A place to fall in love with…

Here in Bretagne ( Brittany) the countryside, architecture and character is beautiful…quaint cottages, cute skew buildings and rolling hills – in fact – it is truly Asterix country along with mistletoe and Celtic stones and menhirs dotted around the fields.  The Spring flowers are amazing and the place has taken on the look of its namesake – Britain.

BUT unfortunately – it takes after it’s namesake in more ways than one – it borrows some of  its weather patterns as well.  Not as much rain I imagine…but it rains all year round so often – the days are grey..but the countryside remains a startling green.  After a while..one begins to long for blue sky which I’m told is seen way more often in Summer and that the continual grey skies at this time of the year are very unusual.  Plus they’ve had a bumper winter of rain, the most in 43 years.

One place I’ve longed to go an see is the Perigord / Dordogne area.  The Perigord is made up of four parts – the Perigord Verte (green), Perigord Blanc (white), Perigord Purpe (purple – obviously) and Noir (black) and the whole of the Perigord area is very small..about 10 thousand square kilometers.  The regions vary considerably in that small space – Blanc – full of chalk and lime cliffs with ancient Troglodyte caves,  Purpe – fields of vines (just outside Bordeaux), Verte – greens fields, cows and tobacco and Noir – mountains filled with oak trees, truffles and valleys of fois gras farms. Three huge rivers – the Dordogne, Dronne and Vezere wind their way lazily through ancient golden stone villages perched on cliffs and nestled in valleys.  As you can imagine – everything centers around food and a very slow way of life.

We were waiting for some paperwork to come through (one can’t do a thing here without paperwork) so we packed the car, popped the mutts in the back and headed off for three days to go and see the area.  This involves a 640 km drive, by rights shouldn’t take long, about 6 hours….but when you’re in Anabel and you decide to avoid the toll roads because you don’t want to spend your life on a fast road but rather want to wander a bit through interesting places along the way…to cut a long story short – it took 8 and a half hours.

As we came over the hills from the Charente area and into the Dordogne/Perigord Verte, the scenery began to change and as we entered the Perigord Noir (considered the most beautiful region of France as far as a combination of scenery, lifestyle and climate goes) ..well….I just fell in love with the place and when I looked across at the husband, I could see he had fallen under it’s spell already as well.

The next day we went to Sarlat – a small town that has been declared a museum.  The village lives around markets of food…one day a truffle market, another local veggies, another local meats and pates, another day is for old antiques, books and briq-a-brac from old France.  The street lanterns still look like they are gas and they have a ceremony during the summer where they “light” them each evening.  Some villages have a truffle hunt where they train you and your dog to look for these black delicacies and then they ask each person to see if they themselves can find one – the winner has the “nose of the year”.   I can’t describe it really, I’ve attached pictures and bear in mind – this is still mainly wintery with Spring flowers carpeting the forest floor and gardens but trees still bare.  Domme – and ancient village that looks over the Dordogne Valley.  The architecture, the stone, the cows, the truffles, the food!  Fields of walnuts and almond plantations, the cheeses, the unusual roof lines…oh yes…I was hooked and if I was going to settle anywhere in France – this would be it.  Cool winters, not too much snow and hot long summers with schools on holiday for two to three months, festivals every week…all centered around food and a slow pace of life! What a way to go!

We didn’t want to come home but life carries on and we had to  – it’s much colder here although today and for the next week blue skies and Spring days are forecast, the farmers are ploughing, the birds are building nests and the coypu has found a friend…. so the spirits have lifted.

Enjoy the pictures of a most stunning corner of France

A la prochaine
M

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About M

I am at heart and artist...which spills over into other areas apart from the pastels, pencils, paintbrush and paper. I love cooking, I love gardening and I love nature. Leaving South Africa to come to France was difficult, but an adventurous challenge and together with my husband and two furry friends, I manage to do all that I love and more while I walk the 'Footpath to France'.
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8 Responses to A place to fall in love with…

  1. Karin Duncker says:

    what am I reading in between the lines? “Should you wish to settle in France……” :-). Today is the first cool/cold day in Cape Town. Well no surprises with Easter around the corner. So while we are heading for our winter you are facing the European spring and summer, oh my so much to look forward to. What are you hearing from Lynn and David? Have not been back to Nikki’s field, still so heart sore. How are your mutts? Barking in French yet? Happy hunting.

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  2. Frances says:

    So nice to hear from you. Pics are beautiful, makes me want to visit France. Jen says hello and a special hug for Mark but you must tell him it comes from Maggie. Regards and lots of love.

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  3. Loraine Hardwick says:

    Some of those pictures look like backdrops for a play! Stunning! Can’t believe place like that are real. Lol.

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  4. Gitta says:

    It sounds like an amazing place to be in!..xox

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  5. Mick Hardwick says:

    Glad that you are breathing in the ambience of the place – sounds lovely, but then again you are a very good writer and you could make France sound like the Carribbean!! Missing you guys, Mick and Colleen.

    Any chance of a visit to Pommie-land?

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  6. Caro Nel says:

    Just love your blog and always look forward to the next installment.
    It just looks fabulous and our descriptions make me hungry !
    Hope your health has been good. Take Care x

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  7. Paige says:

    Beautiful photos … I am headed to the Dordogne again in September and I went searching WordPress for images. I love this area.

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  8. Beautiful pictures, Sarlat was so beautiful it almost hurt!

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