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.
 
 

Summer comes to Daglan

Traffic has been steadily increasing for a few weeks but the real sign that summer is here is that the Supermarket next to our home is now open every day including Monday for the summer season, and “Wonder Woman”, our new name for Virginie due to the fact that she can lift the most heavy gas containers, is hard at work.

Virginie (Wonder Woman) looking good
 

People make time to stop and chat in the Sunday market.
 

This glorious display was for Mothers Day which fell on May 28th in France.
 

If you visit Daglan make a point of wondering the side streets where you will find some of the hidden gems. This picture was taken at the end of the lane at the side of our home.
 

A stunning array of roses in full bloom cascade down the side of this property.
 

Trying to hide from view. This is gorgeous Meemow, so named because she talks to you none stop.
 
 

Event:-

The Tour de France comes to the Perigord Noir on Tuesday, 11th July. Stage 10 begins at Perigueux, passes through Montignac, Sarlat, Vitrac, Domme, La Rogue-Gageac, Beynac, Saint Cyprien and on to Bargerac.

Check out the 178km route at http://www.cyclingnews.com/
 
 

The Tour de France

We had never seen the Tour de France live before so with it passing through the Perigord it was a chance that we could not miss. The day started off badly with the forecast stating that a storm was due. Being in a positive mood I made a picnic hamper! The storm hit on route to Monbazillac and what a storm it was thunder, lightning, torrential rain. We could just see the car in front of us. As I said, being in a positive mood we carried on thinking that the storm would pass by in time for riders. Oh contraire, the storm did stop for about an hour then it started again, stronger and more violent than before. However, this did not put us off, we stayed for the race, and four hours of waiting in the storm was worth it just to see the riders pass by.

We arrived at Monbazillac and parked in a soaked piece of land between two vineyards and ate our picnic, while watching the thunder and lightning getting nearer and nearer. Guess who had only sandals on her feet that day?

Our arrival at Monbazillac

Our arrival at Monbazillac

The sea of yellow was amazing; we got hats, t-shirts, umbrellas, pens etc
Waiting for so long we became friends with the people next to us on either side, sharing umbrellas, sweets etc.

First was the junior race, the rider in front went back for the second rider to help him to finish the race.

the junior race

the junior race

Then came the time that everyone was waiting for, the caravan. This is a series of cars and floats who speed pass throwing sweets, cakes, hats, drinks, toys etc.

The start of the caravan

The start of the caravan

The caravan was an amazing sight, you can just see the very large rider in a yellow jersey on top of the car.

the first yellow jersey

the first yellow jersey

Everyone cheered; we put our hands up for the sweets but missed this time.

meet Micky

meet Micky

Somewhere inside the fruit shoot is a car

fruit shoot on wheels

fruit shoot on wheels

When the junior bike riders and caravan had driven past we had to wait for about an hour or so. Then the the crowed cheered loudly because we could all hear the helicopter over our heads, the race was here. These are the first riders, it was so exciting, people shouted, banged on the side of the barrier, some people called out the names of the riders while others just stood in awe. It was great and truly a sight worth waiting for.

These are the leaders

These are the leaders

This is the peloton, the pain on the rider’s faces as they fought to finish the stage. They had come so far, endured every type of weather and physical and mental torture, they were truly awe inspiring.

the peloton

the peloton

Would I do it again? Yes, yes, and yes but next time I must remember to pack my Wellington boots.

Our return to France

We are getting ready once more for our next trip to France. So the second to do list is here:-
* Check all of the radiators for leaks, (have a bucket and mop on stand by).
* Paint the window frames (Adam has been nominated as the chief painter, but he does not know yet!)
* Paint the front door
* Paint the kitchen window (if time).
* Work on the kitchen, tiling or cupboard doors.
* Fit shelf over kitchen radiator for the enjoyment of our cats
* Visit friends, have a drink or two.
* Castlenaud, demonstration of firing the trebuchet (one third scale model) and a forging demonstration, (no not money! Making chain mail).
* Sarlat, Fete de la Musique and Drama.
* Dome market which is every Thursday, buy strawberries for the after dinner pudding and for crepes in the morning.
* Grotte de Rouffignac-cave painting. The tour is about one hour by a small train, which stops now and again to view the paintings, sounds good.
* Tour de France-25th July at Monbazillac, pick up a few bottles of wine and watch the race with a few thousand other people on the side of the road.

Just to get us in the mood for our visit

typical vista

A typical vista.

Domme market and our favourite strawberry lady.

strawberries

strawberries

If it is too hot why not try blackcurrant ice cream with Chantilly cream, with a refreshing glass of ice tea.

blackcurrant ice cream , yum

Blackcurrant ice cream , yum

I will blog again on our return in a few weeks.

Monbazillac

We visited Monbazillac for the first time in 2011 on a very hot August day, it is gorgeous and well worth a visit. Monbazillac has been a wine co-operative since the 1960’s and holds the Appellation d’Origine Controlee for sweet white wine produced in the area on the left bank of the Dordogne River just South from the town of Bergerac.

Paul and I are on the left of the picture

Paul and I are on the left of the picture

Chateau de Monbazillac was built in the mid-sixteenth century. You can go inside and see for example the museum of wine; evolution of the bottles; gallery of art; the sixteenth century period furniture and the wonderful tapestries that cover many of the rooms.

Just look at those turrets, awesome.

Just look at those turrets, awesome.

The old winery is now a restaurant and the Monbazillac wine can be tasted and bought at the visitors centre.

Vines dripping with grapes.

Vines dripping with grapes.

The vines cover 4,900 acres and are all worked by hand, no mechanical harvesting is allowed. I particularly love Monbazillac Chateau La Labature 2007, if you like white wine it is excellent. To get the sweetness the grapes are left to shrivel and form a crust with brown pouriture noble, or noble rot, which withers the grapes but adds a distinctive sweetness and fragrance that tastes so good.

Santé

Tour de France 5-27th July

Visits two awesome places this year
Yorkshire and the Perigord

For the first time since 2007, the world’s most famous cycling race begins in the UK. The “Grand Depart” starts in Yorkshire at Leeds Town Hall and travels through the gorgeous Yorkshire country side.

Stage One:- Leeds to Harrogate, 190Km passes through the grounds of Harewood House, the medieval chapel there holds the tombs of four French Knights who fought at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 for England. Then at Wharfedale the peloton will run beside the river Warfe on their way to Skipton Castle; the first serious hill will be Craggy Rylestone Fell, then Bucden Pike, Buttertubs Pass; Swaledale, Masham-which is a famous brewery town; Theakstone’s Old Perculier, Yorkshire elixir, then Harrogate.

Stage two:- York to Sheffield, 200Km starts at the racecourse. Micklegate Bar, York’s 12th century gate, still bears the Royal arms of England and France. At the Eye of York, across the River Ouse, the riders reach the counties hub, Yorkshires Viking-drawn divisions, East West and North Riding start from Clifford’s Tower the Castle Keep was built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Roman Emperors, Saxon Kings Viking Chiefs and Norman Monarchs left York’s visible history. The city, twinned with Dijon has one of the highest proportions of cycling cities in Britain. It then travels to Knaresbourgh a gorgeous village which holds Mother Shiptons cave, Mother Shipton was a 15th century seer. Ilkley Moor; Bronte Country is always worth a visit for the village and the home of the famous Bronte sisters; Holmfirth and then Sheffield.

It is such a shame that Bradley Wiggins is not in the Tour, we like millions of other people were looking forward to seeing him.

Then on the Friday 25th July the Tour runs though the Perigord with a stage from Maubourguet to Bergerac. The riders will set off from Maubourguet at 10:30 and start their stage at about 12:30. They will pass through Eymet, Rouffignac de-Sigoules, Monbazillac with a predicted finish in Bergerac at about 17hr 14min.

On the 26th will be individual time trials between Bergerac and Perigueux, the penultimate stage of the race.

We were undecided at first whether to go to Yorkshire or the Perigord, we settled on the Perigord where we can spend a few days working on our property there. Then it was another hard decision on where in the Perigord, at first we picked Bergerac and then the route came out, so we changed from Bergerac to Monbazillac. If you have never been to Monbazillac it is well worth a visit.
The picturesque vineyards and stunning Chateau will offer us a great vantage point from which to view the tour (with about a million other people) and of course it will give us the opportunity to pick up a few more bottles of wine and have a picnic.