-Barousse (now an office building).

The Station at Loures-Barousse, 2012

From there they walked 9km to the village of Saléchan, which sits to the west of and a little higher than the road.

The Village of Saléchan, 2012

From Saléchan, the evaders trekked over the mountains to Spain in the dead of night.  The clouds hung low on the mountains when I was there, so I can’t show you the snow-capped peaks, but it’s clear that such a trek could not have been easy even in good weather.  The Pyrenees were less densely forested in the 1940’s than they are today, which might have made the walking easier but would also have made hiding from German patrols more difficult.

Foothills of the Pyrenees near Saléchan, 2012

Arrests closed down this route at Christmas 1943.  After that Dutch-Paris evaders took more challenging routes through much steeper and higher country, so high that the only thing I managed to photograph in that area was the inside of clouds.