EXPLORING THE ROLLING HILLS, CHATEAUX AND PREHISTORIC CAVES OF DORDOGNE

DORDOGNE | FRANCE

[DORDOGNE & PERIGORD, FRANCE] — It has been since high school I’ve wanted to see this exact spot. Madame Zemkuznekov’s High School French Class, to be exact.

She was super hot, no doubt made hotter because she was probably the first non-nun (or non-former-nun) teacher we had. And in an all-boys school, at that. She had us all at “Bonjour” (and the sexy way she wore linen). Her French class was the only class in school that was absolutely pin-quiet. All 44 of us big-nosed and pimpled boys rapt with attention, hanging on every Imparfait thing she’d say, because she was… plus-perfect.

Anyway, back to the video below. It started out as a picture in our French text book, a prominent chapter page, I think. I didn’t pay that much attention to the other textbook photos — of Paris newspaper stands, or the goofy cool Citroëns, or toothless farmers in their blue berets.

It was this chateau that had me daydreaming, everyday, to find out where this was and come here one day.   And so that’s why I was here. In the Périgord. Or Dordogne… still a little fuzzy on which is which, because they are often used interchangeable.

Been to Paris a dozen times, the Cote d’Azur and Provence about as much. But never had a chance to come here, these lush green valleys and lazy dark rivers.   Found out this is actually a hotel, one of the fanciest in France, which made me giddy to stay in something so memorable and cool. Tried to book, but they were long bedded-up. But it was just as good to have a picnic across the way. Staring and chewing, silently practicing the tenses in my head.. all these years later. And yet still today, none of it sticks…😩

 

 

Driving out of Moltig-les-Bains in the southwest of France, you hook a left at Perpignan and boogie north. Perpignan is kinda the big toe of France and has just the cutest, swooning-sounding name when French women say it. They kinda whisper it.😳

We’re heading North… on the interior of the Bordeaux coast where the rivers run smooth and black, the truffles grow like kids and cavemen lived in… caves…

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You’ll definitely want the music on when you watch this video:

 

You don’t read much about Dordogne in the U.S. travel press. But the French know about it, almost keep it all to themselves. But the British found it long ago, in fact, this was one of the great battlegrounds of the Hundred Year’s War between the nobles of France and England.  Now wealthy Brits have snapped up a lot of the incredible houses and chateaus.

But I just want to give you a taste of what it looks, feels and tastes like.  I was on a random two-month drive through France, seeking out long-remembered places I’ve always seen (often in my French texts) but never had a chance to visit. Click on a pick below and you can follow along. More resources at the bottom.

 

 

Here are some resource articles. A great snap on Dordogne in Conde Nast Traveller, the UK edition.A perfect overview of the Dordogne in the NYTimes.  A great survey on the Dordogne from the always awesome Scott Dunn webpage. A great Pinterest page with pics better than mine. And a great compendium survey of the Dordogne thanks to Travel & Leisure. A great T&L article on the epicurean gems in the Dordogne. Another good article from T&L on the Dordogne.

Last visited June 2015. 

 

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