July 10, 2011
Our kids are really enjoying the place we're staying. They still have their rough moments - DD#2 is being especially demanding as I attempt to write this.
On Sunday, much of France shuts down. The stores and restaurants are mostly closed. Some touristy things are still open such as the Font de Gaume cave. We were lucky enough to have an English guided tour through the only cave in the world with prehistoric cave paintings which one can visit. They were all of bison, horses, and reindeer. They predict that they were 15,000 years old. Our guide was very passionate about the subject and made the experience very interesting. They only allow 200 people per day into the cave. They will likely cut back to 80 people soon and many predict it will be closed to the public forever at some point. Carbon dioxide and temperature variations damage the paintings.
Next we checked out the nearby La Roque St Christophe - a prehistoric and middle ages settlement formed into a natural rock shelter in a cliff. The kids enjoyed exploring the ancient rock formations. It's the largest natrual rock shelter in Europe. They predict around 1,000 people lived here! I think it must have been a unique living arrangement even in its time.
Here's a replica of what the village probably looked like:
The kids seemed particularly tired so we headed back for nap. DH gave me some lovely solo time to visit Beynac - a not-to-be-missed picturesque village. I drove the new car by myself and did just fine. Beynac was very pretty. It was a steep walk to the castle on top! Most things were closed, being Sunday, but I found a couple souvenirs near the top. Natrually I was low on cash (most places don't take CCs it seems) so I headed back to the bottom to the ATM and BACK up again. Good exercise for the day!
For dinner, we treated ourselves to the evening meal at our accommodation - Le Chevrefeuille. The owners are also accomplished chefs and put out quite a 5 course spread! It was particularly good because the kids could eat and go play with the other children while we lingered. It was and probably will be our most relaxing meal on our trip. We had duck on a mango/walnut salad, soup, cheese, tapenade, dessert. Tasty!
July 11, 2011
Our last day in the Dordogne region. I really think we got a feel for this region during our six night stay. I have been to several regions in France (many yet to be discovered) and found the Dordogne to be the most relaxed and casual. There are definitely fine-dining options everywhere but so are shorts, sandals, and just-went-swimming hair-dos.
We had an especially easy day. After a short run among sunflower fields, we enjoyed another lovely breakfast. I love the fresh fruit, muesli, yogurt combo!
We stopped for picnic supplies in St. Cyprien and also walked around the sleepy little town. Our big event for the day was a local waterpark - Parc de Loisirs. The kids were castle/caved-out and I think we all needed a mindless day jetting down waterslides and staying cool in near 90 degree temps.
DD#2 even tried one of these trampoline contraptions:
We came back, cooled off, and headed off to our third and final meal at La Merenda in Meyrals. It was just so convenient and nice to sit outside with a view of the countryside.
After quite a tantrum from DD#2 (I'm glad we're leaving tomorrow for that reason - it's embarrassing to show our face around this delightful B&B after that scream-fest), girls are sleeping before 10pm. A miracle. I do think we'll miss this beautiful place.
We're off to the Pyrenees tomorrow. It will likely be a 4-5 hour drive. Our stop is Argeles-Gazost near Lourdes. The main attraction is the Tour de France!