I hadn’t planned to do a blog post today as we were just hoping to dilly-dally down through the Dordogne on our way to Najac. I couldn’t resist however, as the roads and the scenery changed dramatically the further we drove south. Firstly we seemed to pick up a bit of gradient compared to the last few days, then the roads got a bit twistier (biker friends note: the D939 is a beaut!). There were places where – if we were driving on the left – you could imagine being back in North Shropshire where we live. I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing!
One aspect which is vastly different to chez nous is the number of spectacular castles and keeps, visible from the road. We stopped at Bourdaille for lunch and a closer look and I simply can’t describe how pretty the village was. A castle built in two eras – half in the 1300’s and a more modern extension built during the Renaissance in the 1500’s, all laid out with formal gardens overlooking the village. We ate in the van – have you seen the French prices? – but condescended to a coffee in a street café. We walked past an expensive (even for France) restaurant with outside tables and had to hide a smile when we heard a group of vay pukka English folks braying with laughter after a few too many vin blancs.
Back on the road we seemed to be heading higher and higher to this evening’s destination, St Léon-sur-Vézère. Arriving in the late afternoon sunshine we were in seventh heaven as we walked around the village. The stonework here is very Cotswold-like; a warm rich golden colour set off beautifully by the sunlight. The smell of wood smoke from the two restaurants preparing for the evening trade – and was that a hint of rosemary? – made our mouths water. Sadly the restaurant prices didn’t, so we headed back to Vince for our evening meal. We had noticed a UK registered van parked opposite us in the aire, and while we were thinking about an early evening sharpener Graeme and Sally popped over for a chat. Needless to say the table and chairs were soon set up, beer and wine opened and we had a nibble or two whilst swapping travel tales – an excellent evening spoiled only by hunger and the need to get some food sorted! If you’re a little envious of our four months away, we know how you feel! G&S are taking a year off! How very dare they? They’ve rented out their house and are taking a circuitous route to Italy. Or maybe not. Their plans seem as fluid as ours… You can follow their adventures on their own blog, we certainly will.
Once we got round to looking at the maps this evening we realised that somehow we’d kind of travelled too far today if we want to be in Najac on Monday. The revised plan is to explore locally tomorrow – more châteaux – then have a couple of nights in Rocamadour over the weekend. Unless that changes of course….