The Extraordinary Tour de France.

Crowds of smiling, happy people lined the streets of Perigueux last Tuesday to greet the start of stage 10 of the Tour de France through Sarlat and on to Bergerac. It was just what Paul and I needed to lighten the mood after we had just received some upsetting news. It lifted our spirits so much so that we began to focus on the positive rather than the negative.

So here are just a few of the many pictures taken last Tuesday.

Sky team bus

 
The amazing Sky team being presented to an appreciative audience.

 
Cheers for Chris Froome and the team.

 
TV interview with the King of the Mountains.

 
Riders looking relaxed and having a chat before the start of the race.
 

And off they go.

Second later all the riders were gone, having started on a 178km tour of one of the most beautiful parts of France
 

So over to our roving camera crew Sherry and Angus who took these brilliant pictures. Thank you so much.

The Caravan runs through Beynac.

 
Wow, brilliant

 

 
They look happy to be here, and who wouldn’t be enjoying the spectacular scenery of the Dordogne valley. Good luck guys.

 
“Come on Chris Froome”… Just a little bias there,

 
The Perigord will bring a smile to your faces too.

 
 
Event:- 14th July – Fête National, all across France.

 
 

Summer comes to Daglan

Traffic has been steadily increasing for a few weeks but the real sign that summer is here is that the Supermarket next to our home is now open every day including Monday for the summer season, and “Wonder Woman”, our new name for Virginie due to the fact that she can lift the most heavy gas containers, is hard at work.

Virginie (Wonder Woman) looking good
 

People make time to stop and chat in the Sunday market.
 

This glorious display was for Mothers Day which fell on May 28th in France.
 

If you visit Daglan make a point of wondering the side streets where you will find some of the hidden gems. This picture was taken at the end of the lane at the side of our home.
 

A stunning array of roses in full bloom cascade down the side of this property.
 

Trying to hide from view. This is gorgeous Meemow, so named because she talks to you none stop.
 
 

Event:-

The Tour de France comes to the Perigord Noir on Tuesday, 11th July. Stage 10 begins at Perigueux, passes through Montignac, Sarlat, Vitrac, Domme, La Rogue-Gageac, Beynac, Saint Cyprien and on to Bargerac.

Check out the 178km route at http://www.cyclingnews.com/
 
 

Bergerac

The capital of Purple Perigord

Good news, our flight timetable has altered, no more getting up before dawn in order to reach the airport in Liverpool or Bergerac. We now have plenty of time on our return to take in the magnificent scenery along the leisurely drive from Daglan and make stop overs in Bergerac for lunch as an added extra bonus.

Cyrano the poetic cavalier with the big nose. Cyrano de bergerac

During our last visit there was a Jazz Festival in Bergerac, with musicians attending from all over the world for evening performances. Some enterprising groups took to the streets to entertain the shoppers.musiciansThese two gentleman above were entertaining the lunchtime crowds. We had just finished our lunch when we spotted a young boy running up to the musicians and asking them if they would play, “You’re simply the best”, for his mother. Which they played impromptu, to the applause and spontaneous singing from the crowd.

It is market day in Bergerac every Saturday morning, and what a market it is, the largest market in the area, taking hours to go round, with everything you could possible want to buy. market day

Medieval, half-timbered houses line the streets in the old quarter.half timbered houses

Bergerac is famous of course for its wine, but also for its National Institute du Tabac and its museum of tabac. Tobacco was first popularised in France by Catherine Medici who used it to cure her migraines!
National Institute du Tabac

Martin Walker

Famous author in the Perigord

A British author has been credited with boosting foreign tourism in Dordogne by 30%. Martin Walker has written several mystery novels about a local policeman called Bruno who works in the Perigord, which has seen tourists flock to the area in the hope of finding the real life inspiration behind the character. Walker has since become an Ambassaeur d’Honneur for Perigord and a Chevalier of foie gras.

Martin WalkerPicture courtesy SHOTSMAG Ezine

I have to say that I have read all of his books except for his latest novel, the Dying Season and I have enjoyed them immensely. Events take place in a fictional village in the Perigord but incorporate all of the familiar places such as the Lascaux caves, vineyards near Bergerac and the medieval towns, markets and people of the area. Plus a few delicious recipes in most of the books making Martin Walkers character Bruno come to life.

My favourite book is The Crowded Grave, which focuses on a local archaeological team digging for evidence of prehistoric man, when they unearth a well-preserved skeleton which should not be there.

The Crowded Grave

Warming Up!

The weather is warming up, skies are blue and the meadows and our neighbour’s pots are full of flowers, making the month of May a lovely time of the year to visit the Perigord. But do not forget to take into account the public holidays. France has several public holidays in May – Friday 1 May is Labour Day, Friday 8th May is WWII Victory Day, Thursday 14th May is Ascension Day and Monday 25th May is Whit Monday (note also that Sunday 31st May is Mothers Day). A popular tradition in France is to ‘faire le pont’ when a national holiday falls on a Tuesday of Thursday people often take the Monday or Friday off as well to make a nice long weekend. So that shops, restaurants and other amenities may close on these occasions.

Looking down our main street, the artist and the jewellers are on the rightLooking down Rue de la République, the artist and the jewellers are on the right

Daglan in bloom.Daglan in bloom.

Outside Fabrice Le ChefOutside Fabrice Le Chef

One of our neighbours many flowersOne of our neighbours many flowers

Local Events in May

Sarlat-16th May – Flea Market

Bergerac – 22nd to the 24th May – Jazz Festival with further Jazz Festivals in July and August.

Markets
Sarlat every Wednesday for fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, meats, flowers etc and every Saturday for the main market, which sells just about everything, clothes, shoes, and fresh produce.

Daglan market-every Sunday

Domme and Monpazier markets every Thursday morning.

Easter Treats

Just a few events that will be happening over the Easter period in the Perigord region of South West France.

 

Chateau de Castlenaud

A costumed guide demonstrates how to use the crossbows and explains the many encounters between the English and the French during the Hundred Years War.

 

Monpazier

Easter Egg Hunt with Easter festivities in the Place Centrale.

 

Bergerac

From the 7th April to the 30th April they will be having a funfair on the Place de La Republique.

 

Chateau de Hautefort

There is a Treasure Hunt on the 6th April, where children will be allowed to roam the Chateau and gardens in order to find a mystery word in connection with the history of Hautefort. There are also many chocolate surprises to win along the way.

 

A trip to France at Easter is a treat, just to look through the windows of the many chocolatiere’s that will be displaying their fabulous creations. This creation is one of my favourites, the cameo Easter eggs look too good to eat, well almost.

ladureeThis chocolatiere, Ladurée is to be found in Paris, where they sell delicious chocolate eggs and chocolate macaroons to die for.

laduree-easter-egg-1Here is another one of their creations, macaroons inside a dark and rich chocolate shell, awesome.


Our late arrival in Bergerac

Having to get up at 2:30 in order to get to Liverpool airport is always a pain in every sense of the word. However we always know that the flight will be on time when we arrive at Bergerac airport, not this time. Due to our early rise I had fallen asleep on the airplane, when I woke up and looked out of the window I soon realised that we were not going in the correct direction, in fact we were going in a circle. I think that you could call it a mild panic set in at this point, while I thought through all of the different scenarios that would explain why we were circling. This completed I thought it best to point this conundrum out to my husband who was acting rather calmly in such a stressful situation. Of course he said “I know, we have been circling Bergerac airport for the last twenty minutes”. Another slight panic set in, why? And do we have enough fuel, did spring to mind. As it transpired we could not land due to low cloud, mist on the runway and that we were now about thirty minutes late, at this point the captain informed us that we had to fly to Limoges where coaches would pick up all of the passages and transfer them to Bergerac. Which it did, panic over with we were safe but late. We thought our son would be worried, we normally text him to say that we have landed; no text would caused alarm bells to ring… it did… he looked on the flight companies website and knew the situation before us.

Our very late arrival meant that we could not buy essentials because the shops would be closed for two, three or four hours so a lunch break in Bergerac was called for.

Bergerac, a name which is associated with Cyrano, the poet cavalier with the big nose, but he never actually came from Bergerac or in fact visited the town where swans swim in the Dordogne River near the banks of the little port, where you can hire a gabare-a traditional flat bottom boat for a trip along the river. The town took off with the construction of a bridge in the 12th century, at that time it was the only bridge on the Dordogne. Therefore, trade grew in tobacco and wine.

Overlooking the river is the Maison des Vins, housed in the former Cloitre des Recollets, where you can buy a bottle or two of wine. Nearby is the Maison Peyrarede which houses a tobacco museum.

Bergerac occupies both banks of the Dordogne, linked by bridges

Bergerac occupies both banks of the Dordogne, linked by bridges

Although Bergerac occupies both banks of the Dordogne, all the interesting points for visitors are concentrated in the pedestrian zone on the North Bank, where restoration work has uncovered a handsome set of buildings from the 14th to the 15th century.

A shame that they had to use a concrete base but they still look good.

A shame that they had to use a concrete base but they still look good.

There are numerous cafes and bars in Bergerac where you can sit and watch the world go by. This statue was erected in 1977, however I think that a better statue is further up the hill in Place Pelissiere, next to Saint Jacques church.

This statue was erected in 1977

This statue of Cyrano de Bergerac was erected in 1977

Cyrano owes his appearance here to Edmond Rostands successful play Cyrano de Bergerac (1897). Rostand based his character on the real Savien Cyrano (1619-55), born in Paris he was a swashbuckling extrovert and poet, who was appointed as a musketeer.

Here he is with his nose turned high.

Here he is with his nose turned high.

This was taken from a street just around the corner from the above statue where there are very interesting cafes, and shops.

The fascinating streets of the old quarter

The fascinating streets of the old quarter