Spain and France 2013 - Facts and Information
A week based in a very quiet hamlet above the Dordogne River
S of Potes
S Martín de Unx
S Maria de Eunate
Puente la Reina
Fab de Orbaitzeta
Monast de Irache
Foix and around
Camon & Puivert
To the Dordogne
W of Borrèze 1
W of Borrèze 2
Urval & Cadouin
Headed north into increasingly heavy rain but as it dried up we stopped at Castelnau-de-Montmiral an interesting bastide town only for the rain to start again. On then to our last base in the tiny hamlet of Pechmezel north of Borrèze.
Lovely day at last and we headed to Salignac, the nearest small town, which repaid a wander. Next to Saint-Geniès with its thriving little Sunday market (good cheese), pleasant church and amazing murals in Chapelle du Cheylard. After lunch to Saint-Amand-de-Coly, an attractive little village with one of the best fortified churches in the area, then to Vieux Saint-Crépin with a good church and pretty Château de Lacypierre. Quick look at Carlucet then home via Paulin with a good Romanesque church.
Nice morning and an early start to get to Rocamadour before the hordes. Path down from car parks was being repaired so we took the lift down. Whilst the setting is breathtaking we did not find the church inspiring although the streets were pleasant if a bit touristy. Next to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, a good fortified medieval town with a maze of narrow streets with C17th timber frame houses. Riverside views good. Finally to Carennac with good church, cloisters and interesting streets and buildings. It was getting late so the tourists had mainly gone and it was very peaceful.
Dull and dreary morning saw us in Urval, a tiny settlement with an impressive fortified church and an intriguing medieval communal oven complete with baker's house above it. Then to Cadouin, another pleasant village with nice buildings and an abbey which impresses from the outside but is rather plain inside. We arrived in Saint-Avit-Sénieur in heavy rain so had a little sleep in the car. The massive C12th abbey was fortified in the C14th and is interesting inside with some good wall paintings and a C9th font. Weather was improving when we arrived in Montferrand-du-Périgord with lovely old stone houses, many with towers. The main attraction (once we found it) was the Church of St Christopher in the Graveyard with good wall paintings. Then a little way to the east to Sainte-Croix, a tiny hamlet with a very good C12th church. Getting late when we called in at Monpazier, an English bastide town which has retained its layout and has a very pleasant square.
Dull again as we went to the honey-pot of Beynac-et-Cazenac. Village has little to offer, castle is impressive from the outside but very disappointing inside the buildings. Church (which we were lucky to get into for a few minutes) is impressive inside. Down the road to Saint-Cyprien, a very pleasant (even if the heavens did open) little town devoid of tourists and with a good church. A sudden improvement in the weather as we stopped for a while at La Roque-Gageac another honey-pot with a splendid setting but we didn't find much to interest us there. Driving home we passed through Carsac-Aillac and noticed that the newly restored Romanesque Église Saint-Caprais de Carsac was open. It is an amazing building inside and was well worth a stop. There is a good lavoir nearby.
Dull as we went to Belvès, a small market town delightfully free of tourists. A plan with an interesting town walk is available from the tourist office. After lunch to Villefranche-du-Périgord, a small bastide town with good buildings. Next well off the beaten track to Besse where the incredibly tall Église St-Martin has a superb west door and some interesting wall paintings. Finally to Prats-du-Périgord with the unusual Romanesque Église St-Maurice.
A nice morning as we headed for the Vézère Valley starting at Cabanes du Breuil, medieval drystone buildings which have somehow survived. Next to Maison Forte de Reignac an incredible cliff fort with a very good set of English notes to take round with you. After lunch to Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, a very attractive riverside village with its impressive Église St-Léonce, the remains of an C11th Benedictine priory which has good wall paintings.
Beginning to head for UK today. A lovely morning as we called at Martel, an attractive and bustling little town with its market in full swing (more good cheese). Interesting buildings, streets and church. Next to Collonges-la-Rouge, a real tourist trap but we managed to avoid the coach tour groups. Lovely red sandstone buildings, interesting streets and a good church. On to Turenne, dominated by its château, and with nice streets and buildings and a good church. As we were still only about 10 miles as the crow flies from our starting point it seemed a good idea to get on the motorway and head for Massay where we were to spend the night.
A lovely day as we stopped at Lavardin in the Loir valley, a pretty village where the C11th Église St-Genest has incredible wall paintings. A brief stop at Commanderie d’Arville which had been founded by the Templars in the C12th, interesting to see but not a lot there. On to Ouistreham (and its Normandie Wine Warehouse) to wait for the ferry to Portsmouth on a frustratingly fantastic evening.
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