Operation Percy Pink

We had never heard about Operation Percy Pink until we visited Saint Cyprien market a week ago. We had just finished buying our produce and were on our way back to the car when we spotted a vintage car parked at the end of the main road.
Operation Percy Pink

We soon found out that Operation Percy Pink was the code name that was used by US Special Forces to parachute thirteen men into German occupied France in August 1944 to aid the local ‘Maquis’ resistance fighters in the Perigord Noir. These commandos were the first allied troops to be dropped into the Perigord Noir, their task was to prevent the Germans moving North for as long as possible to aid the D-Day landings. This they did for several weeks which helped shorten WW2.

To honour their bravery a documentary is being produced aimed at teaching students of all ages about these men and the French Resistance in the Perigord Noir. In the documentary you can see veterans of the Resistance fighters telling their story.

Percy Pink PosterBrave men indeed,
who punched holes in petrol tanks so that the Germans would not get the fuel, blow up railway bridges so troop trains fell in the river, set fire to and destroyed what they could and used what they found to help the local people in their resistance.
 

Percy Pink WitnessA witness in 1944 who saw the US parachute team in Cadouin.
 

US Special forces, Percy Pink CommandosThe US Commandos who took part in Operation Percy Pink.
 
Operation Percy Pink Trailer on YouTube

 
Events: 30 April, Cenac Flower Festival.

Not so hidden gems of Sarlat and a few of Périgueux

Sarlat

We have been visiting Sarlat since 2009 so imagine my surprise when on our way back to the car a couple of weeks ago when I noticed for the first time the not so hidden gem at the tops of the street lamps. Beautifully ornate decoration around the top of the lamp with a crown of castles. It just shows that I need to look up more often than I do.
a crown of castlesThis particular lamp is to be seen just at the entrance to the car park.
 

O.K not really new to us, however a very unusual gem of a medieval property. I particularly love the quirkiness of the building in the centre of the picture.
cut to fit It looks like it has been cut in half to make it fit into the space available.
 

Chocolate gemsChocolate gems of chickens, fish, ducks and eggs to be found in the various Chocolatiers in Sarlat.
 

Wow, just look at the owlWow, just look at the owl.
 

Pâtisserie MassoulierThis was taken inside Pâtisserie Massoulier, rows and rows of treats for Easter.

Périgueux

Our first time exploring Périgueux resulted in me finding this fabulous Chocolatier in the Medieval district.

fabulous ChocolatierPaul says that I am like a homing pigeon for linen, lace and chocolate.
 

organ grinderAn organ grinder who looked like he had just stepped out of a Dickens novel, he had a great singing voice too.
 

The town of Périgueux has been in existence since Neolithic times, and later became an important Roman centre. Like so many villages and towns in France it suffered during the Middle Ages through the Hundred Years War. Therefore a great deal of construction was needed in the 16th and 18th C.
 

La cathédrale Saint FrontResulting in a very interesting Medieval and Renaissance centre with attractive boulevards and streets which line the area around the Cathédrale Saint Front.

We only had a short visit to Périgueux but we intend to go back in the near future to explore more of the area.
 
 

Event:-

A Children’s Easter Treasure Hunt in Daglan this Sunday 9th April, 10 o’clock until 12 o’clock. You will need a reservation for there are only thirty places but it is open to all. Children under ten years must be accompanied by an adult. Phone 06 42 98 22 26 for a reservation.
Children's Easter Treasure Hunt
 
 

Nearly Easter

The next two blogs will be on my favourite time of year…, Easter. As a confirmed chocoholic, being faced with the mastery of the chocolatiers in the Perigord is pure delight.

So first, the array of Easter delights at Maison Carré at Castlenaud-la-Chapelle.

As I entered the shop this morning my senses were hit with the outstanding display of chocolate creations which are produced by the Master Chocolatier.
 

 Easter themed cartoon charactersHere are just a few examples from the large selection on show.

There are Eggs from small to large and Easter bells, bunnies, and chickens, to pretty flowers and Easter themed cartoon characters, all displayed on the tables and cabinets throughout the shop.
 

too gorgeous to eatSome are just too gorgeous to eat, well nearly!
 

Service with a smileThey also sell the most delicious macarons and gâteaux, petit and grand, that you have ever tasted. Plus an assortment of fine French breads and pastries, which are always served to you with a smile.
 

The youngest member of the team. The youngest member of the team at Maison Carré. It is a delightful Boulangerie, Patisserie and Master Chocolatier in one shop.
 

Sunday breakfastPaul and I go most Sundays mornings to buy our breakfast treat of the week and to stock up with their delicious breads.
 

delicious french  breadWe have found that French bread will freeze well for short periods of time of up to a week if wrapped in cling film.
 

Next blog:- The Easter delights of Sarlat and Périgueux.

I hope we picked a winner!

Sarlat was inundated with Master Chocolatiers last weekend, they were showing their skills at the Chocolate Festival which had been organised, for the second year, by the Rotary Club. If you love chocolate as I do, last weekend was amazing.

Your senses are first aroused by the Masterpiece creations which were displayed on a long tables near the entrance. They are each numbered and you pick the one you think is best, which I found extremely difficult, once you have made your choice you write the number onto a card along with your contact details. If you have picked the same as the judges your entry is placed in a draw for a hamper of chocolate.

This is the one that I picked, keeping fingers crossed that it is a winner.
 

I also liked the golden eggs, and,,, and,,, and…
 

Paul picked number seven in the middle of the picture, in front of the Rotary Club sign.
 
One room was used for chocolate demonstrations where classes were held to teach a little of the art of working with chocolate. There were also films about growing cocoa for chocolate.
 

Two other rooms housed what was for me, the main event…
 

Rows upon rows of chocolate creations for sale from the Master Chocolatiers of the Perigord.
 

Chocolate cartoon characters, Wow yummy
 

This was my favourite, a chocolate Peruvian mask which was made from the rich dark chocolate from Peru. Unfortunately it was tucked away behind a pile of chocolate pieces in a corner of a display cabinet, hence the poor lighting!
 
 

Events:-

Sunday 19th Daglan Spring Festival in and around the Place de la Liberté http://www.daglan.fr/fete-du-printemps/. At 11:00 there will be the official inauguration of the Stèle de la Paix, (magnificent carved tree), alongside the church. The Café de la Fleur will be holding a mini market.

Morning of Wednesday 22nd Daglan Children’s Carnival http://www.daglan.fr/carnal-des-enfantscarnaval-ecole-2017/.
 

 

More Hidden Gems of Sarlat

It is always worth wondering around the side streets of any town in the Perigord Noir however, the Medieval Quarter in Sarlat stands out as one of the best, where you can find hidden treasures literally just around every corner. This happened to Paul a few weeks ago when he was passing the time waiting for me while I was at our hairdressers.

If you walk up the main shopping street in Sarlat, pass the chocolatiers, Burton’s Store and the store that sells knifes and guns! You will come to a small cobbled lane on the left that doubles back and rises up to take you around the bend. There, hidden around the bend on the Rue J.J. Rousseau you will find the 17th Century Chapel des Pénitents Blancs with its magnificent portico.
 

17th Century Chapel des Pénitents BlancsChapel of the White Penitents XVIIth century
 

dscn2256The beautiful baroque door is the only ornament of the Chapel of the Récollets (a reformed branch of the Franciscan order) of the White Penitents.

In 1944 the chapel was classified as an historical monument and since 1970, it has housed a museum of sacred art.
 

In the old quarter take the lane which is found on the left of the Cathedral and runs past the Lantern of the Dead.
 

twisty, narrow laneTake the first left at the antique shop and you will find a twisty, narrow lane which in turn leads you into the myriad of Medieval properties which we had never seen before.
 

A beautiful balustradeA beautiful balustrade with artisan jewellery shops on the first level of the property.

Meandering through the narrow cobbled lanes of artisans and art galleries you will come to Rue Fénelon, turn left where you will find cafes, a Thai Restaurant (which we must check out) and antique shops.
 

Tall houseOn the right, tucked in between the shops you will see another interesting 14th C property.
 

Aux Bonheurs De SopheFurther along the same lane towards Rue de la Liberté you will find on the right, ‘Aux Bonheurs De Sophe’. A Millinery shop where I could spend hours browsing and buying almost everything. It sells beautiful materials, cottons, wools and accessories, in fact everything that you need, including silk embroidery threads which I needed for my new hobby.

Past the milliners you will see the Truffle Market on the right and the magnificent Place de la Liberté with its Wednesday and Saturday markets.
 

Minus 5 degrees C

All I needed was a large St Barnard dog to come along with a barrel of cognac. What I got instead was the wonderful sight of three grazing Roe deer.

Roe deer are to be found in much of rural France. They are quite small 70cm tall and 130cm in length and are easily identified by the white fur on their rear. Only male Roe deer have antlers which are shed each year and grow back in winter.

The preferred habitat of the Roe deer is lightly wooded, forest land with plentiful hedgerows and open spaces to feed. Paul and I were travelling to Sarlat market when we spotted these three deer grazing in a field between the forest and road.

Roe Deer

In common with some other smaller mammals such as rabbit or mice, the Roe deer prefer to emerge at dawn and twilight to eat grass, berries and leaves. They also manage to eat their way through many garden plants from time to time.

Luckily we were the only traffic on the road and the deer were not spooked for a few minutes so we were able to stop and take these pictures.

Roe Deer Grazing

After a few moments of close scrutiny one made a dash but we did not hear the “barking” warning noise to the other deer to run for cover. In fact the one on the right had jumped into the next field before the other deer even looked up and realised that she was missing.

Winter frostI know these are not deer but the cows looked so wonderful against the frozen background.

A little warmer today -2 but feels like -3 and I am forcing myself to drink hot chocolate laced with cognac, delicious and warming. “another please Paul”.

Event:- Not to be missed is Sarlat Truffle Festival on the 14th and 15th January, try the truffle macaroons they are delicious.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

…everywhere you go.

Here are just a few of my favourite things in Sarlat. First of course is the Patisserie, Chocolater shop called Roland Mertz, which is to be found on Rue de la République in Sarlat. Everything that you want to eat or rather should not eat is here.
 

Patisserie Roland MertzMouth watering delicious display of everything naughty but nice for a Christmas treat.
 

Chocolate fixOur breakfast stop at the above shop, to indulge ourselves with steaming hot chocolate or coffee and pastries. I think that they may have made a slight mistake with mine, they served what seemed to be a soup bowel of hot chocolate. So warming and delicious.
 

Sarlat Tourisme OfficeSarlat Tourisme Office, seasonally decorated with festive window displays featuring Russian dolls
 

Red CarpetThe decorations on this shop are brilliant, with its own red carpet and it also has Russian dolls in the window.
 

Msocow this wayJust a few signs to let you know how far it is to Moscow, St Petersburg etc. and of course, the Christmas market
 

We will be posting our last blog before the Christmas break in a few days time.