This house sit is indeed special. Every day we explore the grounds and find more hidden corners and even a small chapel!
Junior the cat, still avoids her mother. Though she sits on our lap, likes to be stroked and feels safe in our presence!
The cleaning lady comes twice a week and we get french lessons from her. She just loves to talk and talks fast! On occasions we totally miss the conversation, but who cares!
We get our bread from the boulangerie (bakery) in Duravel. If the bakery is closing, they bring their ‘leftovers’ to the tobacco store. The last place where we would look for bread!
Even in winter time there is plenty to discover in the Lot and Dordogne region.
I am not really prepared for the cold weather, therefor we decide to go to Villeneuve-sur-Lot to buy some warmer clothes. We finally spend more time exploring this lively medieval city, instead of shopping! I do buy a nice warm coat. (No, no fur!)
Villeneuve-sur-Lot, founded in 1253, was once an important trading town. In former times, a fortified wall, six towers and eight gates surrounded the city. The Porte de Paris and the Porte de Pujols are still there. We admire some important landmarks; Le Pont Vieux (the old bridge), from the 13th century, Place Lafayette (where the open market takes place) and Notre-Dame du Bout du Pont Chapel, dedicated to the mariners. The remarkable red brick Sainte-Catherine Church was built in Romano-Byzantine style and finished in 1937. Somewhere in an old facade, we notice a huge picture of Brigit Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg.
In the Dordogne department we visit the 12th century Château de Biron. Once of important military significance and nowadays a popular tourist attraction. The Gontaut Biron family owned it for 24 generations, until 1978, when it was sold to the State. It consists of a diversity of buildings and normally it is open for the public, but not now in January!
Just outside the gates is a hamlet of a few very old houses and a church.
According to Biron’s legends, Charles de Biron was beheaded in the courtyard of the Bastille in the 17th century. He was suspected of plotting against King Henri IV!
The Komoot app shows us great hiking possibilities. We decide to undertake a diverse three hour walking tour in between two villages. Via a scenic drive over a curvy road, we arrive at Blanquefort-sur-Briolance. The surrounding fields and forests are still covered with a small layer of snow. This makes the trail very slippery and at some point I am stretched out in the mud! Also, nowhere a bench to rest and not one café open in the two small communities! Still, we fully enjoy the different loops through open fields, along small streams and dense forests.
Our winter stay in France is one to remember. Quiet roads, no busy marketplaces, no queues in the supermarket, at times pretty cold, but often with crystal clear skies! Above all, plenty of opportunities to enjoy the peaceful scenery, good food and great local wines!