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;-

 

 
 

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One of our dinosaurs is missing!

One of our dinosaurs is missing is what I was thinking when Paul and I went to Marqueyssac Gardens last week for their Grand 20th Anniversary open day. As garden ornaments go, having your own dinosaur is very OTT. Could we find a dinosaur… no… and we looked everywhere. I thought that it would be lurking behind one of the many high bushes in the garden, like the dinosaur that I remember in the Natural History Museum in London. I turned a corner in the museum to be face to face with a dinosaur. Lets just say that I was making more noise than the dinosaur exhibit.
 

The gardens are magnificentI must say that the gardens are magnificent, the views of the Dordogne valley are wonderful and well worth a visit or two.
 

rosemary in lavender.Above is a favourite on our walk through the gardens, the curling rosemary hedge in a bed of lavender.
 

Tree HouseThis is just one of the hands on displays that are new to Marqueyssac this year, the double tree house.
 

Play TimeAlong the “Esplanade” were new musical animations designed and constructed by Alfred de la Neuche for children of all ages to play with, (including myself).
 

Tree ClimbingWe were informed that we could have a go at shimmying up the ropes to the top of the tallest tree for a breath taking view over the valley, and even after reassurances that it was easy we said ‘no thank you, we will watch you’.
 

flowers and perfumeThis bicycle train looked like old style bird cages, they were full of flowers and perfume.
 

in the ChâteauI love this room in the Château from the wallpaper to the furniture gorgeous.
 

 peacockStill looking for “dino” we spotted this peacock, what magnificent plumage.

After looking everywhere Paul and I decided to ask in the gift shop. It turns out that we were too early for the unavailing of the dinosaur which would take place in the late afternoon.

An Allosaurus named KanThe above was as close as we came. No problem, we shall have another visit in a few months time to see a 7.5 metre long and 2.5 metres high, 150 million years old Allosaurus named Kan.
 

Other events at Marqueyssac will be the Great Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and Monday, where eggs will be hidden around the gardens.

Curious about Nature? Arts and Crafts workshops, creating animal masks, mobiles and dolls. During Easter and All Saints Day, plus every weekend during the school holidays in the months of May and June.
 
 

Grotte de Rouffignac

Situated below one of the highest plateaus in “Dark Perigord”, the Rouffignac Cave has been the home of bears and people since the Late Magdalenian about 13000 years ago.

The first thing that you see is a large cavern mouth which was originally explored in 1575 by Francois de Belleforest, it was known by the local people has “cluzeau”.

RouffignacThe cave grows larger when you pass through the entrance so there is no need to duck. One tip is to wear warm clothes on your visit, it is chilly inside.

It was not until 1956 when most of the drawings and bear scratch marks were discovered and recorded by L.R. Robert and L. Plassord. They found drawings of rhinoceros, horses, ibex, bison and mammoth as well as bear scratch marks on the walls leading to the “Great Ceiling” where they found the most detailed drawings of the above forenamed animals.

Inside the cave entrance there are two exhibitions, one displaying scenes from the cave walls and the other recordings of finding the art work in 1956. You can not take photographs inside the cave but you can buy reproductions, books, place mats etc. at the gift shop.
 
mammoth drawingsThis is the only cave in France which has mammoth drawings, on their own, in herds, some just quick sketches and some in detail, there are so many I lost count,
 
short legged horseA short legged horse with feathering effect for the mane and tail.
 
BisonBison with the artist signature of hands.

The visit is on board a small electric train, the journey gives you the feeling that you are descending back in time through the centuries past the “Bears dens” which are large hallows in the ground made by the bears going around and around in circles until they wore a depression comfortable enough to hibernate for the Winter months. Notice the stretch and scratch on the walls.

I must point out that bears lived in the cave centuries before humans, therefore they never met. Well, in this cave at least. It was several thousands of years later humans arrived in the caves. With only tallow lamps they explored the caves creating over two miles of art work in narrow constricted conditions. Using drawings or engravings the artists were able to use the caves to create outstanding artwork in such detail that you can see the animal features and fur. At the Great Ceiling the train stops allowing you to alight and investigate the artwork close up.
 

Les EyziesA sketch of “the Great Ceiling” that was drawn in 1982 by Claude Barrierre. It seems in a few places that the drawings were not up to the artists liking, so the artist drew over them, just like any artist would today.

The visit lasts approximately an hour, after the cold of the cave the sunshine was most welcome and a hot meal and drink in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac was great.

the Great CeilingThis is the famous statue by the museum of prehistory at Les Eyzies.

 

Montignac

On the D704, Montignac was once a busy river port that sits on the banks of the Vezere river, its wooden balconies reflect peacefully across the waters. Although feared for its ferocious counts in the Middle Ages, Montignac rose to fame in 1940, when a pit was discovered by some local boys and their dog. What they found was the nonpareil masterpiece of prehistoric cave paintings. The name of course was Lascaux.

Gorgeous examples of Medieval dwellings at the side of the river, which have been turned into restaurants and boutique shops.Medieval dwellings

All of the restaurants have outside space so that you can watch the river with its many ducks paddling by.watch the river

Flanagan’s Restaurant were Paul and I stopped for lunch.Flanagan’s Restaurant

I just had to take this picture of our desserts, delicious.delicious desserts

Events:-

Gastronomy and Taste Festival 26th and 27th September – Sarlat

Film Festival from 10th to the 14th November – Sarlat


Rouffignac

Rouffignac at Rouffignac-Saint-Cernin won’t be found in many of the local guide books, I do not know why! It is a hidden gem that is well worth a visit. The cave is about 50km North East of Bergerac not far form the Vézère Vallée.

Known as the “caves of mammoths”, because so many of its 250 engravings and line drawings of animals are of mammoths; with some drawings dated to about 14000 years old.

Paul just going into the cave
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There is a small gift shop at the entrance to the cave, information boards and pictures. The number of tickets is restricted so that you have to be there before 10.30 in July and August to buy a ticket for the same day. No reservations are available and you are not allowed to take photographs inside the cave, which is a pity.
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An electric train takes you on an hour-long tour of the caves (wear warm clothes, the temperature is about 13C but feels a lot colder)
Roufignac_train

The drawings are truly superb, not coloured but excellent representations of the mammoths and other animals which were roaming about the Perigord thousands of years ago.
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This line drawing is one of my particular favourites, so much detail, it is awesome.
Rouffignac

The Grotte de Rouffignac official website

The cave is at 4 km south of Rouffignac village along the D32.
GPS Latitude : 45° 00′ 26″ x Longitude : 0° 59′ 16″