What could be better than hot chocolate for breakfast?

Hot chocolate and pain au raisin of course.

We often have breakfast at Pâtisserie Massoulier on our morning visits to Sarlat. It was so cold and foggy last Saturday that a hot chocolate drink was especially needed to warm us up a little, it was such a welcome treat before we set off to slowly roam around in the market.

Totally delicious.
 

We usually see Glinglin directing traffic around Sarlat centre.
 

Today however, he was directing people around the market with a traffic cone loud speaker. He is such a joy to see and so funny.
 

The covers were up on the market stalls to protect against the Autumn chill of the morning. Which thankfully did not last too long before the sun came out and reached a temperature of 22C.
 

I can never resist taking a picture of “Le Badaud” the relaxed onlooker gazing out across Sarlat Medieval Quarter. The sculpture by Gérard Auliac and can be seen looking out over the Place de la  Liberté.
 

Installation of Julien Lombardi at Sainte-Marie Fountain.
Paul saw an animal painting on the back wall but I saw a landscape scene! Whatever it is the light really helped to illuminate the painting.

Carried out within the framework of the Residences of Art, Sarlat – October 2017
This installation is based on an exploration scene of the Cuze underground canals passing under Sarlat.

JULIAN LOMBARDI
The Imaginary Museum
October 7 to November 19,2017
Hotel Plamon – rue des Consuls and Fontaine Sainte-Marie
SARLAT LA CANEDAEDA
Free entrance from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm
Information
and group reservations
Heritage Service – City of Sarlat
05 53 29 82 98 / 05 53 29 86 68

 
 

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A Praying Mantis settled on my arm!

This was a first for me, a beautiful praying mantis settled on my arm a few days ago when I was catching the last rays of summer sun in our courtyard. Startled, I think that the mantis and I just froze, then it turned its head towards me with its extremely large eyes. Of course I shouted for Paul to get the camera. Which must have unnerved it a little because it moved off my arm and onto the chair leg.

They are so much bigger than I anticipated them to be.

You can see the size of the mantis compared with the phone on the floor.

All mantis have enlarged forelegs which are adapted for catching and gripping their pray, their upright posture, while remaining stationary with folded forearms, has given them the name of “Praying Mantis”.

In the picture above you can see that our visitor tried with some success to camouflage itself.

Not so lucky on a white wall but such a gorgeous colour.

Mantis were considered at one time to have supernatural powers by the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians. They are among the insects most commonly kept as pets.

 

Events:-

15th October Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse Pink’Athlon for Cancer research.

14th to the 18th November Sarlat Film Festival.

 

Rocamadour Part Two

Rocamadour’s first important patron was Henry 11 of England, who endowed much of his treasure to Rocamadour. His eldest son, the Young King Henry Court-Mantel, stole the treasure along with the Black Madonna in 1183 to pay for his routiers in his war against his father: he even so the legion goes, replaced the Durandel with his own sword.

He had not gone very far when the Black Madonna got her revenge, striking young Henry down with a fever. Full of remorse, he asked his father to forgive him, had an alter put on his neck and laid naked in a bed of ashes and died.

The Bishop of Limoges gave him absolution for his sins due to his father promising that he would replace Rocamadour’s treasure.
 

Basilique-St-Sauveur built into the rock face during the 11th and 13th Century’s is truly stunning.
 

Over the alter hangs a painted wooden 16th Century Christ shown crucified on a tree, his right side pierced by a lance instead of the customery left side.
 

St Amadour relic, who’s bones where hacked to bits during the Wars of Religion by the Huguenot Captain Bessonies who desecrated the shrine.
 

Many of the ships on display are from the Breton Sailors who held the Black Madonna in high esteem.
 

Darkened by candle smoke the Magnificent Black Madonna still holds court today. She is carved out of walnut in the 11Century and sits quite stiffly on her throne with the Christ child balanced on her knees.
 

Outside various walls are decorated depicting various scenes from the Annunciation and Visitation. These two skeleton figures are pleading for salvation.
 

Further up an hairpin walk lined with the Stations of the Cross takes you up to the ramparts of the Château, built in the 14th Century to defend the shrines.
 

Engraved tunnel of copied tombstones, and pledges is fascinating to read.
 

In order to see Rocamadour arrive early in the morning in July and August. Better still arrive in the Spring, Autumn or Winter to avoid the tourist season.
 
 

Events:-

Sarlat : Napoleon Bonaparte, with Josephine and some of his army (complete with a cannon) will arrive for the Historic Weekend which starts tomorrow. Lets just hope for fine weather.

Daglan : The 8 à Huit Supermarket will be closed from the 21st September to the 28th September.

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

 
 

Le Croquant de Sarlat.

Le Croquant de Sarlat is a dry and crunchy, caramelised sugar ‘biscuit’ like treat, often made with almonds or walnuts. It is mainly made in the South West of France with each pâtisserie having their own, closely guarded variation on the recipe.

It was only a couple of months ago that Paul and I first saw these biscuits at Pâtisserie Massoulier in Sarlat so, feeling the need to assuage a sweet tooth we just had to try them.

Croquant is French for crisp or crunchy, the ‘biscuit’ is often named ‘crunchy Perigord’ and they are delicious.

 
The ‘biscuits’ may be large or small, plain or with nuts.

 
They are something like a brittle, hard and perfect to crumble over ice cream, layered into parfaits, or to eat as they are.

 
More tempting delights at Pâtisserie Massoulier.
33 Rue de la République, 24200 Sarlat-la-Canéda.
 
 
Event:-. The bunting and flags are flying, the Bumper Cars are all set up to go in La Place de La Liberty. Daglan Fête starts on Friday 18th August.

 
 

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;-

 

 
 

Once more, here is Sarlat.

For no other reason than I never get tied of taking pictures of this medieval/renaissance town, especially on market days. It is magical but you need to arrive early if you want to park your car during the tourist season. On a Saturday and Wednesday morning fresh produce is for sale along the pedestrianised Place de la Liberté which runs all the way down the old quarter, while on Saturday, along the main Rue de la République you can buy anything from shoes, leather goods, linen clothes, books, toys, tableware and more.

Ready to sell their fruit, vegetables, cheeses, bread and cakes.
 

A walnut grinder demonstration.
 

Fantastic display of mushrooms.
 

We always make a point of wondering the maze of side streets of Sarlat to find hidden gems. This gem of a courtyard was found down Rue Alberic Cahuet. I love the old stones which they used for planters and the olive tree centrepiece.
 

Second hidden gem, flower pots shaped to sit perfectly onto the iron rail. what a brilliant idea.
 
 

Events:-

Sarlat market days, Wednesday for fresh produce and Saturday for the full market.

Daglan, market every Sunday morning.

La Rogue-Gageac market every Friday morning.

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Brocante, 13th July 8:00 to 18:00

Marqueyssac – Candlelight evening with entertainment. Every Thursday from seven PM until midnight in July and August.