France
Dordogne

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132 travelers at this place

  • Day49

    Down to the Dordogne

    October 8, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Clockmakers might try to tell us that all days are the same length. Of course that is demonstrably incorrect. Today was a day that was obviously much longer than the preceeding days.

    We always knew that it was going to be a long drive from Rochefort to Salart la Caneda. Of course we had the advantage of a very sophisticated GPS navigation system in our oversized Peugeot 3008 to assist us every cm of the way. When we entered the destination details into the unit, it thought for some time and then presented us with a range of options to choose from.

    There was a "FAST" option that promised we could get there in about 3 hours. That would have been utilising the network of high speed toll roads. It would also have been extremely boring, but the real reason I rejected that option is that it would have cost almost 40 Euro (about $70 AUD) in toll fees.

    There were also a range of other options, including "SHORT", "ECOLOGICAL" (whatever that means) and "COMPROMISE". After due consideration I decided that it is always good to be able to reach a compromise, so selected that option. We were finally on our way.

    The skies opened up as we left Rochefort and almost immediately we began following a very complex set of navigational directions. It quickly became evident that selecting the compromise option put us onto the most complicated set of back roads and cattle tracks that would be possible. Not to mention the inevitable roundabouts at about every 200 metre interval. It was going to be a slow and tedious drive, but at least the scenery was glorious.

    We could certainly see why the Dordogne is such a popular region for travellers and also for expatriate English couples to settle. The rolling green hills, tiny villages and vineyards tempted us to stop every few minutes to take pictures. We would have taken more pictures, but I was starting to worry that, at the pace we were travelling, it was going to take us about 3 days just to reach the destination.

    The route did take us through the town of Pons. It proved to be something of a ghost town with most of the crumbling buildings looking like they had been abandoned decades ago. The only shops that were still open were the Tabac (tobacco shop and bar) and the boulangerie (every French person needs fresh baguettes twice a day). There was one other type of business that appeared to be still operating - the ladies hairdresser. In France these places are strangely named "Institute of Beauty", leading me to wonder whether the hairdresser in Pons could rightfully be called "The Pons Institute". Sometimes my mind works in weird ways.

    We were glad to be back on the move again, albeit at a glacial pace. The tiny roads twisted and turned manically, and every time we met an oncoming vehicle, I had to almost leave the road and drive along the side ditch. On each such occasion, Maggie would scream loudly, indicating her complete lack of confidence in my driving skill.

    An even more stressful event occured when we found ourselves driving through the tiny town of Aubeterre. We entered the place without undue difficulty, but soon discovered that the roads in the middle of the town were fashioned like a lobster pot. You could drive into them, but there was no way out. I circled around the tiny central square, giving great entertainment to the coffee drinking locals who obviously welcomed such an amusing diversion.

    The only obvious way out of the trap was through what looked like someone' s front door. Although the GPS told me to drive through the doorway, every natural instinct told me that it would be a one way end to the day's driving. I circled the bemused spectators a couple more times, weighing up my options.

    I eventually stopped in the middle of the road and sent Maggie to ask for directions. She came back a few minutes later with the advice that I had been dreading. The only way out was through the doorway and out via the living room. Apparently they assured her that the path does "eventually widen a bit".

    What ensued next was a terrifying series of low speed turns, interspersed with forward movements of about 5 cm at a time. Maggie stood in front of the car and tried to issue coherent instructions. I sat behind the wheel, almost soiling my pants. Why did Alamo think they were doing us a favour by giving us such a HUGE car, instead of the compact one we had booked ? I think I now know the reason - no one else would ever want such a liabilty.

    Somehow we eventually managed to get through the orifice, and I hope the damage will not be spotted when the car is returned. The road did eventually widen a little, but our progress was so slow that, a couple of hours later, we decided to abandon the COMPROMISE option and select the fastest route possible. It was a wise decision.

    Soon we were hurtling along at 140 kph and finally feeling like we were getting somewhere. We did get somewhere - the next pay station. I fed a handful of Euro into the machine, but by that time I did not care. I just wanted to get there.

    We eventually arrived at Sarlat at about 4.30 pm. It had been a very long day. I would estimate that at least 14 hours had passed since we left Rochefort at 9.30 am that morning.

    Our final challenge was to find a spot to park our (huge) car and then find the apartment we had booked for the next four nights. The owner had not returned the messages or calls we had made during the day, but fortunately he had emailed directions as to how to open the door.

    To our relief we did find the address and gained access to the building. Not so welcome was the two flights of steep, narrow stairs we had to carry (ie drag) our luggage up to the apartment on the second floor. Fortunately the unit itself was magic - spacious, clean and almost new. The views from the windows were wonderful. As for me, I was just relieved that we had arrived safely and that I did not have to drive anywhere the next day.

    Another most welcome development that had taken place during the day was that the wet weather had passed by and been replaced by beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine. The further south we travelled, the warmer it became. I almost thought that I would have to retrieve the pair of shorts that I had packed away somewhere deep in my lugagge.
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  • Day50

    Sarlat la Caneda

    October 9, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    It is a powerful feeling to be walking alleyways and staircases that have been trodden for hundreds of years. Since time immemorial (or maybe even longer) Sarlat la Caneda has been a centre of worship and trade. Much of the old city that you see today was constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. It has also been a part of the French Camino pilgrim trail to Santiago, so it has been well visited by pilgrims on the way of St James.

    When we chose to spend four nights in this city we did not appreciate just how magical the place would be. Our first challenge on arrival was to find a place to park our rental car. There was no way that I wanted to accidentally get stuck with it in one of those tiny winding alleyways. That was a terror that I never wanted to experience again.

    To our relief we did find a public car park only a couple of hours walk from our apartment. Getting our luggage from the car park, through the city and up the 40 steps to the apartment was quite a physical challenge. Whoever said that holidays were meant to be easy ? I think that, by the time we get back to Melbourne, we will need another holiday, just to recover from this one.

    On our first full day in the city we decided to leave the car exactly where we had parked it and do our exploring on foot. It is always surprising that a place that looked so confusing on arrival, quickly starts to feel familiar. It did not take long for us to note a few significant landmarks and then to begin to build a mental map of our new surroundings.

    After a day of walking exploration, we retreated back to the apartment with a pizza and tartiflette purchased from the shop across the road. It was a lovely end to a glorious day in Sarlat.

    Tomorrow we plan to explore a little further afield, that is if our car is still there when we wake up in the morning.
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  • Day52

    An Indian Summer in Sarlat

    October 11, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    I have to admit that we both believed that the balmy days of summer had passed by for another year. Over the past couple of weeks we could feel the increasing chill in the air and the skies were almost invariably overcast. It was certainly a far cry from those initial couple of hot and cloudless weeks we had spent in Provence at the start of this trip.

    You can imagine our surprise when we awoke to find that the clouds had all disappeared and the sun had regained some of its former sting. We had no ambitious plans for the day, since this will be our last "day of leisure" before the pace of things increases as the day of our return to Australia draws close.

    After a somewhat slow breakfast, we wandered back to the centre of the old town. Now that we have learned our way about we have discovered that there was a much quicker route than the one we had first followed. The place really was quickly beginning to feel quite familiar. We eve found ourselves referring to our rented apartment as "home". That was how we felt.

    By the middle of the day the temperature had risen to around 25C and the sun actually felt hot on our skin. I guess we were experiencing something of an "Indian summer" in France. At one stage while we were walking in a narrow alleyway, we heard an earsplitting noise overhead. It really took us a moment to figure out what was happening. It was a very low altitude flyover by some mighty fast fighter jets. I have no idea what type of plane they were, but the sound was quite terrifying. This is a spectacle that we never experience in Australia, I suppose because the few planes we possess are all situated somewhere in the north of the country. In France, the locals do not bat an eye when this happens.

    In the afternoon we decided to follow a quiet walking path up the hill to gain a panoramic view of the town. It went quite well until we realised that we had ended up in someone's private yard. Fortunately they did not send the dogs after us and we were able to safely retrace our steps.

    Tonight will be our final night in Salart as tomorrow we begin the long journey back home. By tomorrow evening we will be back in familiar territory in Tours as we return the rental car. On the following day we will continue our way to Paris by train.
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  • Day6

    Scoping out Sarlat

    September 11, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    What a great time we had today scoping out Sarlat. First we slept in which was much needed. We found out that it was "Market" day in Sarlat. We began the day with petite dejeuner at a sidewalk cafe. We wandered the streets and avenues, looking for deals. Laurie bought cheese and olives. Kimberly was looking for art and a ring.
    Our challenge was to explore the region for a chateau that was built into a cliff, much like the anasazi in the southwest United States. Then we went on a local Chateau "search." And we found them. Surprise after surprise.
    We spent the afternoon shopping after all the crowds dissapeared when the market closed down.
    We made reservations at Romain, as we enjoyed the meal and ambiance the previous night.
    Looking forward to Rocamador tomorrow.
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  • Day5

    Annecy to Sarlat, France

    September 10, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Today we drove from Annecy to Sarlat. We took a serendipity to see Chateau Hautefort. If you have seen the movie "Ever After", it was one of the Chateaux.
    Ended with a wonderful dinner at "Romane" in Sarlat.Read more

  • Day9

    Von Angoulins nach Bergerac

    June 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Bei herrlichem Sonnenschein und bereits 24°C am Morgen wollen wir heute Abschied von der Atlantikküste nehmen und uns dem Dordogne-Tal nähern, Bereich Bergerac. Über die D137 geht die Fahrt nach Rochefort, unterwegs sehen wir das Fort Boyard aus dem Wasser ragen. Weiter nach Saintes und Pons, ferner Jonzac und Montendre. Dann folgt die D730 bis Montpon. Im France Passion-Führer soll es ein kleines Weingut vor Bergerac geben. Dazu auf die D9 Richtung Castillon, wenige km vor dem Ort links ab und einer Nebenstrasse nach St. Michel und in die Nähe von Montcaret folgen. Gegenverkehr wäre hier nicht wünschenswert. Nach 1,2km links ab auf den Hof der Domäne de Perreau. Hier ist Platz für 2 Mobile. Wir sind momentan die einzigen, die sich getraut haben. Die nette junge Winzerin empfängt uns und bietet gleich eine Weinprobe für 17Uhr an, nur für uns! Grosse Anbauflächen verschiedener Weinsorten sind rundherum zu sehen. Die Weine schmecken alle gut und sind mit einem Flaschenpreis von 5,50 bis 7,00€ sogar günstig. Wir kaufen nach einem netten Gespräch natürlich mehrere Flaschen. Dafür dürfen wir auch hier auf dem Gelände ruhig übernachten. Mittlerweile sind wir bei Temperaturen von 31°C angelangt, aber in der Nähe der Weinflaschen ist das Klima angenehm kühl! :-)Read more

  • Day10

    Von Bergerac nach Tremolat

    June 2, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Das war eine himmlische ruhige Nacht auf der Wiese der Domäne. Wir verabschieden uns bei sonnigen 18°C am frühen Morgen von der Winzerin und fahren in die Stadt Bergerac. Am Ufer der Dordogne finden wir sogar (heute ist Sonntag) einen Parkplatz an der Parallelstraße. Von hier gehen wir zu Fuss in die nahegelegene historische Altstadt. Am Denkmal von Cyrano de Bergerac vorbei, an der Kirche entlang (es war gerade Gottesdienst) und an vielen kleinen nett hergerichteten alten Häusern entlang. Anschließend fuhren wir zu den Cingle de Tremolat. So heißen die Kurven, in denen sich die Dordogne durch das Tal schlängelt. Man kann auf schmalen Strassen dem Flussverlauf folgen. Als wir durch den Ort selbst kommen, sehen wir auf einem kleinen von Hecken gesäumten Platz mitten im Ort ein Wohnmobil stehen und beschließen spontan hier zu bleiben. Die Stellplatz-App bestätigt unser Vorhaben: Platz für 5 Mobile! Die Sonne scheint gnadenlos, wir messen 33°C - Sommerfeeling! Viel trinken, den kleinen Ort besichtigen (es gibt sogar ein 4*Hotel hier!) und relaxen. Vorher kamen wir auch noch durch Limeuil, mehr für Touristen!Read more

  • Day10

    Der Weg ist das Ziel die 2.

    August 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Leider mussten wir heute morgen die Insel verlassen und haben uns auf den Weg nach Sarlst la Caneda gemacht. Auch diesmal sindxwir nur Landstraße gefahren . Dabei sind wir durchs Perigord blanc, weiter durchs Perigord noir an der Dordogne und vielen Burgen vorbei gekommen. Auf einmal wurde die Landschaft sehr felsige und wir sind durch das Tal der Urzeit Menschen gefahren Cro Magnon!
    In Sarlat wurden wir von den Eindrücken dieser hübschen kleinen Stadt und den Menschenmassen schier erschlagen.
    Parkplatzsuche v
    Einchecken im Hotel v
    Rein in den Trubel,v
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  • Day11

    Lescaux

    August 13, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Heute haben wir uns Lescaux IV angesehen. Echt beeindruckend, wie realistisch der Nachbau gestaltet worden ist. Leider durfte man dort keine Fotos machen. Den Abend haben wir bei einem leckeren Menü in Sarlat ausklingen lassen.Read more

  • Day12

    Mittelalter

    August 14, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Wir haben Domme besichtigt; ein kleiner Ort oben auf einem Felsen mit einem wunderbaren Blick ins Tal der Dordogne. Der Ort ist datiert mit dem 11.Jahrhundert. Wirklich unglaublich, welche Aussicht man vor hier oben hat; Wir hatten eigentlich vor eine Kanutour auf der Dordogne zu machen....es waren aber soviele Menschen unterwegs das es uns ein wenig abgeschreckt hat. Also ist es beim Picknick am Flussufer geblieben. Am Abend haben wir wieder einen Rundgsng durch Sarlat unternommen. Dabei sind wir auf ein hervorragendes Restaurant gestoßen:
    Geule & Gosier! Hier in Sarlat ist mega viel los! Extrem viele Menschen, die sich durch die mittelalterliche Altstadt schieben; zu 90 % Franzosen ( die haben gerade Sommerferien) kaum Deutsche, viele Engländer. Jeden Abrnd ist die Stadt voll mit sehr guten Strassenkünstlern die richtige Shows bieten.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Département de la Dordogne, Departement de la Dordogne, Dordogne, Dordoña, Dordogna, Dordonha

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