Saturday, April 14, 2012

Domme, Sarlat and Chateau Beynac...on the Dordogne River

04/10, Tuesday
J&M have given us three destinations for today. They have replaced Sergio as our French travel advisors.

This region, Aquitaine, during WWII was part of the Resistance to Germany. Farther north, known as the Vichy Government, complied with the Nazis. Mom and I just read a novel, Sarah's Key, about the French police involvement in hunting and sending Jews to camps. The French citizens who resisted often migrated south to avoid complicity.

First stop, Domme, a nearby bastide on the Dordogne, a small village on the heights over the river. This town exhibits some of the resistance effort, and the public derision of the Nazi war. We walk on the ramparts to take in the views and then have lunch overlooking the valley. I again have cassolet and it is very good, but still not up to Matt's standards. Some of the cottages here are truly charming and it was fun walking around.

Onto Sarlat, a bigger town, also on the Dordogne River. There is a good walking tour of the sights and buildings and museums. It is a busy, vibrant town and the old town has been wonderfully restored. People seem very friendly and happy to be living there.

There are large fields of bright yellow flowers called Croules that we know as Canola. The flowers seeds are used to produce cooking oil. They are in bloom now, and will be harvested in the summer, the seeds dried and pressed for oil.

Returning toward home, our third stop is the Chateau Beynac near the village Roque Gageac. We walked to the highest tower for wonderful views of the Dordogne. This castle was used in making a French film about Joan of Arc. We are able to see several rooms, including a hall that is bigger than most homes.

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