October 03, 2010

The Dordogne in Aquitaine, France

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of our days in the Dordogne.

Gerard and Karin Muguet
IMG_1399: Gerard and Karin Muguet
Mathis, Jean-Marc, Peran and Juliette
IMG_1489: Mathis, Jean-Marc, Peran and Juliette

On Saturday the 25th of September, I drove all day south to a small village in the Dordogne region of the Aquitaine, France. We did not take the many of the motorways, because most of them are toll roads with exorbitant tolls of about 16 cents (USD) per mile. We noted that all the southern European countries have toll roads. Something hard for us to understand with gas costing about $7 per gallon. The drive was hectic as our GPS was not always working and the traffic in Paris was horrible.

We went to our couchsurfing hosts in Montignac. They were Gerard and Karin Muguet. They were a fascinating couple. Both are about our age, they are Tibetan Buddhists. They are vegetarians. He is an extremely accomplish artist and graphic designer. We got a chance to meet their granddaughter Kim on the night of our arrival. They were very helpful in helping to plan our daily excursions in the the Dordogne. We shared many a meal with them and we drank a box of the excellent Bergerac wine with them.

Betty has long wanted to visit the most beautiful villages in France. During our visit to this region we saw more than a dozen midieval villages. Most of them were built between the year 1000 and 1300 with various improvements after that. It was interesting to learn the history of the area, especially the role of the English. They controlled the area for hundreds of years and fought an ongoing war with the French over it. After the French finally won out, religous wars ensued between the protestants and catholics. Despite all the wars, people here seemed to prosper; probably due to the rich agricultural land and the numerous rivers. You will have to look at all the photos that I posted at my Flickr photostream to get a sense of how beautiful they were. I will try to name them now: St. Amand de Coly, St. Genie, Sarlat, Domme, La Rouque-Gageac, Beynac, Saint Leon-sur-Vezere, Limeuil, Belves, Monpazier, Fanlac, Souillac, Cadouin, Beaumont du Perigord, Bergerac, Perigueux, Bourdeilles, Brantome and Saint Jean de Cole.

We moved to a suburb of Perigueux on Thursday. We stayed with another wonderful couchsurfing host family, Jean-Marc and Juliette Lagniel. They too are graphic artists. They have two boys: Peran (age 13) and Mathis (age 11). They were wonderful to us. We shared three wonderful meals with them, the last being the typical Aquitaine duck with chestnuts.

Today we drove to Biarritz on the southwest coast of France. The wind was blowing hard. Still it is a beautiful place. There were many people surfing in the thunderous waves.

Tomorrow we will check out two more towns: Bayonne and St. Jean de Luz. You will be able to find photos in the Aquitaine set on my flickr photostream.

Tomorrow night we will be in the Spain, somewhere in or near Bilbao. I will try to post another entry in a week or so.

Chateau de Beynac
IMG_1327: Chateau de Beynac

Posted by bill at October 3, 2010 02:50 PM