Thursday, 22 September 2016

The magical Dordogne

The night that we spent in Neuf Brisach was a real test for our new tent. And for all of us as well. Now we know that:
  • the tent copes well with (really!) heavy rainfall
  • the kids can sleep through a thunderstorm nearby (well, frankly speaking, France decided to show us that they can sleep in (ubearably) loud noise more than once. But more on that some other time).

The day turned out to be relatively short. It started slow and our only goal was to get as close to our French destination as possible. We ended up spending the night in Clermont-Ferrand.

On the third day of our #Eurotrip2016, we finally got to the place I wanted to visit since I first saw the pictures of it. So, more or less, for a year now. Not long, I know. But since it was on our way anyway, we just couldn't miss it. Ok, so what kind of mysterious place am I talking about? I'm talking about Dordogne. And, more precisely, La Roque Gageac.

We got to the campsite early enough to eat dinner, see the village and have a swim in the onsite swimming pool. You can also swim in the river, but we didn't try that.

Our campsite wasn't exactly in La Roque Gageac, so we had to get there by car. The other option was kayaking from our campsite, but we couldn't do it for two reasons. First, they didn't let our daughter on the kayak cause she was too small. And second, it was already too late to kayak to La Roque Gageac anyway. So car was our only option.

Finding a free parking spot wasn't an easy peasy thing, but it was doable. We left the car to take a walk along the river and the main (and only?) street of the village.

There is an option of buying tickets for a boat tour on the river (tickets were already sold out for that day) or renting a kayak to see the village from the water (we didn't even try that, cause we didn't want to raise kids' hope again just to hear that Paulinka is too small). The view from the water is stunning, though. So, if you have the option, don't think twice, just do it.

Instead, we decided to walk the narrow paths leading a little bit up the hill, in between the buildings and away from the most crowded main street. The narrow streets, the light brown buildings in the colour of the surrounding rocks, the green vines and other plants - all that create a unique atmosphere of the place. They made our walk as pleasant to the eye as it could probably be.

At one point we saw a sign leading to a viewpoint. There was nothing else to do, obviously, but to follow the sign. We walked past the gate to the Secret Garden. I'm pretty sure it was the right one, even though not in England. We just didn't meet any birds that could show us where to find the key. We also walked by some old (historic?) buildings. And in the shadow, which was a fringe benefit, but an important and desired one.

When we got to the viewpoint (ok, we might not have actually got to the viewpoint precisely, but close enough), I saw it. It was there. Waiting for me. (Almost) the view that I fell in love with a year ago and wanted to see with my own eyes. And I wasn't disappointed. Which is saying a lot itself.

We couldn't spend more time in the area to explore it further. And, most likely, it wouldn't have been time wasted. But France wasn't our holiday destination (did we actually have any?) this year. Rather a stop on the way. A short one.

Already on the way to La Roque Gageac we saw so many castles and fortresses sticking out of the forests on the hills over River Dordogne. And the same on the way out. La Roque Gageac definitely is not the only charming village in the area. And we will most likely come back one day to explore it a little more. The castles, the river, the gardens, the caves, the villages, the views. All of that.

Have you ever visited Dordogne? 
What would you recommend in the area?



  1. Never been to that area of France but I love the medieval architecture!

  2. this looks amazing! We lived in Paris for 3 years and although we traveled a lot around Europe we didn't see a whole lot of France. Now I wish we did more... does seem quite magical. It always amazes me how human bieng manage to settle and build up in some unforgiving and difficult planes... like the side of a cliff! #wanderfulwednesday