“It was a Saturday evening in Mid March when we arrived at Les Chouettes ( The French Country Cottage) in the beautiful Dordogne valley. It was our second visit to this beautifully renovated old stone cottage but this time we had asked a friend to join us as we wanted her to share the magic. It glowed golden in the late afternoon sunshine and the blue shutters , red roses and wisteria completed the scene.
The cottage is beautifully appointed and decorated luxuriously and tastefully. There are four lovely bedrooms sleeping two in each and a room with a sleeper couch if necessary . There is a bathroom upstairs and one downstairs . The lounge is most attractive with doors opening onto a shaded patio leading to a large swimming pool. The cottage is fully equipped with all the mod cons and conveniences..
We had been delighted by our first visit in winter and found the days lovely and exhilarating and now we were surrounded by the French countryside in spring in all its floral glory. Deep blue irises were clumped along the roadside as was the Queen Anne’s lace ,red poppies and purple lilacs ,tamarisks and wisteria draping the buildings.
One is surrounded by ancient history in this area and we spent our days visiting charming villages and markets . There is a list of these at the cottage so that one can experience the local delights on offer at these markets . Issigeac has a stunning market which at this time of the year had an abundance of bouquets of artichokes ,succulent asparagus,duck,cheeses,olives wines and pâtés to buy and to sample . We enjoy self catering as we get to shop at the markets and interact with the stall holders . Lalinde has a well stocked Intermarché.
In Issigeac we visited a friend in a renovated house built in 1371 . Many of the names of the towns and villages end in -ac , an indication that they had their origins in Roman times.
Tremolat had a ” vide grenier ” ( literally meaning an emptying of the attic ) while we were there and these are interesting and make for fun browsing . We also visited the arty and quaint shop in the Main Street , selling exquisite enamel art and jewelry displayed in a studio alongside the artists’ home . A charming husband and wife , with training from Limoges explained how the scenes from around the area had been created. The whole visit was an experience and our purchases were sealed with a glass of walnut wine made by the wife .
After climbing the picturesque streets of Beynac – of “Chocolat ” fame, we took a trip on a Gabarre a necessarily flat bottomed boat as the crystal clear Dordogne is often less than a meter deep.
The Old City in Bergerac is a must as is the town of Sarlat ..a medieval market town .
A not -to – be – missed highlight is the latest Lascaux Four . What an incredible asset this is to the region . This was opened in December 2016 and we were , according to the computer, the first South Africans to visit the museum of prehistoric art.
Domme , the bastide town offers an incredible view of the bend in the Dordogne . It is perched on the hill – a safe vantage point over the countryside below.
From Les Chouettes, our abode for two weeks ,we found many wonderful walks which because of the long ,light evenings , we would often explore before dinner.
The three of us had a marvellous authentic French experience in our beautiful Perigordian cottage.”