The English have long associations with Bergerac and Aquitaine in general. In 1370 the town was given to John of Gaunt by the Black Prince and proved an exceptional source of revenue for him.
While it is perhaps tactful not to speak to the French of such things these days, it is interesting to think of those ancient battles fought beside La Dordogne so long ago. (I love the way the French give their rivers a feminine persona!). The river was open to sea-going vessels right through medieval times, and there was much trade in Wine. There still is! But it doesn’t leave by river these days.
We drove in around five-thirty as we’ve learned by experience that most shops in France close around midday and re-open mid-afternoon and stay open until about seven o’clock. You know the old saying about mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun? Well, it makes sense when you’re here. Walking around towns with the midday sun bouncing off the pale stone of the buildings is utter madness. The French certainly don’t do it, and so we don’t do it either. In the middle of a wet, rainy day in Newcastle, it seems peculiar, but here, when the temperature is 31 degrees, it all begins to make sense.
It was hot enough to make an hour and a half wandering around old haunts and sicovering new ones more than enough, and we headed back along the D32 towards St Marcel du Perigord with food in mind.
We were not disappointed. Imaginative, delicious food in a tranquil setting – who could ask for more? An amuse bouche, a pre-starter and then a salmon starter for me, followed by canard with green peas, beans and the tiniest mushrooms in a delicious sauce...m'mmm.
I drank the local wine sparingly because I had drawn the “drive back home” straw and I knew the roads home were one car width, twisty and hilly.
I saw one deer, which raced for cover before dh could get the camera out; he saw four more, but I didn’t dare take my eyes off the road to look. For us, seeing deer is rare. On our last trip to Scotland in February, we saw them
everywhere, and we know they exist around our home in the UK, but a sighting is rare, especially here, where there is so much land for them to hide in - and delightful.