Chateau et Jardins de Losse

Near to La Rogue Saint-Christophe on the D70, 5km from Montignac-Lascaux, towards Les Eyzies is the Chateau et Jardins de Losse. It is well worth a visit for the gardens alone, they are gorgeous.

Be forewarned you cannot take photographs of the inside of the Chateau which is a great shame, for they have a very good selection of 16th and 17th Century tapestries, paintings, furniture, weapons and a very interesting chest in the basement with an ingenious lock system. I will not tell you here how to open the chest because that would spoil it for you if you want to visit the Chateau when you are next in the Perigord Noir.

The gatehouse is the largest of its kind in South West France

The gatehouse

The gatehouse

The Chateau is protected by a deep moat and curtain wall, which opens onto a grand terrace which overlooks the river Vezere.

moat and curtain wall

moat and curtain wall

The decoration of the fascade are all carved in limestone.

The courtyard

The courtyard

This is Adam and I walking around the gardens which are all in the Renaissance style and have been labelled ‘jardins remarquable’ (remarkable gardens) by the Ministry of Culture in 2004.

jardins remarquable

jardins remarquable

The heady scent of rosemary, lavender, and roses fill the air.

rosemary, lavender

rosemary, lavender

This is a fountain decorated with two figures of Apollo and Venus, the water flows among the topiaries by way of a small channel. Please watch your step, the open channel crosses the path.

Apollo and Venus

Apollo and Venus

This is inside one of the towers in the garden, a surprise bedroom with an interesting bed which was carved in the 16th Century. Next door is a bathroom.

Surprise bedroom

Surprise bedroom

There is also a knot garden, which over looks the river and a rose lined walk.
This is one of the roses, the perfume was gorgeous.

Not the knot garden

Not the knot garden

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La Roque Saint-Christophe

Part two – Everything including the kitchen sink

The well winch (foreground) was used to lift and lower two loads at the same time. When one load went up the other went down.

The well winch

The well winch

The single barrel winch was used for lifting heavy loads. It is easy to imagine one large man or two small men to walk inside the wheel in order to lift about seven times his/or their body weight.

The single barrel winch

The single barrel winch

The swing crane with beam. The Hobbit is me; I look so small standing along side the winch

tricksy hobbitses?

tricksy hobbitses?

The Great staircase, this is one of my favourites. It is one of the largest monolithic staircases in Europe. It has thirty two steps cut out of the rock face and leads to the fifth terrace where projectiles were discovered. It is unsafe for visitors so unfortunately closed to the public. At the side of the staircase is an area cut out of the rock, it was a defence lodge for men in arms

The Great Staircase

The Great Staircase

Inside one of the reconstructed medieval homes.

Interior decoration

Interior decoration

The fortress kitchen. All of the displays are exact replicas of archaeological objects found on the site.

A rustic kitchen

A rustic kitchen

As for the drainage system, a sink and a gutter were cut out of the rock close to the exit. Cupboards and rings, all cut out of the rock, are visible, as well as simple holes carved to accommodate shelves.

And the kitchen sink

And the kitchen sink

The first inhabitants of the site were probably Neanderthal man who occupied the site 55000 years ago. Many skeletons were found on this site.

Neanderthal man

Neanderthal man and woman + bear

To find out more visit www.roque-st-christohe.com

La Rogue Saint-Christophe

Part one – Stepping back into Prehistory

The Vézère Valley is often referred to as the Valley of Mankind because it has such a wealth of prehistoric sites, fifteen of which have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is thought that people were living in this area as far back as 400,000 years ago; today you can still see evidence of their lives, particularly in the area around Les Eyzies.

La Rogue Saint-Christophe at Payzac-le-Moustier is one kilometre long and eighty meters high. Its limestone walls have been eroded by the rain and frost to shape hundreds of rock shelters and long overhanging terraces. The natural cavities have been occupied since prehistory and were altered to become a fort and a medieval town until the start of the Renaissance period. It was so impregnable that during the Hundred Years War the English managed to take it only by starving out the inhabitants.

This photograph was taken before we entered the Fortress, at the small café, a rather unusual visiter popped in to beg treats.

A Donkey roaming around looking for treats

A Donkey roaming around looking for treats

This was the only entrance to the fortress. The defence system of this entrance includes a narrow passageway which is just below the look-out post, from which stones could be thrown onto the heads of any assailants. A reinforced drawbridge was added in the Middle Ages.

Fortress lookout post

Entrance to the Fortress-the lookout post

From this second lookout post you can see a cave at the far side of the cliff. Also from this position a watchman could see or hear someone stationed in a similar lookout post further downstream, the second watchman could then communicate with a third and so on for 11.16 miles (almost 18 kilometres).

lookout system

An extremely effective lookout system

The safe, dating from around the 12th century-you can clearly see the marks from the shelves.

The safe

The safe

This is the gorgeous view across the Vézère River from the long terrace

The view across the Vezere river

The Vézère river

The town

This shelter is over 300 yards long. It is the biggest natural shelter in Europe. Around thirty houses would have stood here, on this enormous terrace. Down below you can see two other floors and communicating staircases. In total there would have been hundreds of houses simply built into the hollows of the cliff face, others built directly onto the rock, but all clinging to the different levels of the cliff.

I was very glad of the safety rail

I was very glad of the safety rail

This model is a partial reconstruction of the town at the end of the Middle Ages.

Middle Ages

The town at the end of the Middle Ages

Along the way are pictures on the cliff face to give you more of a sense of what it used to be like.

Medieval town

Medieval town

La Chandeleur

2nd February

The Catholic holiday of Candlemas takes place in France on 2nd February and is called La Chandeleur. A feast day to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus.

It is also known as le jour des crepes (Pancake Day) and marked by a whole day of crepes. The French follow a tradition of tossing crepes while holding a coin in their writing hand. If the crepes are successfully caught in the pan it will ensure prosperity for the whole family for the rest of the year.

This picture was taken from whatscooking.us

This picture was taken from Google images

Bon appetit

Le Roque Gageac+Brocante

Just looking at the sunshine is terrific. It is cold and windy with sleet and snow in England, with more flood warnings, so it is good to look at the sunshine of the Perigord Noir and count the weeks until our return.

Anyway, this was the scene last September, you can see the Chateau which was built in the Renaissance period and still belongs to the Tarde family – gorgeous.

All of the metal and wood sticking out of the ground is the new pedestrian walkway/road widening which is being built alongside of the river in order that tourists can walk along without the fear of being run over and to have an attractive walkway on both sides of the road.

Roadworks ahead

Roadworks ahead

It could be completed before the start of the tourist season! At the moment the road is closed to traffic but pedestrians have access.

Perched above the Dordogne River the village of Le Roque Gageac is a member of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the most beautiful villages of France) and has been inhabited since Prehistoric times. There is a rickety walkway to the troglodyte caves but it is unsafe and closed to the public.

Les Plus Beaux Villages

Les Plus Beaux Villages

Le Roque Gageac has its own microclimate with the mass of rock storing heat during the day and radiating it at night. Next to the church is an astonishing exotic garden full of Mediterranean style planting that you would not expect to see this far north and well worth a visit.

the church

the church

Brocante

We can spend all morning roaming around Brocantes; in fact quite often we plan our French working holiday around them. This particular Brocante covered the main car park at La Rogue-Gageac. I was tempted by a few of the chairs on sale but did not buy, well not this time.

eclectic mix

An eclectic mix of… well… just about everything was on display.

I loved the grinning cat on the plinth.

Smile please

Smile please

We thought that the clocks were very expensive but the craftsmanship was superb.

craftsmanship is expensive

craftsmanship is expensive

We were tempted and do wish that we had purchased this desk… and some more vintage linen for our small collection.

We were tempted

We were tempted

“What a gorgeous sofa, it would look just right in the master bedroom, Paul…”

if the price is right.

Again, we did not buy; next time if the price is right.

After a hard morning walking and looking around the Brocante it was time for a light lunch and a drink or two of the local wine.

Santé

Santé