The next post will be about the place where we stayed and our charming hosts - quite possibly the best holiday hospitality I can remember, and not a bad location!
Wednesday 26 July
We stayed overnight at the nearby Novotel, a decent hotel. Before dinner we crossed the road and had a wander through the airport. It felt a bit tired to us but it's an airport, so what were we expecting? It was busy enough but not overly so. We toyed with the idea of having dinner there but decided against it. The same old fast food menus at very high prices for what was on offer. Captive audiences are easy to fleece. So, back to the hotel for drinks and dinner. They weren't cheap either but at least the surroundings were more pleasant and more comfortable.
Thursday 27 July 2017
Flying out on a Flybe flight on time and no problems. Stretched to a £2.50 cup of tea each. For once, when the Captain addressed us on the tannoy, it was loud and clear and not the fuzzy garble we usually hear. Towards the end of the flight, a cabin crew member reeled off some message or other at breakneck speed, crashing the words into a load of old unintelligible nonsense. We arrived at Bergerac Airport and zigzagged our way to passport control and onward to baggage reclaim. Avis car rental was fine, although in this age of technology and pre-booking online, there is still a bit of a paperwork palaver involved.
Soon on the road, about half an hour to our accommodation, La Maison Forte, Montaut, but more of that in the next blog post. We checked in and followed the advice of one of our hosts and headed for nearby Issigeach for lunch at a bistro, La P'tite Treille - bier blanche, ham and cheese galette (moi) and Perrier, quiche and quiche (ma femme).
My wife prefers to drive, so that's good for me in the drinks department but not so good for her. She is not a great passenger. But it all works out in the end. After lunch, it's on to Monbazillac to see the chateau and what a wonderful location it is. The sunny weather helped, of course. The chateau is big enough to walk around but not so big as to be exhausting. It dates back to the Middle Ages. It is currently owned and managed by the wine cooperative of Monbazillac and at the end of the tour there is a gift shop mainly devoted to its famous sweet white wine - too sweet for my taste but a good number of people were buying it. A memorable trip nonetheless.
Back at La Maison Forte - remember more about that in the next blog post - for a magnificent buffet prepared and served by our amazing hosts. I think everyone staying that night had booked dinner, so we were able to mingle and converse a little on the beautiful terrace. First day, a huge success.
Friday 28 July 2017
Off we drove to the town of Bergerac, or more properly the commune, by the Dordogne river. It's a busy tourist town with museums, including one devoted to tobacco. The Notre Dame church is a major feature (in fact just about every city or town or commune we visited, there was an impressive church).
There are two statues of Cyrano de Bergerac, writer and more, although there is no evidence that he ever lived in Bergerac.
Lunch was Bier, carbonara (moi) and Perrier, omelette and frites (ma femme). In the evening we dined in Issigeach at Chez Alain, a decent restaurant with a limited menu. We both had the lamb followed by chocolate fondue. A great day again, blessed by dry weather and much history and scenery to absorb.
Saturday 29 July 2017
We visited the charming medieval village of Beaumont in the morning for this day was the main reason we came to France in the first place - a wedding. Beaumont was a delight for wandering around narrow streets and admiring its gothic church. Coffee was good and all around us a relaxed atmosphere as locals and tourists took it easy either shopping or just enjoying the sights.
The main focus of the holiday was the wedding of Paul and Emilia. Paul is the son of my wife's longstanding friend Cathy. It was a spectacular wedding on a private estate on a blistering hot day and a good time was had by all. We met Ian and Victoria Hislop, guests of the bride's mother, and what splendid, entertaining company they were.
We stayed until 3 August but rather than drone on about the holiday (anyway, I haven't much time to describe it all), here are some photographs of some of the places visited. A lot of wonderful olde worlde towns, many a chateau, castle and church, great food and wine, with the odd glass of chilled beer.
Au revoir et merci!