May 26-27,  Moissac - Domme

Another cold, wet, muddy day in camp, perfect for doing laundry ($20 for one load!!!!) and finishing off pictures and emails for Portugal and Spain. As comfortable and well designed as the van is and as efficient as the furnace is, it becomes a little tedious when confined to it by heavy rain and surrounded by shallow pools and muddy ground. We left our now less than idyllic camp under overcast and threatening skies and headed north to the Dordogne River. The quiet country roads passed by orchards, grain fields, wood lots, rustic farm yards and rural churches, and through small towns. The drive was unspectacular but the largely rural landscape was pleasant and the mix of cloud, sunny periods, showers and heavy rain added variety. The rolling, swaying, and surprisingly spritely progress of a vintage Citroën  Deux Cheveaux as we followed it on a narrow winding rural road mesmerized us for kilometres as we wove our way through forest and field on route to our campsite on the Dordogne River. We were into camp early and set off to explore the medieval hilltop bastide of Domme. The tourist train shuttling people from parking lot to bastide and back was a little unsettling, but we dutifully climbed to the eastern gate and into the old town. Once through the Gothic arched gate, we were greeted by a medieval suit of armour advertising the Pizzeria des Templiers. It was not tourist season or the weekend, but most people on the streets were tourists. The medieval streets and buildings were right out of the movies, but tourist shops, bars, and restaurants were everywhere and prices were exorbitant. The hilltop terraces provided spectacular views of the Dordogne river winding its way lazily through the fields and woodlots of the valley. Paddlers in their bright yellow, molded-plastic canoes and kayaks paddled under the stone arches of a distant bridge, and elegant châteaux and homes were scattered among the hills across the valley. We managed to find a small shop on the edge of town where we had ice-cream and coffee at 1/3 the price near the main attractions. That evening, Sheila was looking at some tourist brochures and told me that there were "pluboe" villages in the area and that she might like to see one. It took a while but I eventually understood her to be saying "plus beaux" (most beautiful). The tourist bureau came up with the concept of designating villages of exceptional interest as "Plus Beaux Villages" or less exceptional but still significant villages as Villages de Charme (charming villages) and had listed them in a brochure. It was then that we realized that Lauzerte and Domme had been so designated.
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
An estate at the edge of Touffailles View across the Tarn from camp.

May 26-27,  Moissac - Domme

Another cold, wet, muddy day in camp, perfect for doing laundry ($20 for one load!!!!) and fin- ishing off pictures and emails for Portugal and Spain. As comfortable and well designed as the van is and as efficient as the furnace is, it becomes a little tedious when confined to it by heavy rain and surrounded by shallow pools and muddy ground. We left our now less than idyllic camp under overcast and threatening skies and headed north to the Dordogne River. The quiet coun- try roads passed by orchards, grain fields, wood lots, rustic farm yards and rural churches, and through small towns. The drive was unspec- tacular but the largely rural landscape was pleasant and the mix of cloud, sunny periods, showers and heavy rain added variety. The rolling, swaying, and surprisingly spritely progress of a vintage Citroën  Deux Cheveaux as we fol- lowed it on a nar- row wind- ing rural road mesmerized us for kilometres as we wove our way through forest and field on route to our campsite on the Dordogne River. We were into camp early and set off to explore the medieval hilltop bastide of Domme. The tourist train shuttling people from parking lot to bastide and back was a little unset- tling, but we dutifully climbed to the eastern gate and into the old town. Once through the Gothic arched gate, we were greeted by a medieval suit of armour advertising the Pizzeria des Templiers. It was not tourist season or the weekend, but most people on the streets were tourists. The medieval streets and buildings were right out of the movies, but tourist shops, bars, and res- taurants were everywhere and prices were exorbitant. The hilltop terraces provided spectacular views of the Dordogne river winding its way lazily through the fields and woodlots of the valley. Paddlers in their bright yellow, molded- plastic canoes and kayaks paddled under the stone arches of a distant bridge, and eleg- ant châteaux and homes were scattered among the hills across the valley. We managed to find a small shop on the edge of town where we had ice- cream and coffee at 1/3 the price near the main attractions. That evening, Sheila was looking at some tourist brochures and told me that there were "pluboe" villages in the area and that she might like to see one. It took a while but I eventually understood her to be saying "plus beaux" (most beautiful). The tourist bureau came up with the concept of designating villages of excep- tional interest as "Plus Beaux Villages" or less exceptional but still significant villages as Vil- lages de Charme (charming villages) and had listed them in a brochure. It was then that we realized that Lauzerte and Domme had been so designated.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Route Map Route Map Slideshow Slideshow
An estate at the edge of Touffailles