The road was calling our names after we finished breakfast, so we headed to some of the nearby sights to see what we could see. First stop, Beynac et Ceznac, a remarkably beautiful town on the river, with an equally remarkable castle on the hill immediately above clinging to the top of the cliff.
This, and every other place on today's visits, transport you to another time and place. The most striking thing is the difference in the stone here versus the old villages that we have visited in the north of France. While in the north the buildings are all grey and cold, here they are all a golden hue, giving the towns a much warmer glow.
Beynac sent us on our way, after a few hours, to the tiny town of La Roque Gageac that has been carved from the cliffs that rise steeply from the river. There is still evidence of the more ancient dwellings built into the face of the cliff high above the town.
La Roque is embraced by those cliffs and the river, making this petite jewel well worth the time to visit.
Castelnaud stands sentry over the river valley on what used to be the English side of the river during the Hundred Years War. The castle at Beynac was the French equivalent. Castelnaud is one of the most interesting castles that we have ever visited, because they have taken the time to collect a variety of middle ages weapons, several trebuchets among these. Though replicas, they lend a real authenticity to the surroundings. This castle, and Beynac, have been restored so well that you are able to experience the way it must have really been almost 500 years ago.
An interesting side note is the difference in the stature of the people then compared to now. For me especially, these trips back in time can be a bit challenging as the doors are almost all about chin level to me, and when we climb the spiral stairs in the towers it is easier for me to ascend them using hands and feet as if I were climbing a ladder rather than standing upright to walk the stairs.
All on all, a very successful day in the Dordogne River Valley of France.
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