May 29 - The Dordogne
was a wonderful day. It began with a free morning, which we spent
back in the old city at Sarlat, since B had not gone on the evening
walk earlier. This gave me time to take some more pictures and we
got to see the covered market in the old church. Entrance into the
church was delayed for a funeral service but we managed the intricacies
of a self washing public restroom. The street flowers in this town
we took our bus to the nearby town of Vitrac for lunch at a hotel
that is managed by three generations of the same family. The setting
was marvelous, the weather perfect, and the food delicious. We had
a fascinating conversation with Denise (president of the local Experiment
France chapter) about her experiences in Alsace during WW II.
had had a lecture on the Bastides in the bus and we were going to
visit the one nearby at Domme.
Bastides are fortified new towns built in medieval Languedoc,
Gascony and Aquitaine during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
In an effort to colonize the wilderness especially of southwest
France, almost seven hundred new towns were built between 1222 (Cordes-sur-Ciel,
Tarn) and 1372 (La Bastide d'Anjou, Tarn) Domme was founded by Philip
the bold in 1281.
to Domme is by a small motorized train. We took it to the top of
the hill where Domme is located. We were only there long enough
for a view from the cliff top over the Dordogne valley and a visit
to the church. The view is breathtaking and famous. I was able to
get a near 180 degree panoramic. Henry Miller wrote, Just
to glimpse the black, mysterious river at Domme from the beautiful
bluff is something to be grateful for all one's life. The
church is not particularly notable but had a fine collection of
liturgical garments. Then we were on our way again.
stopped briefly at La Roque Gageac to see this village built into
the cliff side I had a gelato. Then we were on our way again to
the spectacular Chateau Beynac. It is a photographic paradise, both
for the external and internal views of the Chateau, but because
of the views of the surrrounding countryside from several levels.
At one point we could see three other neighboring chateaus in one
view. For the story of Chateau Beynac, see this
excellent wikipedia article.
this time it was after 5:30 and we headed back to the hotel. That
night we had our farewell steak dinner (a day in advance) at L'Bistro
de la Octroi.
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