Currently on detox following a week’s worth of Dordogne and Quercy cuisine (foie gras, cheese, smoked duck/goose, (OMG the) bread, walnuts and wine). On the one occasion where I ordered a beef dish, I immediately regretted it and despite walking several kilometers per day (sometimes almost vertically), I came home with an unwelcome 2 kilo souvenir.
During the mostly sunny days, and being the last week of the French vacances, we were surrounded by families enjoying the remaining days of their summer holidays and it was odd not to encounter at least a few landsmen, as the school year in Israel had already started. We toured picturesque villages, towns, castles, chateaus, gardens and caves, all within a 100 km radius of where we were staying in Sarlat-La-Canéda and Tour-de-Faure. (See the map below.)
Thankfully we were able to visit LascauxII (tickets sold only in nearby Montignac) and Gouffre de Padirac (no cave paintings, but fantastic rock formations and an underground river) without a prior reservation since we arrived there even before the box office opened. The biggest criticism we encountered of LascauxII was that is a replica of the now closed Lascaux caves, which for us did not detract from its fascination and beauty for a minute. We did make reservations for Pech Merle (both cave paintings and rock formations), but again if you arrive early enough you may not need to. By the time we left each, between 50 minutes to 1.5 hours later, the entry lines were quite long. However, if you are thinking of visiting Grotte de Font-de-Gaume, the only cave with original prehistoric polychromatic paintings that still allows a very limited number of visitors per day (200 in high season), make a reservation well in advance. There are 50 non-reserved tickets available each day in high season and the line for those starts forming at least 2 hours before opening, according to the woman at the box office.
We also had an unexpected glimpse of early autumn, as in the higher places the nights were cool enough to start turning some trees gold and red.
Just to make sure that we knew that we were back home, our flight landed at the end of a baggage handler’s strike. There’s nothing like walking into the luggage area at the airport and having the passport control person wish you “good luck,” at which point I couldn’t help but notice literally hundreds of people sitting on ubiquitous white plastic chairs waiting for their luggage. Two hours later, we were on our way home, luggage safely in the trunk, and already talking about our next trip.