Périgueux


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Europe » France » Aquitaine » Périgueux
April 28th 2019
Published: April 29th 2019
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The "Eschif de Creyssac"The "Eschif de Creyssac"The "Eschif de Creyssac"

Built in 1347, it straddled the fortifications of the medieval village along the river.
Dianne says I decided we should go to Périgueux, one of the cities mentioned in the Bruno, Chief of Policeseries, but I am not sure why that it was chosen. It is the smallest centre we have stayed in. When we arrived, we had our first day of rain this whole trip. We had a few sprinkles before but this was actual rain. Luckily, the walk to the Airbnb was pretty straightforward and we weren’t that wet upon our arrival.

Walkabouts were in order and we found our usual supply of churches, city hall and government buildings, as well as lots of old buildings. The cathedral was a lot bigger that we would have expected in a town of only 25,000 or so people. Interesting styling too. One of the first things I noticed was the pâtissière just steps from our place. Bonus. The only downside was that they didn’t offer cappuccinos. Oh well, it was easy to pop down to get something (we were on the first floor) and then eat in our very pleasant apartment.

The mandatory walkabout

As soon as we are checked in, we like to walk around the neighbourhood. We found
CathedralCathedralCathedral

Too big to get into one photo, the model shows it off well.
many interesting buildings and also saw that there was a canal paralleling the river. It is no longer in use for transport but is a lovely place to walk on a sunny day. We were surprised to find a self-propelled passenger ferry about half way down the length of the canal. Two young people happened to be ferrying their bicycles across the canal as we passed. Nice of people to be so cooperative. Even nicer was one of the self-cleaning toilettes at the end of the canal. The walk home took us through some Roman and medieval ruins.

One thing we found difficult to find once we got out of the major tourist areas was cappuccinos. Saw one very interesting coffee place with really interesting tables, chairs and decorations outside. We decided to try it but the sign on the door said FERME. Hmmmmm. Why is it set up so nicely when it is closed? As we pondered this first world problem another chap walked up and went in. Dianne opened the door and asked Ouvret? The fellow mumbled the French equivalent of “Oops” and flipped the sign. No cappuccinos but the café crème was
Conjoined buildingsConjoined buildingsConjoined buildings

Lots of these around town.
beautifully served, espresso in cups, warmed cream in a separate pitcher and sugar in a bowl with flip top and a special spoon. Full marks for presentation and décor.

The Roman Ruins

We had seen arenas in several cities including Rome and Nîmes. They were major monuments still in use in some cases. There were indeed ruins but you could still see how the arena fit together from what was left. What would have been the centre of the arena was now a lovely park.

The more formal ruins were in the Gallo-Roman museum. We were a bit pressed for time as we had to take the bus to Brantôme en Pèrigord but since we had seen lots of Roman ruins we thought we would just take a quick look. Good things we did because the setup was really interesting. The building was huge and full of windows. Most of the display area was open over the excavated remains on a Roman settlement.

The Military Museum

We saw the door to this place when it was closed but figured it would have to be worth a visit. We Googled it and the reviews were
Inspiring?Inspiring?Inspiring?

We did think this shot of the six towers was neat.
mixed. Some complained it was amateurish, the stuff looked like it had been dumped in place and some other less than complimentary comments. Well, in some ways they were right, but it was full of very interesting items: swords, uniforms, maps, posters, all kinds of “stuff”. It is run by volunteers and probably curated by volunteers too. Many of the signs were hand written. But that was part of its charm. We thought it well worth the five euros each entrance fee.

General Pierre Daumesnil

One of the statues we encountered on our walk was of General Pierre Daumesnil. He was one of Napoleon’s generals who lost a leg to a cannon ball in the 1809 Battle of Wagram. It was replaced by a wooden prosthesis; hence his nickname jambe de bois ("wooden leg"). He was assigned to the defense of the Château de Vincennes, a major French arsenal which was a tempting prize for Napoleon’s enemies in 1814. Daumesnil replied "Je rendrai Vincennes quand on me rendra ma jambe” which translates to “I shall surrender Vincennes when I get my leg back”. I am told this is a polysemic pun; maybe that’s why I like this
CanalCanalCanal

Canals may take over from cathedrals and aqueducts in our pictures.
guy so much. We thought his statue was hilarious.

Brantôme en Pèrigord

At the tourist bureau we found a brochure that described this town as the Venice of the Pèrigord. After a look at the map of Brantôme and the bus schedule, we decided to take the trip. The bus was large and comfortable and we were interested to note the driver asked us where we were going (there were several choices) and then hand wrote that on the ticket. A bit surprising since the tickets were the same price regardless of where you were going.

The bus ride was a welcome change from our big city life in Montpellier and Paris. Better even than the train as it tends to go really fast and in places is channeled between berms so there isn’t always a great view. The countryside was beautiful and we could see why Bruno, Chief of Police likes the Pèrigord region so much.

The town is small and most of it is on a small island between the river and a short canal. It has a Benedictine Abbey founded in 769 and it has had tons of history associated with
CanalsCanalsCanals

What can I say? These canal sidewalks are great, even if the canals aren't used any more.
it over the years. It was secularized after the Revolution and its library dispersed. Now it is a sleepy little place, great for a day’s visit by tourists. There were a series of caves that were open in the summer tourist season but we didn’t get to go into them. The good news was that, because it was a tourist destination, we were able to buy cappuccinos and enjoy them outside in the shade on the river bank.

Next up?

We were only there four nights but Périgueux was a good ambassador for the Dordogne region. We would love to go back and explore some more.

But now we are off to Arles. Geography junkies will recognize that we will have to go through Carcassonne, Séte, Montpellier, Nîmes and several other towns we have already visited. We will be able to see Avignon from the train. But we are having a good time so….

In fact, we have been having such a good time that I am far behind on the blog entries. Sorry about that. And to all who have posted comments, sorry I haven’t replied individually as I like to. We do enjoy reading
Self serve ferrySelf serve ferrySelf serve ferry

We should have thanked these young people for demonstrating how well the self-propelled ferry worked.
them but time is just flying by. ToBeContinued!


Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


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GardensGardens
Gardens

On the land between the river and the canal there were a lot of small gardens like this. Made Dianne keen to get home and get at ours.
Roman ruinsRoman ruins
Roman ruins

Part of what is left of the Périgueux arena.
TowerTower
Tower

Used to be part of the city walls. Somewhat restored but still neat.
Coffee shopCoffee shop
Coffee shop

You can't really read it in this picture but the small blueish sign in the door says "Ferme" so we wondered if they were indeed as open as the big sign suggested. We didn't think they would have left all that stuff outside if they were closed.
Military MuseumMilitary Museum
Military Museum

A lot bigger than it looked from the outside and quite interesting.
Typical displayTypical display
Typical display

Most of the signs looked home made and pretty crowded but still fun.
DrumsDrums
Drums

I have read a lot of material about the use of boys to beat the drums during battles. One had to wonder what might have happened to the users of this drum.
General Pierre Daumesnil General Pierre Daumesnil
General Pierre Daumesnil

In his statue he is proudly pointing out his wooden leg.
Not so restored towerNot so restored tower
Not so restored tower

This one was outside the Gallo-Roman museum. Funny to think that when this tower as built they had no idea there were Roman ruins under ground.
Huge display area. Huge display area.
Huge display area.

The part of the old town they have uncovered is enclosed in this huge room with lots of windows.
MosaicsMosaics
Mosaics

Some of the fabulous decorations the Romans did in their houses have been saved.
Brantôme en PèrigordBrantôme en Pèrigord
Brantôme en Pèrigord

Comparing it to Venice may be hyperbole but it was a really nice place to walk around.
Right angled bridge.Right angled bridge.
Right angled bridge.

Unusual to see a bridge with a left turn in it but it had to cross both the river and the canal.
Great place for a cappuccinoGreat place for a cappuccino
Great place for a cappuccino

Restful site in the shade along the river across from the church and abbey.
Building built in 18th century on ramparts of old townBuilding built in 18th century on ramparts of old town
Building built in 18th century on ramparts of old town

The caption on the building says its original look would likely be a lot less charming that is is now.


29th April 2019

Travels
I almost feel as if I was there, too!

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