Well hello Viewers, it is so nice of you to join us once more. Sorry it has been such a long time between Blogs, but we have been everywhere, and seen so many things.
In our last episode, we had undertaken the great crusade de La Loire, and had been absorbed by the grandeur of “Chamboi” and the homeliness of Cheverny. We were also annoyed by WordPress not uploading our photos so that we could ably compliment the narrative. Sorry to say, but the narrative has won over again to some extent with the multi-media as WordPress continuing to playing silly things, being very very slow to upload. We humbly seek your “discernment”.
We departed Cour Cheverny in the “direction generale de la Limoges” at “aboutment” 10.00am on April 28th. The weather was overcast and with a hint of rain, the temperature still in bed trying to get warm, and that lazy breeze was still hanging around. We had “generalment inclement weather” for the prior two days, and by the 28th it had not gotten any better. A good day for driving in “mon peugeot” in other words.
But Mira found an extra 50Eur she didn’t think she had, so we chose to see one more chateau on the way south. Chateau Chenonceau.
I was not going to go another day wearing long pants, so opted for my long short pants instead. As you can see, I was the only one wearing shorts that day, long or short. I do look good don’t I? Here is another one of me inspecting the kitchens, inclusive of prototype 3 layer rotisserie operated by throwing a weight out the window. This kitchen was upgraded with electricity and running water during WW2 when the chateau was used as a hospital. Wondering around a drafty chateau, on a coolish day of only 8degC, although I would not admit to Mira at the time, I was very glad to hop back in the car our after visit.
From a historical background, the “Château des Dames” was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers the mistress of King Henry II, and then by Catherine de Medici, the wife of King Henry II. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin, who was considered by the local population to be very benevolent, and she put forward its importance for crossing the river at that point, so she was spared.
Catherine de Medici is said to have ruled France for some years from this Chateau. Henry II had installed his mistress Diane de Poitiers here for some years, and when he died in a jousting tournament up the road, Catherine de Medici forced her eviction and took it over. It has a fascinating history and is currently owned by the Meniers Family (fine chocolate maker) since 1913. It was used as a Hospital during WW2 with some 2500 soldiers convalescing there during the war.
A brief history of Chenonceau is included using the link below;
The Chateau is very special, built as it is now extended over the river on multiple piers. The gardens were spectacular in flower, on the one side pinks and whites, on the other purples and whites. With the backdrop of rich greens framed by the river Cher, the gardens were beautiful to view, along with the chateau itself.
We spent some hours taking in this wonderful location and its history, but we still had over 200 kms to travel to Angles-sur-L’Anglin, so the GPS was tasked with “direction rapid sans tolls”, and we sought relief from the cold in the car as we headed off in the general direction of Le Blanc. A routine “arete” at a Boulangerie somewhere near Loches in Indres-Et-Loire, where once again my language skills supplied nurishment for us, the weary travellers, including the regulatory fair bit of mirth for Mira and the locals. I am right into this “bonjournee” business now, followed by a hearty “auvoir”, and a wave of the hand in the air.
We pulled over again not long after to fill our laps with breadcrumbs, together with the odd piece of “fromage” or “jambon”. Still not a lot of “salat” to be had with our baguettes, but a “fraise et creme patisserie”, “sans le froi graz” is a regular treat, and rapidly fills the lap with crumbs of a different nature if one is not careful.
Our destination was just to the west of Parc naturel regional de la Brenne, in the beau village de Angles-sur-L’Anglin. Our room was the centre two windows on the first floor.
The village is above the river Anglin of course. This view from the ruined castle wall is below.
The day we arrived, the Owner was in a tiz, there was a water leak in one room, so the hotel water had to be turned off until it was fixed. Hence, we had to stay elsewhere. How fortunate that the plumber also ran a B&B. We were quickly transferred to Tony and Lorna’s for the night. Dinner consisted of burgers and chips at a cafe near the Castle, followed by beer and wines with Tony and Lorna who are Poms. We had a great night and made new friends.
Next night was back to the hotel after Tony had fixed the plumbing, we kinda sorta thought we had a better time in the B&B.
After Angles, we headed south via Limoges to Sarlat-de-Caneda, mostly along the motorway. The middle area of France has some lovely villages, but it would have taken us far too long to navigate through them to our destination, so we just set the GPS to “Get Us There Quick”.
Sarlat was the best stay by far we have had, from a sightseeing point of view. The accommodation was a studio apartment right in the centre of town, so we had the opportunity to buy some things and cook the odd meal in-house instead of eating out. Sarlat is the busy centre for the Dordogne River experience. By this we mean, some places are very quiet, not a lot of places to see or restaurants etc. Sarlat had a bit of night life and real sense of energy, but not the sleezy type. Sarlat was wonderful to walk around at night, restaurants open, bars open, people walking in the streets, it was lovely to experience.
Our apartment was up the street immediately left of where the above photo was taken. The red window to the left is our apartment.
Market days were Wednesday and Saturday, by far the bigger event was on the Saturday. All the streets of the old village were full of stalls. Local vegetables, cheeses, meats, and Fioe Gras by the tonne. No lets make that by the ship-load, and here I am not a good speller.
The Dordogne is the epicentre of Fioe Gras. You can have anything you like in a restaurant as long as it is Fioe Gras. You can have goose Fioe Gras, or you can have duck Fioe Gras. So they grow gooses and ducks by the ship-load, force feed them so their gizzards are bulging, then wacko, cook ’em, and mince it all up for Fioe Gras. Or, as I have said elsewhere, duck gizzards and fat! You don’t believe me do you? Well, thems are Gesiers in them cans…
But, “arretez s’il vous plait”, we are here to see the Dordogne.
Our first day in Dordogne was dampish and a cool breeze, so we decided to head out to see another chateau, this time the Chateau Des Milandes, the former home of Josephine Baker, the American artist who became French and fought for France in the Resistance during WW2 . We gained a new appreciation for a wonderful woman, who fell on bad times in the end, but is highly regarded in France being awarded the Legion D’Honeur, Frances highest honour. When she died, her good friend Grace Kelly arranged for her to be buried in Monaco. It will be good to see her resting place.
The Valley of the Dordogne is a relatively small area, but just beautiful. We visited Domme, Beynac and La Roque Gageac, all visible from Parc du Marqueyssac et Chateau.
Below is the view from the lookout along the ridge behind where Mira is standing, looking down over La Roque Gageac.
The village is nestled under the cliff face with the river alongside. Very picturesque.
We spent one day visiting the valley of La Vezere River, starting with the site of Lascaux II on the outskirts of Montignac. It was here in 1940 that three youths found a cave that yielded one of the worlds greatest paleolithic art finds. The drawings are estimated to be 17,300 years old, and while we only got to see some duplicates, the duplicate cave cost 15 Million Euros to build, and is perfect to within a millimetre. Having since seen photos of the originals, the duplicates were spectacular.
We drove down the valley towards Limieu, visiting a number of Troglodyte Villages built into the limestone cliffs.
After a visit to the site of where the supposed “Shroud of Jesus” was located, late this was found to be a fake, we headed back the village of Beynac to visit the 13th Century Castle. Amazing, simply amazing, from dungeons to towers and fortifications to keep the baddies out.
Well, time for a quick break. I will try to catch-up with where we are in the South of France over the next day or so. In the meantime, stay safe and keep well. We are just loving France.
Laurie & Mira.