Down Home in the Dordogne

Exiting the interstate into the Dordogne after almost six hours on the interstate was arresting. How does any country manage to hide its beauty to interstate travelers? No sooner had we wound the first bend, than this incredible region began to unveil its beauty to us. Arriving at just that gloaming moment when the sun is at its most dramatic angle and the shadows are their strongest was visual ecstasy. Red rock cliffs, verdant meadows and deep wooded hills cascading to the wide river Dordogne was a mere prelude. Golden stone houses with stout tile-roofed square towers glistened in the day’s-end sun punctuating every twist and turn in the road. Mouths gaping, Griffin and I began realizing what a painter’s bonanza we had entered.

The approach to Carlux was nothing more than shocking. Although a village of some mere six hundred people, as we got nearer, ancient fortifications of medieval wealth loomed over the edge of the town, just above what was to be our little house for a week. Our ex-pat English landlady popped around the corner of the boulangerie moments after making a quick phone call to walk us to her house. Having procured some staples for the week and being put in the “know” of where to get what, we’re now in the garden, munching smoked chicken and taboulie while Griffin draws and I write. Now that the ancient church bells have struck eight, the only sound we hear are birds, a few lazy flies and late shift bees buzzing in the waist-high lavender.

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