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.

 

Investigating the narrow streets of Perigueux

As a tip, always head for the medieval quarter of Perigueux on route to the Cathedral of Saint-Front which acts as a striking focal point as you ramble through the narrow lanes; it has a very curious power of popping out at you whenever you think that you are lost. This happened to Paul and I a few weeks ago when we visited the former department capital. However, we did find a few very interesting small boutique shops.
 

A violin shop, the owner makes each instrument by hand, how amazing is that?

I am unsure if these are gnomes or trolls, but never mind they are very cute in the violin shop window.
 

The architecture is stunning in this area which is full of very tempting boutiques, filled with luxury foods, wine, chocolates, cafes and restaurants. Not forgetting the clothes shops of course. However, what we wanted to see was the Renascence architecture which can be found in any of small squares or narrow lanes.

Absolutely gorgeous entrance to the Maison Tenant.
 

Brief accounts of the history of many of the historical buildings in the city are to be found on plaques fixed at the front or side of the property. The above says, this dwelling consists of two habitable units, set at right angles to each other, with a turret at the second flour. Renaissance doorway with this inscription on the lintel: “Remember we all have to die one day. He who enjoys speaking ill of those who are absent, let him know that this house is forbidden to him. The greatest glory comes from displeasing the wicked. This house, built in 1518 with the blessing of the Almighty”.

The tympanum is emblazoned, framed with pilasters with a shell decoration mounted above.

In 1850 the house belonged to a pâté maker named Franconi and in 1897 to Pascal Tenant a friend of Catoire. (A Russian composer of French decent, have a listen to some of his music here, it is brilliant.)
 

Wednesday is market day, held near the Cathedral of Saint-Front. Paul and I had a treat of crêpes with Nutella sitting at an outside table enjoying the sunshine.
 

This stall was overflowing with different breads and cakes of the region.
 
 

Event:-24th September, Vintage car and motorcycles dating from pre 1980’s to be found in Marche Aux Noix Square Sarlat from 10:00 to 12:30.

 
 

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