Road tripping, Picturesque Small Towns & Exploration of Caves
21.09.16 – One night of rest at home before heading off to Greece tomorrow
where: the Dordogne/Périgord department, Le Lot + a visit to the Limousin region on the way home.
Relax. Close your eyes. Now, imagine a place where all buildings are made of light colored stone, perhaps there’s gorgeous flowers decorating their balconies or climbing the walls. Or maybe even grapevines. Imagine this place. Where the streets are narrow and the air is fresh and no one seems to be in a hurry. Imagine yourself sipping the finest red wine while watching tourists and locals enjoying life, the tranquil life. This could be you. This was me.
Ah, Dordogne. Or Périgord, as many locals still call this department. The beautiful southwest of France.
Last Friday I got in the car with my sweetheart and our adventure began. A five day adventure with great plans ahead of us. The first two nights were spent visiting some friends of his family, to see their new house and their beautiful new life in the countryside. They had bought an old, abandoned farm and turned it into a chic house with modern, rustic decor and a vegetable garden. It was truly idyllic and I’m really happy for them with their new life away from the big city stress, noise and pollution.
Saturday was spent exploring caves and their nearby towns. First, we explored the cave Gouffre de Proumeyssac. The light show inside of the cave made the beautiful crystal formations look even more magical and precious than they already were. But guess what, this cave was not my favorite out of the four we got to visit during our trip. My favorite was the second one, which we also got to visit on Saturday. Les Grottes de Maxange. It’s a family business and a quite newly discovered cave (opened to the public in 2003). I’ll write more about it in a separate post, so no more spoilers!
We visited a town called Limeuil, another one called Monpazier. The next day was supposed to be spent visiting the famous cave Lascaux, but we got there before noon and it was closed until 1:30 pm so we decided to leave it and do something else. We ended up visiting small town Beynac-et-Cazenac and its castle, followed by a quick stop in La Roque-Gageac – only to take a few photos – and Domme, where we enjoyed drinks and an unplanned, unhealthy lunch. Beer and fries – because, vacation.
We spent a night in Sarlat-la-Canéda, in a rather gorgeous four star hotel with a heated, indoor swimming pool and a jacuzzi. It was exactly what we needed after a full day of walking up and down stairs, hills – and at times, kind of unsteady terrain.
The next day was even harder on our legs. I’m scared of heights and I feel better taking the stairs than outside-escalators when given the choice, so I walked all the stairs down the cave Gouffre de Padirac. And then back up again. My partner was a real sport and climbed the stairs with me.
The following day was spent visiting Rocamadour, another picturesque small town. Just as gorgeous as our hotel, Les Vieilles Tours, a charming 17th century manor house with two separate annex buildings for guests. It was too cold to enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, but we sure enjoyed our dinner in their lovely restaurant – and the waiter, such a friendly man – constantly with a smile on his face!
We visited yet another cave on Tuesday morning, before heading towards our last destination before the end of our trip. Les Grottes de Lacave. Another fantastic experience that I’ll tell you all about later. After this interesting visit, and a bit of shopping in the souvenir shop (crystal pendants) it was time to get back on the road. We made a quick stop in Limoges, before reaching the last destination. Château de la Cazine, a marvelous castle in the rural Limousin region.
We ate, slept and lived like royals during our stay. A classy ending to a spectacular adventure. It has inspired me to not just write a separate post about the caves, but also one about castles – the one we visited yesterday, and ones we’ve visited before. And obviously I’ll write a long post about all the charming towns we visited and show you all the gorgeous photos I’ve taken.Here’s a preview.
La vie est belle. La France est belle!
Beynac – by the castle, with a view over the Dordogne river
Sarlat – ready for fine dining in the city center
Château de la Cazine – Noth, Limousin region