1- 4: our first 4 nights. We’ll be adding more details of our overnights later. Orange circle – our “Roquefort deviation” – never rely on a TomTom to find Roquefort cheese caves in France (which are down Montpellier way).
The past few days we have been making our way south through France towards Spain. Our first stop was near Uzerche in Corrèze (not all that far from home actually). We decided at that point to take a more inland route because the towns, mostly built into the rockface or on rocky outcrops, are so beautiful and so OLD. Not far away, in the caves of Lascaux, prehistoric painting were found by 4 young boys in 1940. They date back 18000 years. Lascaux 2 was opened in the 1980s – an exact replica of the original caves and drawings, using the same materials and techniques, to preserve the originals. The originals can’t be visited any more.
This is Uzerche..
Perigueux was an afternoon stop. We picked up maps and wifi in the tourist office, and watched 3 young teenage girls getting picked up by armed police for shoplifting. The town centre is one of the biggest urban conservation areas in France. A lot of the towns and villages in the area are on the ancient Pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and we are starting to see the scallop shell symbol on cobbled roads and buildings.
Limeuil in Perigord, listed as one of the “plus beaux villages” in France, sits where the Dordogne and Vézère rivers converge. It’s been inhabited for the last 20000 years, and in medieval times was a bustling harbour. It’s built on a rock with tiny cobbled streets which Adam and I had a wander round as it was getting dark. Luckily we saw the sign saying that campervans had to be left at the bottom of the hill. Which is where we spent the night.
The village is a great place to visit as a family – there are lots of signs and questions posted on the wall (in French, but most with some English too) explaining the history of the town and what would have been happening in the streets hundreds of years ago. It was a very prosperous and busy market town because of the harbour.
Perched at the top of Limeuil are the panoramic gardens. It’s Open Doors day this weekend in France (Journées des Patrimoines) where buildings or sites like these gardens are open free to the public. Some places which are never normally open to the public also give access. Like the caves where Roquefort cheeses are matured…. a story in itself….. we wanted to see the caves…….. the first time these particular ones have ever been open to the public….. but we didn’t realise quite how many Roqueforts there were in France or how far apart or how off route the TomTom could take us in our quest to find Roquefort cheese caves…..
Anyhow we never got to the Roquefort caves. But we did visit the Limeuil gardens. Worth it for the view. Again, the mayor of Limeuil has seen to it that they are well set up; Katie loved finding out about tinctorial plants and the boys about knots that were used to strap the cargo of Limeuil in days gone by.
But the best thing of all, the mayor in all his wisdom, made the sweetest wifi access point ever, free to those sitting in the lovely gardens in front of the Mairie.