Chateau de Hautefort


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Europe » France » Aquitaine » Dordogne
July 6th 2011
Published: August 2nd 2012
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We went off to the market in Sarlat this morning to go hunting and gathering for our next couple of days. I think if I see one more Foie Gras I'll turn into one. The produce was more repetitive than at the market in Uzes, but we picked up some really fantastic strawberries, raspberries and cherry tomatoes as well as more olives (of course!) and olive tapenade. I bought 2 different types of foie gras, but I wonder if we are at overload already....... There was a lovely couple at the Charcuterie stand who translated for me as I tried to tell the stall holder 'thinner', 'more', 'stop' etc. as he sliced jambon and bacon for me. We all had a big laugh at my sign language. The supermarket has been an experience - finding fresh cream took about half an hour, and we bought 3 different types as we weren't sure what we were buying. It was all great with berries though.

It was our first grey day, so we decided to drive to Hautefort in the afternoon to visit a chateau that looked wonderful in a tourist magazine. We drove through magnificent countryside full of walnut groves, all mown neatly underneath. A slight wrong turn ended up being lucky again, as we got a fantastic view of the chateau on the hill. The drought in the rest of the region didn't seem so apparent here as we looked over green meadows, and parked the car in one before our walk up the hill.

We hadn't realised that the chateau had it's own little village below, still functioning, and from the terrace we looked over it and on to fields with cows grazing. They are all a lovely honey colour, and the children have loved calf-spotting. The herds are tiny, and we are beginning to realise why it's so hard to find fresh milk in France - the milk must all go to the cheese makers!

In another lucky turn, the chateau had special children's activities on Wednesdays, so we signed the kids into an art and craft session and headed off to look at a video on the history of the chateau, which still had a baronness living in it in 2005! When we went back to pick them up they begged to stay longer, so we wandered the stunning French gardens for a while. Frank commented that he thought it was the most fun the children had had at a museum so far, and the young women running it were really lovely with them. I am beginning to think they must be missing school.

They grey clouds provided a great backdrop for photos as we left the chateau, and we drove home in time to make a spectacular dinner of green prawns with garlic, rice with cepes and fresh berries with cream.


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Fabulous parterre gardenFabulous parterre garden
Fabulous parterre garden

We couldn't believe it when we saw the team of gardeners trimming it by hand, with string to keep the hedges level!
Steve and Beckett, French gardenSteve and Beckett, French garden
Steve and Beckett, French garden

We wandered the gardens while the children were amused in the art and craft workshop
Huge conifers Huge conifers
Huge conifers

The trunks of the conifers trimmed to look like mushrooms were huge!


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