Friday, April 15, 2016

End of the Week in the Dordogne

         When I woke up Thursday morning and looked out of the dining room window, it appeared that the Dordogne River had disappeared during the night. Eventually the fog burned off and the sun slowly appeared. By the time we headed off for the morning, the weather was beautiful. We first drove to the village of La Roque Gageac, another of the Plus Beaux Villages de France. La Roque Gageac is located on the Dordogne, and the village stretches up several levels from the river up to the cliffs. In fact, several houses are built right into the cliff walls. We parked by the Dordogne and walked up into and around the village, and past a privately owned chateau just outside the center. We made one stop in town, at an artist's gallery on an upper level of the village. The artist paints watercolors, mostly of scenes of the region, and he said he works in isolation in the woods all winter painting, then opens his shop in La Roque Gageac during the tourist season to try and sell what he painted. His paintings were beautiful, and we bought one depicting La Roque Gageac from the river.

Dordogne from Upper La Roque Gageac

La Roque Gageac from Outskirts of Town

         After leaving La Roque Gageac we headed back in the direction of our gite, then decided to take a detour to Chateau de Marqueyssac, whose grounds have basically been turned into a botanical garden. A striking peacock greeted us at the entrance to the grounds, and we spent about 1 ½ hours strolling through the park. A lot of the park runs along the Dordogne, and there are some amazing views of the river and nearby chateaus. At one point you can get a great view of the chateaus of Beynac, Castelnaud and Feyrac.
The Greeter at Chateau de Marqueyssac

Castelnaud as seen from Marqueyssac

       We then returned to our gite and had a late lunch on the terrace. While the weather forecast most of the week had been iffy and the weather was often variable, we had managed to eat almost all of our lunches and dinners out on the terrace.

         Late in the afternoon we drove to Sarlat again. Without a market, parking in the center was quite easy. Ann wanted to visit the Manoir de Gisson, a magnificent medieval house dating from the 13th Century, and I just wanted to stroll around the center of town, so we split up for an hour. Although Sarlat is quite touristy, the buildings in the center of the town are spectacular. Many of them now house restaurants and shops of all kinds catering to tourists.
Manoir de Gisson

Buildings in Sarlat

           After leaving Sarlat, we headed back to our gite for dinner. It was still quite mild, and the rain held off, so we again had an aperitif and dinner on the terrace. We were joined for aperitifs by the gite owners' cat, who was happy to eat some of the leftover pintade from early in\the week. We finished the Cahors-area Malbec rosé that we had opened at lunch, then had foie gras with the Domaine Lapeyre sweet Jurancon we had purchased the prior week. With dinner we had a bottle of Chateau Bouscassé Madiran.
Cat Joining us for Rose
          Friday morning we drove to Chateau dePuymartin to visit the chateau. There was a 1 hour tour, principally devoted to touring several rooms located throughout the North Tower of the chateau (the round tower below). The chateau was first built in the 13th century, was pretty much destroyed during the Hundred Years War, then eventually rebuilt around 1450, and has been in the same family line since then. The current owners live in the South Tower today.

North and South Towers from Two Persepctives
        After leaving Puymartin we came back to the gite for lunch. Since we only have a few days of our vacation left, and won't be at a house after today, we've been trying to work our way through a lot of the food and wine we bought earlier in the trip. In particular, we're trying to reduce our cheese and wine supply. With lunch, we had most of a bottle of the Domaine de Cause Viognier we bought a few days ago, and once again it was superb.

        After lunch we decided to take a leisurely walk along the Dordogne. At the edge of the village there's a walking path that goes along the river, and we walked along it for awhile. It was the same route as the boat tour we had taken, and we saw some of the same sights, albeit from a slightly different perspective.

Views from along the Dordogne
         After our walk we got in the car and drove to the nearby village of Domme, a little past La Roque Gageac. Domme is another of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (there are a lot in this part of the Dordogne), and is situated high above the Dordogne River where it makes a curve below the town. We parked below the village, and walked up to the top. Some of the towns we've visited this week were impressive because of their architecture and historical buildings, and some because of the views from the town, but Domme has both spectacular views and lovely old stone buildings. And a great ice cream shop where we stopped for a break.
Entrance to the Village

The Dordogne from Domme

Old Gate in Domme

Ice Cream Shop in Domme
         We left Domme in the late afternoon and drove back to our gite through some small villages. We had aperitifs on the terrace (without the cat this time), finishing off the bottle of Domaine Lapeyre Jurancon, then had veal chops, asparagus and a baked eggplant dish for dinner, with a bottle of the Domaine de Cause Cahors. And a cheese board with several goat cheeses from the past 2 weeks. After dinner we took a late night walk up towards the chateau. The path was well-lit, and two cats that we had seen earlier in the week were roaming around the grounds just outside the chateau. All in all, it was a great finish to a terrific week.


  1. More wonderful descriptions of your visit. And the photos are wonderful. I particularly like the peacock in full bloom! I had lunch with a friend yesterday who is going to Sarlat, among other places, in September, so I shared the link to your blog.

  2. a French Yuley! Wonderful photos, the weather seems wonderful and I am glad all is well.

  3. Hi Bob! So glad to find your blog from your Forum link. Looks like you had a wonderful time in the Dordogne. We went many of the same places as you -- I even have a photo from along side that bridge that you titled "views from along the Dordogne" -- we couldn't resist stopping on the way to Domme either!

  4. Hi Bob! So glad to find your blog from your Forum link. Looks like you had a wonderful time in the Dordogne. We went many of the same places as you -- I even have a photo from along side that bridge that you titled "views from along the Dordogne" -- we couldn't resist stopping on the way to Domme either!

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