Tour de Chev Blogdays 7 and 8

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September 23rd 2009
Published: September 23rd 2009
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Sarlat to Montignac via Les Eyzies

Additional maps: Untitled | Sarlat to La Roque Gageac, Marqueyssac and Domme

Blogday 7 Tuesday 22nd September still in Sarlat

Disaster in the Dordogne! A really bad start to the day. I was driving the Chev out of the car park behind our hotel intending to turn right and, despite a warning from Jane, I misjudged the width of the archway linking the car park to the road. Result: one scratched Chev. So after committing Hari Kari three times (the two encores being to make sure that I’d got it right the first time): flagellating myself unmercifully then deeding all my worldly possessions to the Chevrolet Camaro Owners’ Club by way of atoning for my appalling act of sacrilege; I reversed the car carefully back up the archway to limit the damage and then negotiated the (admittedly) tight turn without further mishap. But it did put a bit of a damper on the day.
Nice weather: warm and sunny. The plan was to go first to La Roque Gageac a mere 10 kilometres from Sarlat to check out the very pretty village on the banks of the Dordogne which features a troglodyte fort carved out of the cliffs. The village did indeed turn out to be as pretty as promised (it’s officially
La Roque CageacLa Roque CageacLa Roque Cageac

View from cliff fort towards Marqueyssac
recognised as one of France’s beaux villages) and the fort, although very small (about 100 feet long) was impressive as it’s been created out of a crevice halfway up a 300 foot sheer cliff - see photo of village with cliff behind. The fort was built in the Middle Ages as a refuge for the villagers against the marauding Vikings.
The next stop was “les jardins stupendous de Marqueyssac”, just down the road from La Roque Gageac. The gardens were stupendous in terms of the very weird topiary (that’s hedge trimming to those of a non horticultural disposition), and so was the scenic walk through the gardens along the escarpment overlooking the Dordogne Valley. Within sight of the gardens are three large chateaux which dominate the river valley; two of them which face each other across the river were held by opposing sides during the 100 Years’ war; which must have made life interesting and eventful for the local peasants.
Finally, on to Domme another official Beau Village on a promontory overlooking the Dordogne. Built by Philippe III of France in 1281 as a stronghold against the marauding English (it must something about the Dordogne which brings out the marauder
La Roque CageacLa Roque CageacLa Roque Cageac

View from Marqueyssac
in visitors). Again, very pretty, very medieval. And so back to Sarlat, just 10 kilometres up the road for dinner: very plain this time. In fact, so plain that we bought some stuff, mostly green veggies and salads from the local Carrefour, because greens don’t seem to play much part in the local diet and we were missing some of the greens that feature in our normal diet. Also a lot cheaper than eating out. And so to bed.
Jenks the Disconsolate

Blogday 8 Wednesday 23rd September still in Sarlat

Still in Sarlat as there were a couple more things to see in the neighbourhood that we hadn’t yet seen. Firstly, was the Village de la Madeleine, “ occupied by prehistoric people 10,000 to 14,000 years ago. When we arrived there it didn’t look as interesting as La Roque Gageac which we’d visited the day before, and by this time we’d become somewhat blasé about prehistoric sights, so we gave it a miss and carried on to Montignac planning to have a repeat of the delicious lunch overlooking the Vezere River (see all about Montignac on Blogday 6). Sadly when we got there the Creperie du Terrasse where we’d had the fine lunch on Monday is closed on Wednesdays so we settled on another creperie across the river. We moved away from our table alongside the riverbank and into the café just before lunch was served because the small dog that was with a party of Scottish folk on the next table to us had committed a nuisance (i.e. crapped) on the floor; and the Jocks had done a runner leaving the dog poo behind. I really should have said something to the lads and lassies as they were preparing to leave but I chickened out, and Jane and I just moved indoors leaving an unpleasant surprise for the waitress: and no doubt an undying enmity for the Brits.

Then it was back down along the Vezere River to Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, referred to locally as Les Eyzies, where we’d booked a tour of the Grotte de Font de Gaume, the ONLY cave with prehistoric paintings that is still open to the public: with very restricted numbers, so we were fortunate to get tickets. Even though I’m usually claustrophobic these caves in the Dordogne/Perigord are worth putting up with the occasional tightening of the chest and hysteria.
Dordogne from DommeDordogne from DommeDordogne from Domme

La Roque Cageac in distance
Despite being something like 14,000 years old the paintings, deep inside a narrow cave are immediately recognisable as bisons, horses and reindeer: in colour. Amazing.
As part of the deal for visiting this cave we were also allowed entry to the nearby Museum of Prehistory at a concessional rate, which was quite interesting. Getting a bit jaded by this time, prehistorically speaking.

Then it was a 20 kilometre drive back to Sarlat along the D47, a well surfaced, mostly level and winding road through a wooded valley: and in warm sunny weather with the roof off it’s just made for the Chev.

Based on the success of the previous evening’s home made dinner, courtesy of Carrefour, we did it again. And so to bed.

Jenks the slightly more cheerful


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