Saturday, 31 August 2013

The perks of visiting Perigord

As I have been hinting at this for the last two posts, it's high time I share with you some of the things I did and saw in the five days I spent near Bergerac, in Perigord, France.

Since I stayed with a host family, they knew the area pretty well so it was only a matter of what we felt like doing. If you're visiting, I recommend you browse through the leaflets in the airport at the arrival section. There you can find advertisements for everything you will ever need;  from maps of the route of the foie gras, to that of the wine, castles, caves and medieval villages. At the end of this post I will also mention some of the things that look very interesting but that I haven't seen and also some hotel recommendations.

Day 1

A relaxing jog like no other: between vineyards and castles. One of the most unforgettable landscapes ever. This was followed by an afternoon in St Foy de Longas (I think) where there was a fete going on and the atmosphere was lovely.

Chateau de la Lambertie. Did a little bit of property trespassing...whops!

Day 2

Following a failed attempt to visit one of the many prehistoric caves in the area, we had to change plans. Just as a side note, Lascaux, the famous caves, are actually closed to the public so you can't see the original but instead you visit a replica. There are so many more others you can see such as Grottes de Rouffignac but it's very busy. You get a tour of the cave in a little train thing so the ticket number per hour is limited. We tried to go there twice and the second time we called in the morning and the woman said it will not be crowded at all - oh how wrong she was! Or maybe how wrong we were for trusting her.
But all was not in vain because we visited La Maison Forte de Reignac, a prehistoric site inhabited by the Cro-magnon people that over centuries was converted into the residence of the local lord. It is the best preserved terrace-castle as it is built entirely on the stone layers and it hasn't been renovated for the past 600 years. Which means that golden exterior stone is the same original one - impressive I must say! 

Next up was Hautefort castle. The name says it all - high fortress. It's similar looking to the Loire Valley castles with its cylindrical annexes and turrets. The views on the surrounding land are very pretty (more so on a sunny day) and the little village at the foot of the castle has all the charms of a French town with it's little cafe that served the best espresso I've ever had. 

Thought I'd also share the outfit of choice for the day. Since we were visiting castles, I wanted to look a bit prettier that I would look in baggy jeans and a cardigan so I threw on my summery orange skirt from ASOS which is becoming my go-to on holidays and my favourite t-shirt from ZARA that I got on sale for about £3 if my memory is correct. I could wear that t-shirt anywhere and anytime seriously.

Day 3

This was a more relaxed day and since it was Saturday I insisted on going to the local market in St Foy la Grande. It is probably one of the best thing about France after cast iron balconies and fashion. I could spend all day looking at pretty fabrics, tasting peaches, cheeses and oysters and buying local oil and lavender flowers. If you want to make me a birthday present, take me to a local market (in France) with unlimited buying power and I'm yours. 

The afternoon was spent in a place created for duck-food-lovers such as me : Chez Famille Moutier. A small farm business that turned into a restaurant serving a set menu of mostly duck. 7 courses might I add with about 12 different types of wine on the whole. I did feel a little sick afterwards but I don't regret one bit.

Day 4

To burn off the fat that had been accumulating over the past few days, we decided to go to an adventure park and chose AirParc Perigord because the family I was staying with hadn't been before and because you could cross the Dordogne river...very exciting but very scary. I easily get into the 'swing' of things - no pun intended - but I have my doubts when it comes to walking on a thin string over water some 15 meters down. That is only worsened when rain makes everything a whole lot more interesting. Thanks weather, I enjoyed that!

Also my running kit. Made of |Nike Lunarglide trainers, Primark neoprene leggings, Victoria's Secret top and Uniqlo hoodie
Day 5

Started with a nostalgia-filled walk on the surrounding hills, saying my goodbyes to the land of sun and grapes.

It was followed by a three-hour stay in Bergerac, a really cute French town where I wish I could have stayed longer. It was decorated for the fete with colourful flowers made of plastic bags (very eco-friendly) and the sun was shining and everyone was out and about, too bad most shops were closed on Monday. Who does that?! Oh yes, the French.
That aside, we had a tasty lunch of warm goats cheese salad and ... wait for it... a chocolate coulant. Oh dear god. Perhaps it was best that I left, this much sugar can't be good for anyone!

I knew you wouldn't object to a last photo and one of the most beautiful airplane views I've seen. Maybe a biased opinion but what can you do.

Other cool things you (and I alike) should do:
Stay at either one of these decadent-looking hotels 
Take a canoe down the river which must be such an unforgettable experience, what with all the castles and vineyards climbing up the hills.
Visit the Monbazillac Chateau and don't forget to buy some of the white wine they produce, very sweet and perfect for those sugar-packed deserts.
Visit la Falaise de la Roque Saint-Christophe as well as Brantome, Perigueux and Sarlat
And on your way back from Rouffignac stop at the Vilatte Plassard-Pompougnac farm shop to buy tasty local foie gras and canard with truffles. Everything is from about a 3 mile radius from the house!

1 comment:

  1. elles sont superbes ces photos
    tu as du passer de belles vacances :)


    Coline ♡


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