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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Summer is ending!

As Summer slowly passes in the Perigord I am reminded that one of my favourite things about living here is experiencing the advancing of the seasons. Each season arrives over a few weeks with gradual alterations to the countryside that makes watching the newly progressing season a constant treat. As summer winds down it brings cooler air in the mornings and more and more of the forest transforms to a wonderful rust coloured brown. It is still quite warm in the late Summer sun with temperatures in the higher twenties or lower thirties, but not the “wow I am so hot”, feeling that Paul and I have experienced over the last month or so. Eating alfresco and long walks are certainly more pleasant through the months of September and October.

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favourite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
Stephen King, Salem’s Lot.

 

changing of the seasonFirst signs of Autumn, the falling leaves in the lane as we walk towards the old mill.
 

changing of the seasonThe old former mill in Daglan on a gorgeous late summer day.
 

changing of the seasonTaking a relaxing few minutes, watching the gentle steam of water go by. It is hard to believe that the water level in the Céou has reduced so significantly over the Summer months.
 

changing of the seasonThe Summer months have exposed the various islands in the Dordogne river at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
 

changing of the seasonHeron hunting for fish it completely ignored Paul while he was taking this picture.
 

changing of the seasonThe chalk cliff face on our walk from Castelnaud-la-Chapelle to Milandes. Well to be honest that was my plan but I think on that particular day we walked half way then had to turn around and walk back. We need to get fitter.

September is the ideal month for visiting the Perigord, with much reduced tourist traffic and more comfortable temperatures. On that note we are having two lots of visitors to our home this month. The first is a friend whom I have known for at least thirty five years. It will be her first visit to the area and I am so looking forward to seeing her and showing her our gorgeous village of Daglan and the surrounding area. The second visit is from our son, so we have been making a list of things for him to see and experience, One or two of the many Cro-Magnon caves in the area are in order and canoeing on the Dordogne with Paul, while I sit on the bank, camera at the ready ;-)… or read my book.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

Alien garden at La Roque-Gageac

Part two of our trip to La Rogue-Gageac.

 

Last Sunday morning we paid a visit to the brocante at La Roque-Gageac. We have been to see the tropical gardens there many times but this time after we had parked the car I noticed a small lane at the back of the car park that we had not previously explored. So after looking around the Brocante we meandered our way up the small lane and through the tropical undergrowth.

This tropical style exotic garden is well worth a visit or two. The variety of plants is made possible because it is backed by the south facing cliff behind the village which stores heat all summer long and protects the plants in winter by slowly releasing the heat, giving the garden an all year round tropical microclimate. It was created by Gerard Dorin in 1970 and has grown and flourished ever since.

DSCN1767Tropical plants with their curious alien like seed pods.
DSCN1769Here is a close up of the pods, they reminded me of a scene from the film “Alien”, not a pleasant thought for me, far too much imagination!
Tropical garden at La Roque-GageacThis view was taken from the car park looking up towards the cliffs.
DSCN1768I wish that I knew what this plant was with its gorgeous red flowers, if anyone knows let me know please.


Events:- 10th Organ Academy Master Class which is run by Michel Bourard and Yasuko at 8.30 from the 7th to the 11th September at Cathédrale Saint Sacerdos, Sarlat.

Also, in Sarlat:- on the 17th September at 8 o’clock Sarlat will be lit by ten thousand candles to celebrate European Heritage Days. This year the theme is; Heritage and Citizenship. There is also an evening concert in the Cathedral.

It will be the 17th Castelnaud Canoe/Kayak Marathon on the 11th September, everybody is welcome to join in the fun.


Artist at work in and around Daglan

Imagine our surprise when we popped out to the supermarket next to our home and found an artist at work creating La Place de La Liberty (village square) in water colour. The painting was wonderful the colours depicted exactly the golden colour of the stones when the sun shines upon them. This particular artist resides in Beynac, he travels around the various villages of the Perigord painting village squares, buildings and people.

 

DSCN1561 Artist at work at the corner of our home.

 

DSCN1553This is definitely a scene that I would love to paint.

 

Artist at workAnother artist capturing the still waters of the Dordogne river.

 

 

DSCN1558O.K I could not paint this scene so a photograph will have to do! A field of gorgeous sun flowers with their heads turned towards the sun near Castlenaud.

 

DSCN1567We had two sketches of our home commissioned by a local artist called Ray. One was a present for our son’s Birthday and the other is above. Brilliant work, I will be buying a few more sketches from him, a sketch of a Château or Monpazier would be great.


Events:-Daglan 31st July Garage Sale and Promenade en Gastronomie with demonstrations of dog truffiers. Which is great fun, a few years ago we watched the dog truffle finder who was more interested in the nearby sausage seller than the truffles!

We planned a picnic in the car

Oh if only in one of these!

Last Sunday we thought that it would be a good idea to have a picnic breakfast beside the Dordogne River. However, the weather strongly disagreed with me, it was not raining but it was to cold and blustery. Plan B then, a picnic in the car looked good, then we would go on to St Cyprien for the Sunday market where I buy vegetables and fruit most weekends. But first Maison Carré at Castlenaud for their delicious pain aux raisins and croissants aux amandes which are freshly baked.

Imagine our surprise when we drove into the car park to see in front of us a wonderful display of vintage cars – beautiful.

Breakfast can wait a few minutes!

DSCN1232So elegant I so want this one.

 

Vintage and Veteran carsAnd perhaps these for Paul.

 

DSCN1236As we were taking photographs, more and more cars were arriving.

 

DSCN1237I expected Bonnie and Clyde to jump out at any moment.

 

DSCN1240A picnic in the above car would be wonderful, strawberries and champagne – yes please.

 

Springtime has arrived early this year!

Springtime conjures up for me a romantic period of re-growth when buds appear on the trees, waking up to the sunshine streaming through the windows panes, delicious scents of coffee and croissants, lovely days spent walking down the many lanes around Daglan towards the river in gorgeous sunshine and of course dinning outside on our veranda.

We had winter snow in November, just a day or two and a few weeks of frost, fog and the gorgeous mist that tumbles over the Dordogne River. Rain has been the most prominent feature, but the extreme cold has not arrived, well not yet.

Springtime

The normally tranquil River C’eou,

All of the rivers in the area are swollen to capacity producing rapids and waterfalls.

DSCN1120These friendly horses are from one of the stables we passed on our favourite walk around Daglan last week.

DSCN1117aAnother stable near to the river, quite a few of the trees are budding early this year.

DSCN1126

Daffodils are in bloom in early February!

Events

Not to be missed:-

The Chocolate Festival in Sarlat on the 27th and 28th of February from ten o’clock to six o’clock, featuring master choclatiers of the Perigord, I might need to go on both of these dates!

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