There are few places in the world where I feel at home. India is one. Dordogne area of France is the other.
We first discovered this area 9 years ago. We flew from New York, where we celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary, to London, spent a few days there and then took a Chunnel to a town of Lille on the north of France. In Lille we rented a car and took small country roads all the way around the north, heading down south through Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, all the way down to Aquitaine, where we realized that we don’t need to go any further, because we found our perfect spot.
Technically, this region is called Aquitaine and it takes up a big chunk of the southwest of France, with several regions combined into one. Bordeaux is the biggest town, about couple of hours drive west from here.
So many sweet memories are connected with so many places here… Everywhere we go, look, every sign we see, everywhere we drive, we can’t stop from nudging each other, look, look … remember?…
Castillones, where we found out we are pregnant with Bunny and spent 2 blissful weeks in a unreal new state of an impending parenthood. This is where I tried to learn to drive a stick shift. So much for that crazy idea.
Monpazier, where we bought the pregnancy test. Explaining at the pharmacy what we need without knowing the language was a whole another story.
La Roque Gageac, where every morning we would get up and make it down to the bakery to buy coffee and freshly baked croissants, Bunny barely knowing how to walk back then.
Domme, where I ordered something on the menu, that turned out a boiled foes gras, the grossest thing ever.
Rocamadeur, where Bunny stepped out of something (what was it?), did a face plant and had a giant bruise on his cheek for the next two weeks. So many fantastic meals shared with new friends we met, so many bottles of fine local Bordeaux drank with friends who visited us there.
So, when we drove in, it was like coming home. Everything looked about the same, maybe few more supermarkets and construction sites. We rented a house near a town of Sarlat. It’s a small medieval town that was built in the 14th century and was mostly untouched by the wars. It’s fully preserved and restored to it’s quirky medieval glory for all of us to be able to travel back into the past for a few magical hours at a time.
We are planning on staying here for a few weeks. This is how we try to plan our travel – couple of weeks of intense traveling, sightseeing, touristy things and places, and then 6 weeks of staying put in one place and really diving deep into a local life – shopping at the local farmers markets, taking classes, participating in the local events, making friends, studying, chilling.
In a last couple of days we met few interesting characters. One was a French lady, Bernadette. Her family own a Chateaux de Puymartin, which was built in 1270 by her great, great great great…. great relative and is famous for it’s ghost, ‘la Dame Blanche’ or the While Lady. The story is that the wife was found by the husband in the arms of another man, so the husband locked her in the small room on top of the tower for 15 years, where she eventually died. The husband refused to bury her and instead entombed her inside the wall of her room. Apparently, there are plenty of people who witnessed a ghost of a young lady dressed in white floating around various parts of a chateaux. Bernadette’s mother still lives at the chateaux, and she sounds to me like a very brave lady.