Saturday, September 13, 2014

Out & about Dordogne

We visited a few places and generally speaking they were all in a 20km radius from Beynac.

 

There was a bit of market focus visiting St Genies with its 'beautiful village' awards, it's imposing church and some rather large cheese in the market.

 

Belvès was another of the 'beautiful villages' with a quite unusual old town. We spent a rather slow service lunch watching a spit with large pieces of pork starting it's cooking process over a wood fire. It was in preparation for the once a week, only in summer, 'evening gormand market' that many French villages have. The thought of 6 hour slow cooked pork prompted us to check out the equivalent market near Beynac, in St Cyprien at the end of the Beynac week.

Nearby St Cyprien had a wonderfully busy, vibrant and diverse market which we had visited on the Sunday and had purchased a few little delicacies. When we went the evening market didn't have slow spit roast pork, but there was some variety and it was full of people so a very nice way to finish a week in Beynac. The piano accordion band and dancing added to the atmosphere. As we were leaving the band has moved to standing on top of the tables, so the party had really only started...

A visit to the Bastide town (fortified, on a hill) of Domme highlighted that we were travelling close to peak season as we had a queue just to get to the parking machine for the car park outside town. But from here there was good walking and great views over the valley

They also had some interesting art installations dotted around the town. Mainly sculptures, but weather liked the "shadow puppet" in the church making use of the light and windows.

We didn't visit many Châteaux this trip, but did go to the Château des Milandes near to Beynac. It had been built in 1489 because the wife of the owner of nearby Castlenaud had found her castle a bit gloomy. It later fell into disrepair and was purchased in the 1930s by Josephine Baker, a black American entertainer working in the Parisian caberets. She adopted 12 children, allowed the castle to be used for resistance activities during WWII and it seemed generally lead an interesting life, inevitably ending in bankruptcy. It was interesting to see an old Château decorated in modern style, and the museum to a very interesting woman.


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