Up, Up and away…

…in my beautiful balloon.

Joseph-Michel Montgolfier was born in 1740 and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier was born in 1745, they were paper manufacturers from Annonay in the Ardèche region of France. Both were inventors in their own right but are mostly remembered for their joint collaborations in inventing piloted hot air balloons. They launched the first ascent in 1783 which covered 2km and lasted ten minutes at a maximum altitude of about 2,000m. Success followed success and the Montgolfier hot air balloons were, and still are, a prominent feature in the “skyscape” of France, especially in the Perigord Noir.

 
Down, down over the forest at Castlenaud.

 
Slowly the balloon descended towards the house!

 
Apparently just missing the roof.

 
A companion landing in the field in front of the house and close to the road.

 
These pictures were taken a few weeks ago on our way to Sarlat early one morning. “Champagne breakfast over the forest anyone”?

 
They floated right over our heads and you could see the people inside the baskets. What a superb view they must have, not of us but of the Château’s, the Dordogne River and the surrounding forests and countryside, sight seeing at its best.

 
 
Event – Brocante at La Rock de la Gageac, 3rd September

 
 

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A drone at breakfast!

Most Sunday mornings Paul and I drive to Castelnaud for a picnic breakfast of naughty but nice pastries enjoyed by the river Dordogne but this Sunday was special we had a drone for company.

We picked our picnic spot with a gorgeous view of the early morning mist over the water.

We had just sat down to eat when a man on the next picnic table to Paul and I began assembling a drone.
Here it is all ready to take off.

For those of you who are interested, it looked like a DJ1 Phantom 4 advanced Quadcopter which has a 20 megapixel camera capturing high definition 4K video at 60fps. The drone has a maximum control range of 7km.

Gaining altitude and speed rapidly, it flow over the Dordogne River, pausing to hover now and again in order to take aerial pictures.

After the wow factor of the drone, we returned to the picnic and relaxing by waters of the tranquil river.

 
 

Have you seen the fairies dance upon a Summers night?

Marqueyssac by candlelight is amazing. Illuminated by over two thousand candles the gardens at Marqueyssac are a site to see. We arrived just before dusk and took refreshments at a table with a breath-taking view across the Dordogne valley where we could see Castelnaud, Fayrac and Beynac Château’s.

As dusk slowly arrived we walked through the candle lit gardens towards the increasing sound of music and children’s laughter. I would highly recommend anyone to visit the gardens at night, every Thursday evening in July and August from seven to midnight.

Fairies on stilts, “Les Marraines Fees” by the Lilous Company.

The faces of the children as they where sprinkled with fairy dust was brilliant. The costumes and the make up are outstanding.

A magical moment that the children will never forget.
 

Various niches, fountains and rocks around the garden are illuminated.
This particular fountain changed from yellow to purple to red and back again.
 

Jazz and blues on the Esplanade by Karima and Oliver. They are brilliant.
 

Classical music in a circle of light by DJamano.
 

I am unsure what dance Judith and I were performing in the above picture but we all had a terrific time. My friend Michelle was taking a selfy as light scattered around us.
 

At last we saw ‘Kan’ the L’allosaure which is new to the gardens this year.

 
 
Events:-
The Tour de France goes through Perigord on Tuesday, wow. 178Km from Périgueux, through Sarlat and on to Bergerac. Tour De France Stage 10

Daglan events;-

 

 
 

Out and About

Beynac is now open!

The main D703 road through Beynac has been closed to traffic for a few months while major construction work took place. I am so glad to say that it is now open with a new road and pedestrian walkway. Beynac is now ready for the Tour de France to pass through next month.

On our way to St Cyprian market this morning we bypassed Beynac on the other side of the river Dordogne.
 

Returning home we noticed the deviation signs were missing so decided to try the Beynac route.
 

Before our trip to the market we stopped for a breakfast picnic. There is nothing to beat fresh pastries from Maison Carré at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle enjoyed by the banks of the river Dordogne on a glorious sunny morning.

Still waters mirrored in the Dordogne river.
 

The water is so clean that you can watch the trout swim by.
 

And enjoy the terrific views. With canoes ready for the first customers.
 

I could not resist taking this picture of the two foals and their mothers sheltering from the sun.
 
 

Events:-
– Bouzic night market is on Tuesday evenings in July and August
– St-Cyprian night market, throughout July and August on a Thursday evening,
– July and August for Saint Pompon night market on a Saturday evening.

Night markets are a great evening out where you buy hot or cold food and drinks from a variety of stall holders, sit at a handy table to enjoy the entertainment and later dance to your hearts content to live musicians or a DJ.
 
 

The Best parts of a Picnic are:-

1 – The temperature had dropped to about 22C this morning so an ideal time for a picnic on the banks of the river at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.

2 Just to take time out and enjoy the views. One of which is the old transport barges called ‘Gabares’, which now transport sight seeing tourists up and down the river Dordogne.

The one above runs from La Roque Gageac to just before Castelnaud. If you recall the movie “Chocolate” with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, you will remember the barges.
 

3 Picnic itself consisted of a poached salmon pizza and gorgeous petit gateau we bought from Maison Carré

Once again I must diet for another month!
 

4 The friendlessness of the wildlife. He came to stand right next to me. You can just see the end of our picnic table at the bottom of the picture.
 

5 A relaxing canoe ride on the river. Paul was trying his best to convince me that we should hire a canoe, I am still thinking about it.
 

6 The best is the last. To come home to be greeted by a surprise, M. Guichard, the baker from the Boulangerie next door who has cleaned the pavement and the road in front of his shop and our house while we were absent. A very big thank you.
 
 

Event :- Daglan Brocante this Saturday (3rd) and Sunday (4th).
 
 

French Property News magazine.

Black Diamond.

Towards the end of last year I was asked by the editor of French Property News Magazine to write an article for them about how we found our home, the buying process, the renovation work, Daglan village and the surrounding area. At first nerves took hold and I thought no, then on reading past blogs and our experiences, who could forget the arsenic paint on our toilet door, or the shower that kept me practising Yoga every time that I used it!, I thought yes I can write the article.

The editor loved the article and our pictures and it was published in the March issue of French Property News magazine and now the April issue has been published I can show my article in our blog for you to read. I hope that you like it.

Just click on the page image to open an enlargement in a new window (Use keys to override your popup blocker if needed).

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Vitrac & Vitrac Port.

Vitrac consists of a port and a small village near the hamlet of Monfort. Vitrac Port is located on the D46 between Sarlat and Cénac et Saint Julien, Vitrac village is about a kilometre away along the D55.

Although we drive through Vitrac Port a couple of times each week on our way to and from Sarlat we have never stopped to look at the twin villages before, so on a very cold but sunny day we ventured out to take a look.
 

dscn2016A magnificent Château is to be found at the entrance to Vitrac village
 

dscn2017Vistas over the Château grounds to the swirling mist on the hills and the dordogne river in the distance.

The village itself is quite small, in the main square is the church of Saint Martin, opposite is a narrow lane that leads off to the artists studio.
 

dscn2022This photograph taken at Vitrac Port reminded me so much of a scene from the film ‘A Good Year’, staring Russel Crow. If you have seen the film it is the scene when he is taking photograhs of the grounds in order to sell the estate. However, each photogragh he takes reminds him of his deseased Uncle and the wonderful memories of his childhood. The photogragh just needed a smoked cigar in an ashtray on the table to complete the scene.
 

dscn2023The rushing water of the Dordogne completes this magnifisent property.
 

dscn2019Just over the bridge there is an excellent park area where each table and benches are enclosed in a horse shoe shaped hedge.

Of course in Spring and Summer you can rent a canoe or two from Vitrac Port and slowly meander your way down the river. Or you could go further along the road and visit Monfort, Domme, Daglan or Sarlat.
 

Close by is the Château de Montfort.
dscn2232aThe Château has had a turbulent history starting with Bernard de Casnac who was not a very pleasent person to meet if you were Catholic for he swore “to cut to pieces” any Catholic that he enounted. Which was at odds with the peaceful Cathars at that time! Then came the infamous Simon de Montfort and a list of others throughout history who pilaged, burned, rebuilt and destroyed again. In fact it is quite a feat for the Château to be here at all, but I am glad it is.

Sadly it is in private hands so not open to the public but it is still worth a visit just to see its magnifisant turrets.