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Dordogne



We spent three nights in the Dordogne, specifically sleeping in the town of Beynac-et-Cazernac. The region is named after the Dordogne River which runs through it. We stayed at this great place called Le Petitee Versailles which, I’m pretty, sure we had the best room – when the large, wooden shutters were open, we had an excellent view of the countryside. Add to that the fact that one of the owners, Francoise, is an amazing chef and we’ll be going back there anytime we plan to be within 100 miles of the place. We’ll be talking about her breakfasts for years! (And, she made a beet soup that I actually ate, if you can believe it.) But, as usual, I forgot to take a photo of where we stayed. I blame it on the good food and the company of fellow English-speaking travelers at our hotel ( including Andrew, one of the best storytellers ever, and his very patient English, French, Italian, and Portugese-speaking wife).

Outside of the hotel, we also enjoyed the quiet calm of the region. After the insanity of Barcelona, we were happy to have a place without a long list of must-see sights, though we did have a general “see as many of the protecting castles as possible” mantra.

First, there’s Beynac, where we stayed and ate dinner our first night in town.

Beynac

A view of the Dordogne, provided to us on a visit to Castle Nord.

Dordogne

I don’t really have photos of the castle itself, so here’s one of a group of French schoolchildren on a field trip. Never once did a fieldtrip include a castle visit when I was growing up!

Field Trip

The castle had its own little medeival village, mostly set up now to feed tourists and give them places to buy sourveniers. Visiting out of season meant only the museum shop and a single cafe was open.

Fake Village

Following a tip from our guidebook, we stopped just outside of town and got this excellent view of the Montefort Castle.

View from Cingle de Montfort 02

The largest town in the area was Sarlat, which we visited several times to have meals and attend the town-engulfing Saturday market.

Sarlat

I really enjoyed sitting on the Sarlat town square and people-watching.

Sarlat Square

We decided to partake in a super-touristy but much recommended boat tour down the Dordogne. I’m quite glad we did. This woman provided the French-speaking visitors an audio commentary where non-French speakers had an excellent audioguide provided via headphones.

Tour Guide

Where our tour left from, La Roque-Gigac. The whole town is composed of a single street, facing the river.

River Cruise

We also visited Chateau Beynac but no photos were allowed (quite sad, really, it was my favorite castle – it felt very castle-like with no fancy exhibits).

I’d really recommend a visit to the Dordogne. It’s similar to Provence in its small town charm and yet not as touristed and absolutely beautiful. And, hey, it’s in the Perigord, so you’re bound to find menus full of duck and goose-based dishes like duck confit and foi gras (but no corn, locals think it’s crazy to give humans duck and goose-feed).



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