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Coming from a two week vacation in France, my body is still trying to decide which time zone it’s in and attempting to regulate post-red-wine-infused days. One of my favorite places anywhere, the area known as Dordogne in southwest France offers much – whether your interests lie with history, architecture, shopping, dining, or just sampling the local goods. I could spend a week there just trying different cheeses, or breads, or the local Bordeaux (which is cheap, cheap, cheap!). There just isn’t enough time to do it all.

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On this trip, our third time in Dordogne, we visited Chateau de Bonaguil (beautiful on the outside, a ruin on the inside), the town of Pujols that has murals in the church dating from the 1400s, the market in the bastide town of Beaumont-du-Perigord, the medieval town of Issigeac where the narrow streets coil around its central church like a snail, and we floated along the River Dordogne at La Roque Gageac. We took unexpected side trips that stumbled upon a castle and a 12th-century church, and I found a new Favorite Thing in cassis glacé. The ubiquitous blue shutters and doors, usually associated with Provence, rallied for best color alongside fields of sunflowers and geraniums spilling out of windowboxes.

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A mystery was solved on this trip, too. We’d been puzzled by the scores of white-barked, lined-up trees on the sides of many roads – lined up to the point of precision. What were they, and why were they planted this way? When we asked the locals they seemed to have no idea what we were talking about. We’d come across one answer in a book – they are poplars planted in orderly quincunxes, the fashion during the Middle Ages. But there still seemed to be way too many of these little forests. Finally someone told us that the trees are planted for the production of Camembert boxes; they grow for 20 years before they are harvested. I suppose it still doesn’t explain the perfectly ordered rows, but both explanations captured our imaginations enough that we were happy.

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In this land of châteaux, foie gras, and pre-history, where the red wine flows like water, there is never a lack of things to see, do and learn. Words like confit de canard, Knights Templar, pigeonnier, and the Compostela pilgrim route creep into your vocabulary. Even if you knew nothing about the Hundred Years War, it comes into sharp focus here. Prehistoric caves can be seen just by driving along a river, and hulking ruins of castles are encountered in unexpected places. The road to Dordogne is a secret door that opens up a part of France where the roots of life are rich and deep – beautiful, captivating, and always surprising. Who knows … with a little luck, some day I may even go back for trip #4.

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Photo Sep 06, 8 39 14 AM (Large)


14 responses to “Dordogne

  1. Those are pretty nice pictures. You may have been there before but you didn’t repeat yourself on THESE photos. Pass the wine.

  2. Beautiful Pictures!! Thanks for the little side trip to France. Found that when I clicked on the picture it made it bigger and when I clicked again it covered the screen. You are a great photographer.

  3. Have been waiting for this forever and am thrilled by what I see 🙂 ! Love the poplars and the sunflowers and Knights Templar and Compostela ring so many bells about studies accomplished and books in my library . . . this truly is a magical part of France!!!

  4. I will be happy to join you on trip number 4! Thanks for the beautiful pictures and the rich descriptions. As always, they are a feast for those of us who are privileged to have found your talent. xxoo

  5. You always find the most unusual, unexpected places to take a photograph. I absolutely LOVE the church door and shadow of the cross! Thank you once again for sharing your wonderful adventures!

  6. vintagefrenchchic

    You have such a great eye for capturing beauty. Your trip was amazing. Thank you for sharing it!!

  7. The blue (of course), the old wooden-clad doors, and the poplars ……my favorites. Though ALL the pixs are great, your storybook words bring everything to life. Keep on truckin’ Paige-e-e. D

  8. Your words and your pictures are beautiful, Paige! I was so happy to see a new post from you and it seems like you had a wonderful time. I definitely miss the beauty of France, and especially of Provence… I have never been to Dordogne, but I would love to go – but until I get a chance, I’ll enjoy it through your fantastic post! 🙂

  9. France is such a wonderful place to visit and your trip looks and sounds like it was memorable.

  10. Better late than never, the shots are great as are the reminiscences of the trip. I fear we may need to become specialized tour guides for the fans! Not a half-bad idea, eh?

  11. You take some of the most amazing phjotos


  12. Beautiful, I miss it so much!

  13. The pictures are great and the place seems beautiful.
    please pass me the wine now


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