Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Dawdling down the Dordogne – 25 August 2011

As expected, we were woken by rain once more but the thunder was a very lack-lustre affair and the rain was all over by the time it was a decent hour to arise. Driving up river we visited Domme which had its weekly market day and thus abundant crowds of tourists milling around.
Having surveyed the scene from the fabulous viewpoint at the edge of town we wandered back past all the shops crammed with the artisans wares all vying for the tourist eye and tourist Euro.

Dropping back to the valley floor we returned to Castelnaud, and just happened to be there at a suitable time to re-visit the patisserie, after we had slogged up the hill to the chateaux. It really was not worth the climb and we felt sorry for the serfs who rebuilt this castle 10 times during the 100 year's war.
The castle was the English base and Beynac just down river was the French base. Whether it says anything about who won; or the contrast between English and French design flair; or what; is hard to say but Beynac is world's apart in terms of tourist appeal.

Again it is a hot hard climb from river level to the Chateaux at the top of Beynac, but the views are great and the buildings along the route very attractive.

Wherever you are, looking down on the Dordogne, it is hard not to notice the stream of canoes and kayaks paddling down river and since we had a vendor based at the beach a few yards from our campground we decided to join the throngs of happy paddlers. From La Roque-Gageac to St Vincent-de-Cosse is 9 km by river
and you can take as long as you like to drift, swim, or paddle down as there are shuttle buses returning you to the start point every hour. By the time we had finished photographing Beynac we realised that we were close to an hourly departure time and if we hurried we would make the next bus, or have to wait an hour; we made it with 10 minutes to spare.

After a swim back at camp we set off to find the viewpoint looking over the great loop of the Dordogne, it was frightfully disappointing compared to the other views we have seen in the last two days. Carsac was just around the corner so we carried on to look at the beautiful Romanesque Church, which did make the trip worthwhile.
It was the perfect night for a picnic, but the pull of Le Roque-Gageac was too strong, so we walked back again to eat on the roof terrace at the other end of town enjoying the two specialities of the area – foie gras salad for entree and walnut gateaux for desert. By the time we finished, the town was flood-lit, making attractive reflections in the river.

No comments: