Published: July 3rd 2012July 3rd 2012
On the bus
Obviously having a great time.
Here we are at the end of our visit to the Dordogne region of southern France. And what an incredible visit it has been!
I am sorry that I have simply been unable to find the time to properly blog in a sequential way up to this point but today I am going to attempt to add some pictures which come from our earlier journeys through Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy and somehow, hopefully, I will catch up. But it is very hard.
Anyway, among the places we visited here in the Dordogne was Chateau des Milandes, owned by someone whom I had never heard about previously but who nevertheless was very famous, especially in France. I refer to Josephine Baker, an American of mixed race who was badly abused as a young person in America but who later became an exceedingly successful singer, dancer and entertainer. From a street scavenger, working from eight years old and abused, to achieve the status that she did in Europe during the era of unrelenting racism in America is nothing short of outstanding. She received France's highest honour for a civilian for her war efforts in helping the resistance fight the Nazis
and was a close friend of The Prince and Princess of Monaco, where she is buried. There is too much to cover about this most impressive individual but I suggest that it is easy to Google her name and learn about her incredible life.
Everything about the Chateau was superb and it was very touching to see the images of Josephine and to listen to her music and wonderful voice as we slowly walked through her magnificent past home.
We also visited the prehistoric caves of Font de Guame and viewed the original masterpieces depicting bison, horse and antelope created as much as 17,000 years before Christ. These caves were discovered in 1906 and there is restricted access to them, so we were very fortunate to have been privileged to view them today. We had no reservation but lined up ahead of the office opening and were lucky to get tickets for 1.30 pm. We went deep into the cave which is not a place for the claustrophobic.
We also visited Maison Forte de Reignac and walked this ancient dwelling and fortress carved out of the mountainside. Several generations occupied this structure over time and much of
Town in Austria
the furnishings, weaponry etc. from the middle ages was on display there. Once again, a must visit for anyone coming to this historically treasure laden area of France.
At the end of the visit to this impressive site we visited the museum attached to it and I was so overwhelmed by the displays of the instruments of torture from the days of the Inquisition that I had to leave and try to compose myself outside. It was a horrible experience personally and I felt emotionally drained by the experience.
Trust me, there is much more I can share about the Dordogne, including the dinners, narrow medieval streets and ambience but time does not permit. All I can tell you is that southern France is very high on my list as a place that I could easily live in, albeit I have no intention of leaving my beloved Alberta.
Oh! Oh! Chateau de Castelnaud - an ancient castle of enormous importance especially during the religious wars and the 100 years war between England and France. I could not dare attempt to explain the treasuretrove of information, armaments etc. that we saw there. It is simply too much and
I can only use the word awesome to describe it. In addition, the views of the Dordogne River from aloft, in either direction was spellbinding in the incredible sunshine we had that day.
There are more photos below