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On Crete

On Crete

Crete is a huge island, impossible to cover in much detail in less than a week’s time. We did not attempt anything of the kind. Our time on Crete was planned with a slant towards beach-going, with only a few of hours of sightseeing on any given day (including a…

Heraklion

Heraklion

The capital of Crete does not offer much in terms of must-see sights (Knossos Palace, by any measure near the top of the list of Crete attractions, has the name of Heraklion region in its address and is located a few minutes’ drive beyond the city boundaries). We budgeted only a couple…

Crete: Minoan Palaces

Crete: Minoan Palaces

In our two-plus weeks in Greece this past summer, we have purposefully visited 8 archaeological sites and probably saw just as many in passing. That should not be surprising to anyone, as there are few countries in the world as firmly associated with ancient civilizations as Greece. Crete was the…

Sunrise on Crete

Sunrise on Crete

You may have seen this view before, as my lovely spouse, who is significantly more active on social media than yours truly, posted her versions literally as the sun was still coming up. Me, I had to follow my usual process of deliberate cull and development, delaying this post by…

France wrap-up

France wrap-up

I have now reached the end of photographic narrative for our springtime trip to the French department of Dordogne and then to Paris. For those who are interested, a couple of Flickr albums have been created to consolidate the pictures from the trip, including some that I did not pick…

Paris, again

Paris, again

One of my favorite movie quotes comes from Woody Allen’s ode to the French capital: That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me. Which is a bit ironic, because as much as we love Paris, we happen…

A few more from Dordogne

A few more from Dordogne

As we are leaving Dordogne, let’s take a look at a small selection of photographs that did not have enough collective mass to support a featured essay. Actually, I might be doing Domain de Monrecour an injustice by saying that. This fantastic hotel is anchored by an eye-catching landmark of…

St-Jean-de-Côle

Saint-Jean-de-Côle

There are 10 Les Plus Beaux Villages de France in Dordogne, more than in any other French department. We have already seen 9. The persistent drizzle that accompanied our stop in Brantôme at the start of our last day in Dordogne kept telling us to wrap it up and drive…

Brantôme

Brantôme

The historical province of Périgord, which roughly corresponds to the modern Dordogne department, is informally divided into 4 “colors”. Our base was in the southeastern Black Périgord, where the flow of the Dordogne river is the most picturesque, and the places like Sarlat, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Belvès, and others are…

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle

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…

Château des Milandes

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…

Belvès

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…

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…

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…

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…

Back from Greece

The quirks of family vacation planning this year conspired to put two amazing trips within a short interval of each other. Less than 4 weeks after returning from France, we went to tour Greece. Going to the country that we have never been to before, we tried to balance our…

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…