Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Keys to the Castle - Day 16

Song - La Vie en Rose by Josephine Baker

The sleepy little town of Beynac

Hit the road early today to head over to the little town of Beynac-et-Cazenac.  We are heading to Richard the Lionheart's Castle!

We arrived before the castle was open so we had breakfast across the courtyard right after Mr. B pays for parking.

Let's head inside......

 Luckily our French guide had the keys to the castle!

But you had to leave your sword at the table and your crossbow was hoisted up on the ceiling.

The chapel on the grounds is high above the Dordogne River and the views were incredible.

When I see stone stairs this well worn, I think of all of the people who have walked them in the thousand years since this place was built.......what their lives were like......what they ate.......what were their beliefs.....happy?

From the fortress we look down on the rooftops of the town, the chapel and the river. Our tour guy was so animated and passionate about the castle that even though we could only understand a few words, he was great fun to watch! He made us walk up and down too many stairs and because of that.........

We stole his keys and locked him in the dungeon!!!

Next we head across the river to Castelnauld but decided we would both rather go to Josephine Baker's home - Chateau des Milandes. Admission to the estate includes headphones in English for your self guided tour.  The history of the flamboyant jazz singer is covered as well as her personal life.  First married at the age of 13, she went on to marry several more times while adopting 12 children from all over the world.

Unfortunately once inside I was not allowed to take any more photos but they did have many of her costumes well displayed including her famous banana skirt!

  Next stop is La Roque-Gageac for lunch along the river and "glaces" while strolling.

 We were headed up to this little chapel but because it was so hot out I asked Mr. B to see if he could find a road to drive us up there.


There was a parking spot right next to the building and just a walk past a cool fountain dripping off the hillside & through a rose covered arbor and we had arrived!

I have never seen Mr. B go to so many churches except when we travel! 

Heading back to Sarlat we stopped at a clothing store to purchase Mr. B some shorts and a cooler shirt.  He wasn't planning on it being so warm here. After a quick swim we walked through the town and did some shopping before dinner. I purchased a French nut cracker at a little shop.

Le Badaud Sculpture by Gerard Auliac

 We had drinks outside at Le Madeline then found the famous Goose statue as well as the sculpture Le Badaud "The Onlooker" because he watches out over the square.

And dinner was in a small courtyard at L'Entrepote!  Yummmm!!

Another fine meal in the beautiful village of Sarlat.

Tomorrow will be a long drive to Avignon.....

"Travel makes one modest, 
you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world."

--Gustave Flaubert

Friday, June 8, 2018

Hanging Jardins - Day 15

Song - The Garden by Carly Simon

On cliffs high over the Dordogne Valley sits a majestic garden which was built about 150 years ago.

The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac.....

Above is part of the lemon colored chateau and part of the boxwood garden.

There are over 150,000 boxwood plants and it's a topiary heaven!!!

Above is a little garden map of the areas around Marqueyssac and several trails to enjoy.

There are amazing views of the rich farm land surrounding it as well as the river below.

And there is a little chapel that was built near the beginning of your stroll.

There are several places to sit along the walkway.  
This one has a view of the little village of La Roque-Gageac tucked into the faraway hillside below.

There are two Bories within the park to find shade and take a rest.

For the kids there are two play areas and one is this mesh labyrinth up in the trees.

......and several calming waterfalls.

This building is the restaurant in the garden.  There is a family of peacocks that likes to hang out here. It was nice to sit outside and have a cold drink in the shade after the walk.

We decided to drive over to the village of Domme to eat lunch on the esplanade overlooking the valley.

Domme is classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France. It also sits on a hilltop with tremendous views below. 

And it overlooks the Dordogne River where we watched kayakers enjoying the slow moving river.

One of those hilltops near the middle is where we strolled through the gardens earlier in the day.

The lovely little village of La Roque-Gageac from Domme with their red rooftops!

We both enjoyed salads for lunch.....

After lunch we strolled around the village of Domme and discovered this little stone angel above the entrance to a church. 

The flags in front of the town hall window.

We spent the rest of the day poolside at our hotel in Sarlat.  As we strolled into town for dinner we noticed that it was very quiet.  Not many places were open as it was a Sunday.

But we found this little gem of a restaurant - Les Jardins d'Harmonie - on a little back alley.  It was filled with diners when we arrived about 8:30 but they found us a cozy spot in the courtyard for a delicious dinner!  The above photo was taken about 11:30 when most of the diners had strolled home!

"Remember that children, marriages, 
and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get."  

-- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Arc and Ark - Day 14

Song -The Long Road by Mark Knopfler

 We have a long day of driving ahead of us today from Chinon to Sarlat-la-Caneda which is about five hours.  Our first stop was Chateau du Rivau where Joan of Arc obtained her war horses in 1429.

And look who was there to greet me on the draw-bridge!  Mr. B !

 Can you believe how much wood they must of used to keep the chateau warm?  This one holds an entire tree!

 My very favorite statue of Joan of Arc lives here.  I am not sure who designed it but I so love the peaceful look on her face.

As we entered the courtyard there was an all white peacock who couldn't get enough of his own reflection while looking into a window.  He was so impressed with what he saw that he never put his plumage down for a second.  I have to say that he was rather impressive!

Drove through Richelieu which was a very cute town and square.  Our next stop was Saint-Savin for lunch and a peek at the Abbaye frescos.

 When I saw this view of the town I asked Mr. B to please turn around so I could take a photograph. He is so incredibly patient with me and my camera! Doesn't it look like a painting???

We had to find a place for lunch before 2 pm when most restaurants stop serving food.  We found a comfortable place outside in the square just across from the Abbaye.

 View of the church steeple from inside the Abbey through the old wavy glass window.

The Abbey of Saint-Savin  is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Abbey was founded in the early 800's by Charlemagne to house the bodies of two martyrs from the fifth century - Saint Savin and his brother Saint Cyprien. 

 When you step inside you are immediately struck by the brilliant frescoes on the ceiling depicting scenes from the Old Testament. They were added in the 1100's.

 Above is Noah's Ark

And this is the building of the Tower of Babel

In the 1800's the frescoes were lovingly restored as were the marble-like columns.

Drove past Limoges and finally got on a freeway to Sarlat.  We had a funky Best Western waiting for us there!  Sarlat is a popular place and we planned this trip rather suddenly so our options were limited because we wanted to stay within the town.

The only reason I call it "funky" was because the elevator only went up two stories and we had to lug all of our luggage up the last flight!

 Once we got settled we walked into town and had dinner in the square that the woman at the front desk recommended Le Regent.  It was a warm evening bathed in the golden light of the local stones. Sarlat also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Everyone was outside on this lovely evening - children were playing & tables from various cafes were spread along the cobblestone pedestrian street, live music was coming from a bar up a little side alley, older people were strolling with their dogs......and church bells would ring on the hour and half hour. 

And guess what?

No one had their cell phone out.....

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