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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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;-

 

 
 

New to Castelnaud

A few weeks ago we took a friend to Castelnaud were I am delighted to say they have a few new and interesting exhibits to see and to play! One of which is the new computer game where your task is to save a captured prince from the castle using your knowledge of Castelnaud. Our friend played the game while Paul and I observed and helped where we could. After successfully saving the prince and the game had ended, we were walking away when we heard the computer saying that our friend had won a prize and to write down the code on the screen to be presented at the reception desk. Armed with this knowledge we continued out visit and found another computer, on which my friend played the game once more and won another prize. After collecting both prizes she gave one to me.

CastelnaudNow we both have a poster which is great, ours is on display on our office wall and every time I see it, it brings back fond memories of her holiday with us.

Another new find at Castelnaud is the Nine Worthies: which is a new wall painting created as it would have been in the Middle Ages. The theme of the Nine Worthies was highly prized by the nobility for decorating their castle walls. These notable chevaliers illustrate a whole segment of narrative literature, painted using the traditional techniques of the period. Popular heroes and paradigms of chivalry are divided into three groups of three: the Pagans (Hector, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar), the Jews (Joshua, David and Judas Maccabeus) and the Christians (Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon). They look brilliant and there is a film about how the artists worked and painted to create this piece of art.

CastelnaudArthur and Charlemagne
See the video of how the mural of the Nine Worthies was made

Event:- Château de Castelnaud 22 and 23rd October, “Chevaliers et gens d’armes en parade”. Where you will see the deployment of armed men, ladies, maids, blacksmith and a master chef. Weapons handling demonstrations, trying on armour and the shooting of the trebuchet, I can not wait.
http://castelnaud.com/en

 

Hidden Gem Château de Fayrac

Beynac is having major road and pavement constructions which will not be completed until next winter. However, the road will be open as normal from spring to autumn for the tourist season.

We wanted to go to St Cyprien which unfortunately is to be found at the other side of Beynac, so a new route was in order. We have already followed the diversion signs that take you around Beynac to avoid the roadworks but this new route, told to us by friends in the village, did sound promising for the lovely vistas. So off we set on a rather cloudy morning.

From the bridge at Castlenaud take the D53 leading to Les Milandes so you will have the river on the right hand side and a stone cliff face on the left.

DSCN1108Bridge over troubled waters

The trees looked like they were slowly descending into the swollen river Dordogne.

Continue and you will pass Château de Fayrac on your left.

DSCN1112Château de Fayrac, how awesome is that!

Unfortunately the Château is not opened to the public, but is still magnificent on the outside and is worth a look.

In the 14th century, the Château belonged to the Lords of Castlenaud to serve as a lookout post during the Hundred Years War between the French and the English. In the 18th C during the French Revolution, it was seized has a National Property and sold to the composer Fernard Fouant of Tombelle who restored the Château to its former glory.
Like Beynac, Castlenaud, Milandes and Marqueyssac, it is part of the tourist complex called the “Valley of the five Castles”, which I hope will open to the public at a future date.

If you want to go on to St Cyprien follow the D53 until the junction where the road bears left to Les Milandes, do not turn here but head straight on to take you through two lovely villages of Envaux and Allas les Mines and over a narrow, single track bridge to a wonderful vista taking in fields, hamlets and forested hills and on to Les Cauffours at the D703 between Beynac and St Cyprien.

DSCN0696
The bustling market at St Cyprien

DSCN1109On our return journey the sun was shining so we had to stop and take this picture of Beynac, still magical in winter with the houses clinging to the rock face.

Stormy Weather

The Art of Rain
Falling down, pooling up
Out of the sky and into my cup.

What is this wet that comes from above,
That some call disaster, and others find love.

The harder it falls, the less it is nice,
The colder it falls the harder the ice.

The rain has an art that I may not get,
So I stand still and get soaking wet.

By M.D. Wilson

 

This was our first major power cut during a violent storm last Monday afternoon. Thunder, lighting, rain and hail hit our village at about one thirty in the afternoon.

I was working on our computer at the time, when everything just stopped, lights, heating, computer and even mobile phones until about six hours later. Luckily we have a wood burning fire, a gas cooker and candles.

DSCN1091Our problem was what do we do? Play cards, cludo, or read my Kindle book!

But first and foremost we needed to inform our son in England who Paul managed to contact by driving to the next village which did not have a power cut.

I in the mean time went all Jane Austin and decided to write a letter by candle light. Candles flickered and the fire was warm and cosy, so it was quite nice for a few hours, then we got the message that the power may be out all night! Thoughts of defrosted food and freezing beds came to mind.

My heart goes out to the people in the North West, and Yorkshire in England who have had rain since last September, causing extreme flooding, where people have been made homeless, bridges collapsing and roads being literally swept away by the force of the water.

DSCN1092The Ceou River that passes through our village, almost breaching the bank on the right and bringing down part of the defence wall near the top of the picture.

 

DSCN1098On the outskirts of the village things were a little different

 

DSCN1097This was just one of the waterlogged fields that we saw on our way to Sarlat.
You can just see the campsite notice on the tree.

 

Back to the romance of the area –

DSCN1072bCastelnaud in the fog and mist, just looks like a castle floating above the clouds – magical.

 

Events :-

Truffle Festival this weekend in Sarlat.

Wrap up warm for this the temperature will be in minus figures by the weekend. There will be workshops for truffle identification. A truffle hunting demonstration. Chefs from Sarlat will be demonstrating how to cook truffles. Truffles for sale, small to large (the large ones sell for hundreds of euros)