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Category: Europe: France

Monpazier

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…

Saint-Amand-de-Coly

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…

Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère

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…

Domme

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…

La Roque-Gageac

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…

Jardins de Marqueyssac

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…

Beynac-et-Cazenac

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…

Sarlat-la-Canéda

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…

Chasing World Heritage: #106 (Albi)

Chasing World Heritage: #105 (Albi)

Albi, in the southern France region of Occitanie, is hailed on the World Heritage list as a complete ensemble of urban development dating from the Middle Ages. The height of town’s prosperity and importance falls on the later part of the 13th century, when a powerful local bishop built Palais…

Grotte des Grandes Canalettes

Grotte des Grandes Canalettes

Just five minutes of walking from the walls of Villefranche-de-Conflent is one of the most impressive cave complexes I have ever seen. Grotte des Grandes Canalettes is a series of caves full of fantastic calcium and stone formations, with thousands of stalactites and stalagmites reaching for each other from above…

Chasing World Heritage: #97 (Carcassonne)

Chasing World Heritage: #96 (Carcassonne)

French town of Carcassonne, a little bit over an hour from the Spanish Catalan border, is fairly laconically recognized on the World Heritage list as an excellent example of a medieval fortified town. It truly is very impressive in this aspect and we took a day on our recent stay…

A place in my memory: Montresor

A place in my memory: Montresor

One of my weaknesses as a photographer is a healthy level of attraction to things grand and significant. That’s not to say that I only take pictures of important landmarks, but I tend to favor compositions that include eye-catching achitecture over those that include only fragments or nothing singularly remarkable.…