QHL

Places to visit in the area..

Argentat – turn right and follow the signs through stunning scenery and views over the Dordogne valley. Walk along the river to a small café near the bridge and sample the crepes  and speciality galettes (savoury pancakes).

The falls at Albussac - (on the door-step) - top in my category of picturesque falls (as opposed to those known for huge volumes of water.)    Best to drive around the longer route to enable easy access with parking as opposed to an undignified scramble.  Do ask the caretaker for directions since he lives close by and will be familiar with all the options.

Martel  - towards Souillac from Vayrac just north of the river. Saturday is market day. This is a real vintage market town with a centre that you simply have to walk around to fully appreciate the old timber structures and the cathedral etc.

Meyssac – another ancient town reached via a lovely route by turning left at the main road and then right on the A 10 forking immediately left.

Collonges de Rouge - The very well known and scenic village of Collonges de Rouge is a short drive from Meyssac and attracts artists and has several cafes.    Recently won a "Best village in France" award and offers something different.   To appreciate this village you will have to park the car and walk right down into its heart.

Creysse – south of Martel next to the river for an idyllic spot, interesting church, well organised hotel restaurant, fast flowing streams (which go through and under the hotel itself) and views of the river Dordogne. But for pure rugged and dramatic scenery the drive immediately next to the river on the north bank from Creysse through to Gluges is a must! –as is the photo stop for Gluges when you get up to the main Martel – Gramat road n140.

Rockamadourmy favourite and probably the most picturesque and well known beauty spot, ranked by many above the well known Sarlat - placed in a beautiful gorge with restaurants and souvenir shops and many visitors in full season. There is however ample parking.   Please do not forget your cameras.

Turenne – picturesque small town build around a hill almost due south of Brive and west of Collonges-la-rouge.   To appreciate this fully it is simply a must to walk up to the top through quaint charming old streets to be rewarded with stunning views and an ancient cathedral open to the public.

The "Golden Triangle" - (my description since there are a number of lovely sights within easy reach of each other.)    Do expect to find other tourists here in fair numbers but anticipate the buzz that this brings to the area. It is some distance so to visit them all properly you need to set a day aside for this very special treat including:

1: Domme - due south of Sarlat on the south of the river with amazing views up and down the Dordogne valley.    To see these you have to walk past the cathedral to an area containing trees and benches.  The views are too good to miss but they can easily be overlooked.

2: Beynac - do walk up to the amazing chateau - whether by the steep route or the more gentle circuitous route.  You can also take a car up there but parking is limited.

3: La Roque Gageac - where you can stand back and wonder at the caves our prehistoric ancestors lived in, or make the climb to the top and walk along the inter-connecting pathways.   The sight of the chateau, rocks and quaint cottages built into the rocks is a unique spectacle ehanced even more by the reflections in the River Dordogne.

4: Sarlat - finally is the medieval "capital" of the Dordogne with its own resultant buzz from the number of visiting tourists, restaurants etc.   For myself I regard Rocamadour as the "jewell" of the entire region but Sarlat as the "happening".   Sarlat is now sadly much more commercialised  than when I first found it as a run down flaking neglected old city, but it is still a place that you simply cannot miss.     In a corner off the main square you will also find something approaching an English-style pub.

5: Castelnaud La Chapelle - some few miles from Beynac on the on the opposite side of the river.  It has one of those lovely little chateaux perched on a corner above the Dordogne with views back towards the treasures on the other bank.    At one time these two chateaux lay in the control of the opposing British and French armies and the history of the region is of particular interest to us if you find the material and time to make it a study.

Terrasson – worth a visit if its on your route.   One plan is to go via Brive in the direction of Perigueux (remembering to leave the main road at the earliest opportunity to go into Terrasson).   You pick up the Perigueux road again once you cross the River Correze over a delightful bridge.    A few miles further and you will pick up the left fork to Montignac which leads you to the Grotte de Lescaux  (with prehistoric drawings).    From there you can descend toward the "golden triangle" returning by following the Dordogne via Souillac, Vayrac and Beaulieu-Sur-Dordogne.   For comfort this is best split into two outings but it is possible if you do not want to commit too many days to sight-seeing on the road.

St Cere – a beautiful town with typical light barked trees lining wide streets.    I am aware of three or four chateaux in and around this part of the region of Lot.    You will notice that Lot is less tree-clad but usually a degree or two hotter.

Curemonte - not very far away and a favourite with many with its three chateaux.

Le Saillant - too far north for convenience unless taken in on the journey.    It lies north in Limousin and contains six works of art by Marc Chagall for the art enthusiasts.

Bonne vacances, John Gittus.