I don’t know about you, but do you sometimes set out on a destination only to find that there is something really interesting on the way there? I was heading in the direction of La Roque Gageac on the banks of the River Dordogne and as usual, I like to take the less travelled routes – minor roads, virtually no traffic, and always the thrill of what may be around the next bend. Good old GPS took me on the most beautiful lanes and thankfully no farm vehicles to contend with because to say that they were narrow would be an understatement!
So, when you drop down into the valley and take the next bend, you have to stop when you see this. It just calls out to be explored, doesn’t it?
This is the mediaeval fortress, Chateau de Castelnaud.
As you might guess, parking was at the bottom of the hill and obviously if I wanted to visit a climb was required. I wasn’t relishing it in 32c of heat and blazing sun, but off we set, Maggie helping to get me up the pathway. It was worth it I have to say. The little village of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle is really lovely as it tumbles from the chateau down to the river, and there are great views of the river and across to Beynac-et-Cazenac and the northern side of the River Dordogne.
But much more important things were on our minds. Lunch! It was really lovely to see places full and people enjoying meals out as a family. The tables were shuffled and re-shuffled to maintain the 1 metre distance rule to try every attempt to fit more people in…and why not? These small places rely on tourism and need as much custom as they can get if they are to survive. I for one was more than happy to stop and eat and support them.
Lunch stop in Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.
Of course, having had my fill of a superb simple lunch (plat du jour), dessert and drink all for 12 euros, I needed to walk it off. At least going down was a lot kinder than the climb up.
Onwards and over the river towards La Roque Gageac. Well, I was really taken aback at just how busy it was when I got there. La Roque Gageac has always been a firm favourite with tourists and I have to say that I wasn’t expecting it to be very busy at all. But it was as if someone had given away free tickets for the day! The river was a frenzy of canoes and gabarres (traditional cargo boats) ferrying visitors to see the sights, and swimmers took their chance alongside them.
La Roque Gageac.
I have to say that the water looked so inviting… I could happily have jumped in to cool off but it wasn’t to be, and besides, what would I do with Maggie? Honestly, a Labrador who doesn’t like water! 🙂