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Report 1947: The Dordogne

By Winnick from Texas, Spring 2011

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Page 11 of 19: June 23 - Jardin de Marqueyssac, Belves, Monpazier, Chateau Biron

photo by Mike Winnick

Jardin de Marqueyssac

We headed 60 Km South of Sarlat, first stopping at the Jardins de Marqueyssac, a magnificent hilltop garden of topiary with wooded paths up to various overlooks of the Dordogne and its chateaus. There are peacocks that roam free in the gardens and will eat out of your hand. We climbed the paths, sat in the overlooks, marveled at the stream-like waterways they built into the mountain sides. We spent about two hours here and then headed to two 'bastide' towns on the list of TMBVF.

We went to the villages of Belves and Monpazier next. Both typical medieval architecture, but had lunch first in Belves right on the town square overlooking its 12C Halle, a covered market. Monpazier is an interesting contrast to the confined, winding street pattern like the rest of the Dordogne villages. It is laid out in a grid pattern and has a large, central town square, flanked by arched porticoes that offer shade and trade, with pretty craft shops and restaurants. While we enjoyed this town, we must admit we prefer the small windy, streets of the hilltop towns.

Then to Chateau Biron, a well preserved and reconstructed 12C chateau with a variety of architectural styles spanning the 12C to 18C. All of these chateaus have beautiful gardens and this was no exception. We saw gardeners tending the shrubs with their hand clippers. What it must take to care for these gardens!.

Then home to rest and again eat in. But this time Mike picked up some Fois Gras as his appetizer. After dinner we took a walking tour of Sarlat, through the maze of old streets lit by gas lamps which cast a romantic glow over the city.

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