May 31, Bergerac - Saint-Émilion

The ground was still wet and muddy but at least there was no standing water. We broke camp and went into Bergerac to stroll the old streets and visit the wine museum. The arches of the old bridge framed replicas of the famous flat bottom freight barges of Bergerac, now used for river tours. The blend of old and new Bergerac felt very different, more dynamic than the history centred “Plus Beaux Villages” we had visited. The town has adopted Cyrano de Bergerac as a native son (even though he never lived in Bergerac) and statues of him stood in a couple of public squares. At Place Mirpe a window in one building opposite the statue had a figure of Roxanne sitting and listening. Unfortunately, there was such a strong smell of dog feces that Sheila and I checked each other’s shoes to see if we had stepped in it. We had not, but the smell persisted, and I noticed at least six other people checking their shoes. Before going into town, I had checked for the location of Le Cyrano Restaurant, having pleasant memories of dinner with friends on a bicycle trip along the Dordogne and hoping to share with Sheila an excellent foie gras and the best Cognac I had ever tasted. Based on recent reviews, it was perhaps best that we did not find it open. I should have known better, it had been over 20 years ago and it had lost its Michelin rating. We tried to get coffee and croissant at a street side restaurant and were curtly told coffee yes, croissant no, croissant at the boulangerie. We did find coffee and pastries at as small shop and enjoyed a morning break. We left Bergerac for Saint-Emilion. The landscapes changed from the largely grain fields, orchards, and forest around Bergerac to predominantly vineyards and small woodlots around Saint-Émilion. It appeared as though vineyards were being consolidated, much as the family farms in North America had done, but the abandoned homes had more sense of abandoned grandeur. As lovely as it was, the drive became very frustrating. Kate, our SatNav, became erratic, shutting down and restarting when plugged in, refusing to retain way-points, and forgetting destinations. The last straw came when we encountered a series of road closures for a bicycle road race and our erratic SatNav proved not only irritating but virtually useless. We reached camp tired and irritable. Enough was enough and we used Kate a last time to find a Carrefour where we replaced her. Back at camp, Sheila returned from checking e-mail, relaxed and in a much better mood. Needless to say, this improved my mood as well. After dinner we strolled around the small lake in the centre of the campground and stopped at the camp restaurant for coffee and Capitane (apple sorbet, chantilly, and calvados). The Capitane was superb, the music enjoyable, and the evening a pleasant close to a rather frustrating day.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map
View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp.

May 31, Bergerac - Saint-Émilion

The ground was still wet and muddy but at least there was no standing water. We broke camp and went into Bergerac to stroll the old streets and visit the wine museum. The arches of the old bridge framed replicas of the famous flat bot- tom freight barges of Bergerac, now used for river tours. The blend of old and new Bergerac felt very different, more dynamic than the his- tory centred “Plus Beaux Villages” we had visited. The town has adopted Cyrano de Bergerac as a native son (even though he never lived in Bergerac) and statues of him stood in a couple of public squares. At Place Mirpe a window in one building opposite the statue had a figure of Roxanne sitting and listening. Unfortunately, there was such a strong smell of dog feces that Sheila and I checked each other’s shoes to see if we had stepped in it. We had not, but the smell per- sisted, and I noticed at least six other people checking their shoes. Before going into town, I had checked for the location of Le Cyrano Restaurant, having pleasant memories of dinner with friends on a bicycle trip along the Dordogne and hoping to share with Sheila an excellent foie gras and the best Cognac I had ever tasted. Based on recent reviews, it was perhaps best that we did not find it open. I should have known better, it had been over 20 years ago and it had lost its Michelin rating. We tried to get cof- fee and croissant at a street side res- taurant and were curtly told coffee yes, croissant no, croissant at the boulangerie. We did find coffee and pastries at as small shop and enjoyed a morning break. We left Bergerac for Saint-Emilion. The land- scapes changed from the largely grain fields, orchards, and forest around Ber- gerac to pre- dominantly vineyards and small woodlots around Saint-Émilion. It appeared as though vineyards were being consolidated, much as the family farms in North America had done, but the aban- doned homes had more sense of abandoned grandeur. As lovely as it was, the drive became very frustrating. Kate, our SatNav, became erratic, shutting down and restarting when plugged in, refusing to retain way- points, and forgetting destinations. The last straw came when we encountered a series of road closures for a bicycle road race and our erratic SatNav proved not only irritating but virtually useless. We reached camp tired and irritable. Enough was enough and we used Kate a last time to find a Carrefour where we replaced her. Back at camp, Sheila returned from checking e-mail, relaxed and in a much better mood. Needless to say, this improved my mood as well. After din- ner we strolled around the small lake in the centre of the campground and stopped at the camp restaurant for coffee and Capitane (apple sorbet, chantilly, and calvados). The Capitane was superb, the music enjoyable, and the even- ing a pleasant close to a rather frustrating day.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Route Map Route Map Slideshow Slideshow
View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp.