Day 33, 23 6 2013, Villeneuve sur Lot to Perigueux

We met some English people in a café this morning, who had purchased and renovated properties in the region.  As it happened, one couple had renovated a place in the village of Prayssas, one of the villages that struck me yesterday and that I commented on as being remarkably consistently renovated.  They explained to me that if an owner refuses to bring the appearance of a building up to standard, the mayor threatens that he will have it done and bill the owners.  The way out of this is for the owners to hang a “for sale” notice on the property.  This explains all, including the large number of “for sale” signs.

We set a goal this morning of reaching the city of Perigueux, for no particular reason other than it seemed interesting and was more or less between where we were and Paris.

The weather was again threatening and this put a damper on things.

The riding was pretty straight-forward, more hilly country, but nothing too steep.

I found the most interesting aspect of today’s travel was the large number of beautifully renovated buildings, both within towns and in the country.  “Renovated” is not really an appropriate word for what has been done. If the old building had special features, such as a tower, these have been preserved.  The buildings retain the yellow stone exterior that characterises this area, but after renovation they are crisp, and look fantastic.  Nothing like what they originally looked like.  They are very special.

We rode up to the town of Monflanquin, a bastide or fortified hilltop town.  This was built by the “prince noir”, a son of Edward III of England in the fourteenth century.  It does sound like black adder.  Bastides marked the southern extent of Norman interest and there is a chain of them along the Dordogne River, although this was a bit south.  The town has been completely restored and looks great.  Its prime industry now, like many bastides, is tourism.

After spending time with theEnglish people, we were a bit behind time on an ambitious day.  The afternoon’s riding, although through pretty and largely forested country on superb roads was strangely unsatisfying.  Perhaps it was the threatening weather, perhaps a bit of travel weariness, but we both felt a bit ordinary.  I have said before in these pieces that there is something wrong with people who are uniformly jolly, and today just proves our mental health.

We got caught in a heavy rain shower riding into Perigueux, but it was not long enough to soak us, just dampen our spirits.  Apparently this weather pattern is supposed to clear, but they have been saying that for days.

Anyway, Perigueux is pretty spectacular, with a well-restored medieval centre.

Currently we are picking a route towards Paris, using our wonderful but bulky Michelin road atlas, and TomTom occasionally to find obscure turnoffs.  The process works well.

However, this ride is a bit different to most of our rides in that it is a transit ride.  Mostly we select areas we want to see, and link them together to create a route. Now we are defining a route based on our need to be back in Paris in about a week.

We finished today with a top meal, which makes the world seem a lot nicer.  I do like my chips cooked in duck fat.

 So, 112Kms for the day, mostly easy riding but in bleak conditions.

This will be posted late as the wifi in this hotel does not work, a common problem.  Next trip I will work out something better.


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On to Day 34