Time for a picnic!

 

It’s a great fRench institution – le picnique. And, we are great fans of it. Pack up the car, chill the wine, grab a baguette and off you go. The Perigord was no exception.

 

Quaint village overlooking the Dordoyne

 

 

 

Baling up the hay for winter. Fodder for the famous Charolais cattle.

 

The Dordoyne continued to reveal great little villages, many hugging the contours of the river.

We popped into Monpazier, drawn by the view and also the multitude of foie gras shops!

For once the tourist, and not behind the camera

 

The main square of Monpazier

 

As in the rest of France, food is important

 

Verdant pastures

 

 

What a couple in Salat

 

Touring is hard work.

Little houses line the walk up the hill to the chateau

 

The Cazenac main square is right up at the top!

 

Part of the Chateau battlements

 

 

We followed the Dordoyne river in search of more and more. Our hosts took us next to the river village with a hilltop one literally perched on top of it – Beynac and Cazenac. We had thought the Entrevaux was a stiff climb, the Cazenac climb re-wrote the record books.

This road winds and winds. Fortunately there is an ice cream shop on the way up and a restaurant.

 

Fascinating old buildings

 

 

Views of the Dordoyne abound

 

The Chateau right up at the top

 

The King George Hotel in Belves – Michelin restaurant as well!

 

The villages are pretty close together and we moved on to the film set village of Belves. Here we found a great definition of a Bastide – straddling the Valley of the Dropt.

The story – “by creating a Bastide, the King seeks to develop virgin lands. It’s setting up is carefully thought through in order to make a profit from the environment. The Dropt, small stream always supplied with water, allows the building of mills. Lands close to the Bastide are worked as kitchen gardens. The farthest ones are used to grow cereals. Woods are a source of raw material for craft industry and building. Finally, to make trade and transactions easier, the Bastide is located at the cross roads between commercial routes.”

 

The Town Square is quite amazing. You can almost hear the clip=clop of horses in days gone by, swords swishing, it’s a movie!

 

Another view of part of the Town Square

 

Madame got a bit nosy and popped into a house renovation – these owners are brave.

 

Under the canopy in the town Square are three flagons for dispensing water/wine for thirsty villagers in days gone by.

 

Not only Provence has roses encircling doorways!

 

Atmosphere…

 

Can’t get enough of the Town Square

 

Seen in Monpazier

 

Lazing in Issigeac

Just down the road from Bergerac is the quaint medieval village of Issigeac. It seems to be a haven for English ex-pats and second homes from across the channel. The architecture is ‘very English’ although I was assured that the lines of the buildings do differ slightly from the Tudor houses in places like Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Issegerac town square

 

Perhaps the clear blue sky denotes that is ins not England, but the architecture could be in the Cotswolds or in Kent.

 

Many houses traverse the narrow streets and lanes

 

Cheek by jowl

 

However, we knew that we were still in France, when we found this delightful family owned restaurant

 

It wasn’t long before the kettle picture with Complet (full) was placed outside. All of 18 people for lunch!

 

Oh! Did we mention that this area is the foie gras capital of the world. Ducks and geese everywhere plus the famous Charolais cattle. Steaks were around the corner.

We buzzing along the autoroute with a -very full – car and headed past Carcassone and Castelnaudry (both for another day) and arrived at Village de Constant, a Holiday Bond property to meet up with cousins Rachel and Dave.

First stop next………Bergerac.

Clad in festive bunting for the annual wine festival we found Bergerac enchanting. Situated on he banks of the Dordoyne river the old village is immaculate and festive.

The statue of the fictional character Cyrano de Bergerac – a well known play was written about him by a resident of Bergerac. Note his elongated and upturned nose.

 

Bunting everywhere. The architecture reminded us of England, not surprising as this area was under British rule for many years.

 

Old boats ply their trade on the Dordoyne along with more modern barges

 

A view of the village

 

The main Town Square of Bergerac ringed by restaurants, upmarket shops and the inevitable Notre Dame Cathedral.

Where is this?

It is customary for us to leave Provence at this time of year and venture to places new and then on to South Africa for a safari and a catch up with family and friends.
2013 has been no different. This year we popped into the Perigord (South-West France in the Dordoyne area), moved north to Switzerland and then down to South Africa and an adventure in Namibia.
As usual, LSW will keep you posted.

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