It’s a short post from me this week as I’m just back from our family holiday in the sleepy Dordogne. Once again we were treated to long evenings of rich wine and engaging conversation with our friends at ‘Josse’, and surrounded by panoramic views of vineyards and fields of sunflowers. All in all, a very relaxing week. Here’s a few of my highlights:
Rocamadour is built into the sheer rock face of a gorge above the River Dordogne. Built on the shrine of a Madonna, it’s thought that the Abbey here dates back almost a thousand years in some form and, believed to hold great healing powers, became the site of a major pilgrimage over the ages.
The village beneath the Abbey is full of paved streets, lined with medieval houses and contains fortified stone gateways, all of which are totally breathtaking.
We did take the 216 steps down (although not on our knees as the pilgrims once did), but there is also a winding road that leads down and I believe a lift for the less discerning traveller. Certainly worth a look if you are in the area.
Overlooking the imposing Dordogne River, Beynac is another historic village set on the mountainside around an impressive castle.
We arrived in the evening, just when the day trippers were leaving, which meant that we were able to enjoy many of the narrow, winding lanes to ourselves as we climbed to the top. It’s certainly a steep one, and like many other French Bastides, built way before cars, although I believe there is a route at the rear which takes you almost to the peak.
The brilliance of Beynac is the creamy buildings which looked absolutely splendid at dusk.
A Very French Experience
For our last night in France, we bid our dear friends farewell, and travelled out in search of a Chambre de Hote. These French bed and breakfasts have been much talked about by our friends and we felt compelled to give them a go.
After a couple of false starts (August is their busiest holiday month) we eventually found accommodation with Elisabeth and Emilie, just a few kilometres from Bergerac. In our pigeon French we managed to negotiate a room for the night and here it is.
What struck me was the complete friendliness and trust of the local people. Having met us for five minutes, we had the key to this new gite. They were busy on the Sunday, so left the breakfast room, which again overlooked beautiful countryside, open and the table laid for us. All we were instructed to do was to close the doors behind us when we left. Obviously, not much of a crime hotspot there then!
I hope you enjoyed our photographs and manage to get out to experience the Dordogne for yourself one day. This is really only the tip of the iceberg; there is so much more to be explored.
This forthcoming Saturday I will be signing copies of The Truth Will Out at Oundle Bookshop from 10 – 12pm. Do pop along for a chat if you are nearby. There is a Farmer’s Market on that morning, so it’s set to be an interesting occasion for all.
Have a wonderful week, all.