A day on the Dordogne with Chateaux & Castles
I am looking forward to castles and chateaux today – plus our paddle on the Dordogne from Montfort down to Beynac. Breakfast at the hotel and we are off again at 9am – directly to the river so we start our paddle early today.
Our first stop is at the La Roque Gageac, a cliff hugging village built into the rocks. Here we have coffee and then walk up through the village to see where the rock slide occurred in 1952 originally and then another just 3 years ago. There are still remnants of where the rock slide wiped out some homes and closed down the street though the town for 2 years back in the 50’s. It is a beautiful little town with steep streets of cobblestone, a beautiful little church and gorgeous roses.
On the river we see baby ducks, herons and the beautiful scenery dotted every now and then with a chateau or castle. There are old fashioned galleon type “tour” boats on this river so we have to watch for their wakes and also their passage. There are also many places along the river that rent canoes or kayaks – can’t begin to imagine what this river will look like in the summer!
Next we leave the canoes for a tour of the English Castelnaud Castle – a wonderful old castle with tight spiral staircases, cases of armor, movies explaining about the castle history starting in the 1500’s and how the catapults worked in defending the castle, displays of old weaponry used in medieval times and even a latrine that was merely a hole dropping down into the surrounding countryside – many stories high! What a surprise that would have been if you were walking under!
Next we traveled by van to a local wine tasting store – tasted some local wines and then ogled over all the various pates, salts, wines, candies etc. that they had. No room in my suitcase for any purchases…….
Marqueyssac Gardens were next. This is a wonderful formal garden where all the boxwood hedges are trimmed twice a year. The hedges were being trimmed as we walked through – they use hand trimmers and a string stretched out tightly to make sure the line is exact for trimming! By the time they finish trimming everything once, it is time to start over!
It was time for our last paddle of the day – Marlee and I are in a groove paddling together now! It is approximately ½ hour to the next town of Beynac where our hotel, the Hotel de Chateau, sits across from the river after a 2 minute walk. It also sits directly underneath the Chateau Beynac.
Dinner was in the hotel (I managed to only eat ½ of everything and am not going to bed stuffed tonight!) Internet is a challenge here as it only works in the lobby area – but we will make it work! That is all for tonight!