16 August 2008

Devine Dordogne

After five days in Paris that included the Bastille Day celebration and a visit with my brother, I headed with my friends Lucie and Ben to spend a week at her parent's home near Vayrac in the Dordogne Valley, a region rich in history that lies between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees.

From their house perched high on the Puy de Isolud with its spectacular views of the valley, one can spot castles (there are over 1,00 in the region) and medieval villages dotting the horizon. It truly fits Lucie's mother's description..."un petit coin de paradis."

The region is famous for its pre-history of cave art and centuries of invasions by Celts and Romans that were followed by the peasant revolts that continued until the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon. Not until 1598 with the Edit of Nantes was an end to the battles finally achieved.

Everywhere you go you see the influence of the Romans and the battle-scarred legacy they left behind. Visiting the charming villages that have endured over the years in and around the area is like taking a step back in time.

A relaxing week spent enjoying the French countryside, feasting on amazing local produce including a range of small farm produced cheeses and visits to medieval villages. One day canoeing on the Dordogne, an evening concert of chanson francais sung by their good friend at a nearby chateau and the comfort one only experiences in the company of good friends.

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