After leaving Spain (the previous blog is here) we headed into France from the south west corner towards the general area of the Lot and Dordogne. It’s an area I’ve had holidays in for many years now and a part of France I’ll always be happy to return to. While there is plenty of wine (well grapes at least) in the lower areas of the rivers I personally prefer it when you move into areas that have some height in the landscape. We found a site quite near the old town of Sarlat and were delighted to find that you could look out of the motorhome window and see the Château at Beynac (strictly Beynac-et-Cazenac).
The walk into Beynac from the campsite was on paths and quite short so a couple of the days we were there we wandered in and looked around and had a coffee. I guess in the main season the village would be seething with tourists however in March it was pleasantly quiet though the weather was not always good. The views from the Château were great and you can look along the Dordogne to the east and the west. Indeed there are at least 3 or four châteaux within an easy walk along the river in this area.
We did take the motorhome into Sarlat on one of the days we were there (there was no public transport sadly) and found it easy to park at that time of the year. Again I imagine that the town – the old section of which is lovely – would be rather overcrowded in higher season. Getting back to the campsite we were treated to a good sunset around the Château. We certainly enjoyed our time there and, if not at that site, I’m sure we will be back in the Dordogne area again.
After this we were on the run back to Calais and stayed at one or two sites just overnight. However we did stop at one spot which we found interesting and that was a site in southern Normandy near the village of Le Bec-Hellouin. The campsite was a short walk through some woodlands from this pleasant and very old village. It is fair to say that there is not much other than a rather picturesque village there although a new cycle track has just opened than runs along the valley from there to Evereux. A little sadly there was some fairly major construction work going on in the village while we were there too so we probably didn’t see it at its best but it was a charming spot.
The other major feature of Le Bec-Hellouin is the old abbey of Bec Abbey. This dates back to 1034 however it was left in ruins after the French Revolution. It came into use again in 1948 and was worth a look around. As with so many of these ancient places there was a real feeling of tranquillity in the grounds. There are some ruins to see however mostly the abbey is fairly new. However the tower there is part of the remains of the medieval abbey. So from here it was back to the UK for now however the plan is to head off again so this blog should keep going for a bit.