Why the Perigord Noir?

This question has been asked by friends, family, tourists and house hunters. The appeal to us, is that this part of the Perigord offers the most stunning landscapes as the Dordogne River cuts through the unspoiled countryside. The landscape changes at every bend in the road and there are amazing sights as you drive past the villages clinging to the rock face.

La Roque-Gageac.
 

There are four distinctive seasons from short Winters where temperatures can reach below freezing (-7 this morning) to blooming Spring and gorgeous hot Summers. Which are reflected in the seasonal produce sold in the many markets of the area.

The cuisine is rich in its diversity from duck, mushrooms, truffles, cheeses, wine, fruit and vegetables. To match this there are the amazing food festivals. this month we see the truffle market in Daglan and the Truffle Festival in Sarlat. Summertime brings the night markets where you can enjoy fresh cooked local food in pleasant surroundings.

Historical features include the many Château’s featuring pigeonniers and of course the many wonderful Beaux villages of the area.

A taster for the first time visitor to this area are Milandes, Castlenaud, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, Daglan and Sarlat.

Medieval weekend last Summer held at Château de Castelnaud.
 

Included sword fighting demonstrations.
 

La Mairie de Daglan, Such a beautiful building.
 

Le Tour de Daglan takes a short rest in the village square.
 

Most of all it is always the people that make a place worth visiting time and again, and Daglan is no exception to this rule. You will never meet more friendly and welcoming people who are always willing to help and to make your life here a little bit better by their presence.

The weekly Craft Session.
 
 

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The Season Of Mist And Mellow Horses!

Since we moved to live in France we notice the seasons far more than we did in England. We used to live in a fairly large coastal town with little in the way of nature.

Here in Daglan nature is all around us and once again the seasonal changes in and around the village are magnificent. Autumn is here in full and colourful glory and with it come the mist’s of October mornings.

Taken from the graveyard overlooking Daglan as the mist rises to greet the sun over the forest.
 
Golden trees at the rear of the graveyard are just stunning.
 

These deep reds were photographed as Paul and I walked along the lane towards the river Ceou at the side of the Château.
 

The forest in all its glory.
 

I could not believe my eyes, crocuses in bloom!
 

I Just had to stop for a chat.
 

Or two. So gentle and relaxed, magnificent horses. Just what I needed to ease a stressful day.
 

The Château grounds as the sun slowly penetrates through the trees early yesterday morning.
 
 

Event:-Sarlat 21st October, Grande Brocante d’automne. Place de la Grande Rigaudie from eight in the morning.
 
 

“The Envy Of The Whole World”.

This is how President Emmanuel Macron described the French baguette earlier this year when he backed calls to have it listed as a UNESCO cultural treasure.

Intrigued and delighted by this, I just had to find out more information about the baguette, why that shape, how did it become so popular in every corner of France, in short what is the history of the tradition French Baguette.

Delicious.

 

Starting around the 14th and 15th century people had to use a Communal oven to bake their bread, which was mostly round in shape. However, even though they were called Communal they did not belong to the Community. The oven was the property of the local Lord or the Church who would charge the surfs for baking their bread. Following the French Revolution, the ovens became the property of the village; no more fees.

 

Once a week the oven was fired up and the locals would carry the dough they had prepared at home to the oven. Each family would mark the top of the bread with a distinctive cut to distinguish their bread from the other families.

 

The ash created during the baking was collected, mixed with water and used for the laundry.

Baguette’s really took off in the 1920’s after a new law prevented workers starting work before 4am. In older to get the bread baked in time for breakfast, bakers started to make long, thin ‘wand”s of bread. Although the dough at that time was still made at home and then taken to the Boulangerie to bake.

 

Bread oven’s can be seen all over France in the Boulangerie, or in the centre of the village, in the grounds of a property or in the property itself.

So if you are looking for a new home …

 
 

Event:-Le château de Castlenaud celebrates the European Heritage Weekend on the 15th and 16th September with a Medieval Fencing Tournament.
 
 

Le Château De Monbazillac Part Two.

Fist of all, Bravo Les Bleus. I do not usually watch football but I, like millions of others, just had to watch this match.

Wow… you are so awesome.

 

O.K back to Monbazillac.

There is a very interesting room in the Château called Mounet-Sully room. There is only a brief explanation of the person so I just had to find out more. Mounet-Sully (birth name Jean-Sully Mounet was born in 1841 in Bergerac) and he became a famous actor, painter, sculptor and writer. He was a member of the celebrated Comedie Francaise, as was his brother Paul.

His most famous role as an actor was that of Oedipus in L’Oedipe, a French version by Jules Lacroix. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1889.

A little bit of scandal, his brother Paul was famous not only for his acting but for his affair with Sarah Bernhardt. Who’s picture you can see on the table in the room.

Mounet-Sully caricatures.

 
In the tower room is a gorgeous collection of white porcelain from Limoges which also belonged to Mounet-Sully.
 

The Bedroom of the Viscountess.

A Reconstruction of a lady’s bedroom in the 17th Century.

 

Next to the bedroom is a wonderful room filled with sketches of Ladies fashions from the Edwardian period. I particularly liked this sketch above, the costume looks so elegant and stylish.
 

We had a sneaky peek into this room which is being restored to its former glory.
 
 

Events:-

Saint-Pompon Night market open every Saturday until 18th August.

Celtic night in the village of Saint Andre d’Allas on 21st July.
 

Le Château De Monbazillac.

Part One

This Château and vineyard is one of our favourite places to visit. So it was a real pleasure to show our friend around while she was here on holiday a few weeks ago.

Listed as an historical monument it dates back to the 16th Century where it was built in the Renaissance style. Set in a woodland with magnificent vistas across the valley. 3500 hectares of vines produce in my view pure nectar, sweet and dessert white wines. Which of course can be sampled in the wine shop before… and perhaps after… your visit to Le Château De Monbazillac.

Michelle and I all ready for the visit.
 

The architecture is a mix of traditional and defence style, towers, parapet walk, battlements, moat, cannon and the start of Renaissance art in the form of wide windows, mullion windows, fixed bridge, grand interior staircase and of course the layout of the rooms.
 

The Château and its vines have been the property of Monbazillac Cooperative Winery since 1960. Before that the château was handed down from mother to child (or nephew) and has been sold six times since the 16th Century.
 

Coat of Arms Tower is represented by the successive owners of the Château. From the family that initially bequeathed the land for the construction of the Château to the last lords of the viscountcy.
 

The Grand Salon. The Renaissance fireplace was decorated in 1929 with heraldic sculptures.
 

A Harry Potter moment! In other words the bottle room. 7,000 bottles of Monbazillac from the 2002 and 2004 vintages are presented on the walls giving the walls a gorgeous golden glow. The display case shows the changes of bottle shape over the years.
 

The Dutch brand display case contains vintages of Monbazillac wine. The map by Belleyme (who surveyed the region from 1761 to 1774).
The spelling of the name was how my ancestors spelled their surname, an ancestral relative perhaps?. The Belleyme’s originated from Northern France, and owned the area now known as Belléme. A future blog I think.
 

Part Two blog will cover a fascinating person called Jean-Sully Mounet.