Category Archives: Photography

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle is practically a clone of Beynac-et-Cazenac – a riverside village running up the steep hill with an imposing castle as the crown. In fact, the château is said to have been erected specifically for the purposes of rivaling Château de Beynac. The village holds membership in the Prettiest Villages in France association, but somehow

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Château des Milandes

Once you’ve been to a certain number of castles, you begin to realize that aside from architectural grandiosity the ones that leave the most lasting impression are those that look livable. No matter the historical significance or the commanding position, barren walls and a sense of abandonment will render any castle a little more than

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Belvès

Belvès is the largest of all Les Plus Beaux Villages de France in Dordogne, counting nearly 1,500 residents. We started hitting the point of diminishing returns when we visited here, as the village would surely impressed us more if we had not seen close to a dozen other places on this trip already. Although located

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Périgueux

Périgueux is the capital of Dordogne and of the historic province that preceded it, Périgord. It is by some distance the largest town in the region, and out appreciation of it suffered for that. The central part of Périgueux – historically called Puy-St-Front district – is attractive enough, but the town is too big to

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Limeuil

Our next entrant on the list of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France was Limeuil, which occupies strategic heights at the juncture of Dordogne and Vézère rivers. The best view of the village is from the bridge over Dordogne. Limestone deposits and silt give Vézère waters their yellow color, while Dordogne is mostly blue. In

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Monpazier

Monpazier was probably our favorite village of all that we visited in Dordogne. There is something about a neat bastide (a fortified village) that we find especially attractive. They are always colorful and pleasing to the eye, even under the rainy skies. The grid plan of the bastide means that there are several streets running north-south

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Saint-Amand-de-Coly

It is probably obvious to anyone by now that our Dordogne itinerary was heavily influenced by the list of the Prettiest Villages in France. Dordogne department has 10 of them, the most of all departments in the country. I admittedly subscribe to the notion that existence of a formal recognition of any kind makes seeing

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Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère

In between exploring prehistoric caves, we made a lunchtime stop in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, another of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. The little village has about the same population as La Roque-Gageac, but its more “huddled together” topology makes it feel smaller. Its highlights are the 12th-century Romanesque church, a couple of watchtowers at the

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Domme

Domme is the quintessential hilltop village, sitting 250 meters above the river Dordogne. Its elevation gives it a sometime moniker of the Acropolis of Périgord (the latter being the natural region roughly corresponding to the present Dordogne department, so the two names can be almost used interchangeably). A bigger village than Beynac-et-Cazenac or La Roque-Gageac,

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La Roque-Gageac

We have already had glimpses of La Roque-Gageac in a couple of recent posts. The small village nestling under imposing rocks along the bank of Dordogne river has got to be considered picturesque even by the elevated standards of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Here is another look at it from the Belvedere of

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Jardins de Marqueyssac

Château de Marqueyssac is likely part of the quintet that gives “the valley of five castles” its moniker – it has a commanding position on top of a hill overlooking the river Dordogne. But the castle itself is not the main event on its own grounds. In fact, almost no one makes an effort to

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Beynac-et-Cazenac

Driving along the banks of river Dordogne, it is impossible to miss Château de Beynac. From its perch atop one of the highest hills in the area it presides over the stretch known as “the valley of the five castles”. Here is the main road approach view. And a longer focal-length shot from the same

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Sarlat-la-Canéda

We started our exploration of Dordogne with one of the larger destinations in the area, Sarlat-la-Canéda, or simply Sarlat. Its charming medieval core is a maze of honey-colored buildings, narrow streets and passages, and hidden squares. The most photogenic views, as is frequently the case, are found on the few wider spaces, such as Place

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A postcard from Vernazza

For me, Vernazza is the most beautiful of the five villages that comprise the incomparable Cinque Terre. It could be because Vernazza was our base when we explored the coast and, subsequently, we got acquainted with it to a larger degree than with any of the other villages. Or it could be because its topology

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A postcard from Zurich

This is one of my favorite pictures from the simpler times when I traveled with a pocket-size point-and-shoot camera. The setting is the banks of the river Limmat near the mouth of Lake Zurich, with the twin towers of Grossmünster providing a recognizable point of reference. Zurich is a nice enough town that is short on

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A few more glimpses of Scotland

While criss-crossing parts of Scotland in search of not yet tasted whisky, we occasionally stopped to admire the surroundings. Here is a collection of glimpses. The first shot can be filed in “in the middle of nowhere” category, but I can very definitively place it in the hamlet of Carbeth, in Stirlingshire. It pays to

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