Monday, June 1, 2015

Mini Cooper Road Trip Day One to Sarlat-la-Caneda

French village diaries Mini Cooper road trip Sarlat Dordogne fray
Sarlat-la-Caneda



Well first things first, we arrived warm and happy to a Sarlat that was glowing golden in the afternoon sun, Gizmo made it and all was well. We found the hotel with only one or two drive bys and eventually found somewhere to park. The room is a secluded garden annex in a property tucked away down a side street just outside the medieval centre. It is a lovely room and very quiet, although the hotel wifi isn't up to much.

We left home this morning when the sun was trying to break through the cloud and a bird pooped on my posh dress, hitting me right in the middle of left boob! Pierrette our neighbour laughed and said if it's on the left, it’s good luck, well I was happy with that. We took the back roads to Angouleme, then stopped for a picnic lunch in Brantome, a very pretty town just over the Poitou-Charentes border into the Perigord. The roadside verges were pretty with wild flowers and as it was a Sunday there were no trucks on the roads, but we saw plenty of caravans, camper vans and picnicking French families. I'm talking tablecloths, wine bottles, many courses and the time taken to enjoy a meal, even if it is at the side of a road. We made do with a baguette and some paté, but eaten by the river, just outside the busyness of Brantome. As today is Mother’s Day in France, the very posh restaurants were packed out. This year I remembered to pack my trusty picnic knife that I've taken everywhere on holiday for the last 18years, except last year, when it got left at home by mistake, a fatal error! I'm putting all my superstitious trust in the bird poop and picnic knife to give us good luck this year.

From Brantome we drove through real Dordogne countryside. The colours changed, the roof lines changed and the amount of towers, turrets and chateaux increased. It was very beautiful, but every time we tried to stop to take a photo, stretch our legs or eat our patisserie, we failed. The villages of St Cyprien, Baynac, La Roque-Gageac were undoubtedly beautiful, but the car parks were full to bursting and the charges would have made us think twice even if we had found a space. We eventually found a quiet spot overlooking the fast flowing Dordogne river and indulged in a Paris-Brest and an éclair au café bought in our village boulangerie this morning. They were delicious and more so for being eaten in the sun and on holiday. The afternoon was tinted yellow, by the sun, the crops in the fields and the sandstone buildings that were glowing in the sunlight. Sarlat is beautiful, we found a bar with a table in the sun and indulged in an early apero of beer for Ade and local Walnut wine for me. Dinner will be taken in the medieval city and I can't wait.