Dordogne, land of castles, ancient caves, great rivers.

This area is actually very close to Bordeaux, and it is our mistake for not visiting sooner. We based in Sarlat and then traveled around the area visiting several castles and ancient towns in the area. The highlight was the ancient cave drawings in Lascaoux. Now, we did travel out from Bordeaux on a Monday, which caused a bit of concern. Seems that in the outlaying areas, Monday’s off is a serious concern Finally in St. Foy La Grande along the Bordeaux Wine Route, we discovered a wonderful place to dine.

Typical steak, fries and salad
Some sort of Game hen.
It was a colorful drive with lots of mustard seed farms, and many different types of orchards all in bloom.
First view of the castle at Beynac and Cazenac
We choose to drive up in that we still had to get to Sarlat.
From the River level, the streets are very steep up to the castle.
The Roofs of all the homes were originally made from stone, this one has been updated with some wood shingles.
These tour boats were stationed at several villages along the Dordogne. They are typical of they type of boats used to haul product to Bordeaux 100 years ago.

Sarlat la Caneda was our base for this trip. It is situated in an area that was never of any importance during the history of France. It was basically untouched thru the French Revolution, the 100 Years War, the Religious Wars, and during WWI and WWII. So the buildings best represent life as it was in the 1300-1700’s in France. In the Mid 1900 the city decided to clean up, bring in some shops, restaurants, etc. and become a tourist spot. It is really well done. While we visited in late April, I understand that June-August gets very busy. Our hotel was in a building dating to the XVc AD. Great very helpful owner at the B&B. Directed us to some fine dining away from the touristy places. Really enjoyed our stay here.

Entrance is off a raised courtyard. Close the door so the cat does not escape.
If these stairs could talk, imagine the history of this place.
We are in the middle of the Foie Gras region, so of course statues of geese in one of the town squares.
We ate lunch here and then dinner across the street. Little girl was helping her mother. She checked all the tables to make sure they were properly set.
The center of Town is completely made from old stone
Some upper floor additions were Half Timbered. This one is tilting just a bit too much for my taste.
St. Pierre is the patron saint, these are his relics in a special chapel in the church
Bell Tower above the church
Ornate Windows, gargoyles, and other stuff on many of the buildings.
The home of the Gisson Family is open to tour. They no longer live in this building but have furnished as a living museum dating 1600’s.
Just a small square surrounded by homes, streets are extremely narrow.. No auto traffic in that they are too narrow.
We were in town for market day. It stretches for blocks, with fruits, veggies, butcher shop, etc.
Fantastic cheese assortment
The olives tasted wonderful

One of our side trips took us to Domme, Laroque-Gageac, and Castelnaud. Three small villages each with its own history, completely different than the next even though all in a very close proximity to each other. Domme due to its steep cliffs surrounding the village was never taken in war, Castelnaud and Beynac continually changed occupation either French or English during the 100 Years War. and La Roque Gageac was ancient homes built into the cliffside with other at river level below the cliffs. The approach to this town was very narrow along the Dordogne and the city built a hospital to treat leprosy at the narrowest position. No invading army wanted to come close.

View from Domme looking down to the Dordogne.
Jan enjoying the view.
Easy to see how easy it would be to defend.
The Porte des Tours. As their power was stripped from them, several Knight Templar were imprisoned here. Graffiti scratched into the walls can be seen today.
With only two entrances to the town, many yards were walled in as secondary defense.
Le Moulin du Roi, King’s Windmill. All the flour was taxed by the King
City Coat of Arms. Notice the Knights Templar signia under the Tour.

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