Bergerac: home of Cyrano. Or at least home to several statues of him. Nonetheless it’s a very lovely town. This is where we based ourselves for the second week of our sejour in France (for part one look here).
This week we were joined by Kathy and Colin, Mardi and Neil’s friends from Toronto. Fortunately our new house had many rooms and many bathrooms so we all fitted in very well!
So what did this part of the region have to offer us? First up (although not too early – it was Sunday after all) was Issigeac, a mediaeval village situated on the edge of the River Dordogne. With a massive weekly market in full swing it was a bit tricky to take in the full glory of the houses. However, a stroll around some of the back streets helped get a sense of how this village would have felt in the past. Curiously it’s also the first place outside of Cornwall/UK that I’ve seen selling pretty passable looking pasties – the tourtes de cornouailles!!
Next: Bordeaux, where we saw some great public art, a botanical garden and a chocolate 2CV! The Miroir d’eau was built in 2006 and on first appearance looked like a paddling pool. I was a bit confused at this point as it is called the water mirror and although it reflected the surroundings I have to say was a bit unimpressed…
then magically it changed…
and finally it became a vapour cloud before it started all over again.
The botanical garden was an intriguing mish-mash of plants collected over the years and provided a lovely spot to walk off the inevitable three course lunch and the fabulous chocolate we bought at Maison Georges Larnicol!
Often we have a distance side trip and this year was no exception: La Dune du Pilat, the highest sand dune in Europe. I visited here around 23 years ago. With an annual growth eastwards of 1- 5 metres a year I guess it could be at least 23 metres wider than the last time I saw it. There certainly wasn’t a visitor’s centre and proper toilets! You scramble up the dune, look around and then skid your way down again. The traffic to get there was dreadful (August, France, one road to get to the car park…) but it was worth the stress in the end.
The week was finally rounded off with a rather wet and windy trip on the Dordogne in a traditional flat bottomed Gabarre. We did end up huddled behind our umbrellas on the return leg but the river itself was teeming with birds and other wildlife (including the very loud wedding group who rudely talked all through the guides commentary).
All too soon though it was time to pack up our presents and purchases, wake up early and make the long treks home after a hugely enjoyable fortnight. See you all again next year?
©Chez l’abeille 2014