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Bastille Towns of Southern France


We’ve had no Internet access for the past week, not to mention that we’ve both had a cold/flu for nearly a week as well, so I’m a bit behind in our updates from Europe, but I’ll be posting more often now.

 

Before she left, our House-Sit Hostess drove us to a neighboring town to pick up an automatic transmission car. It is almost impossible to get an automatic transmission vehicle in Europe. You must beg and plead, and still they make no promises until you get there. With roundabouts every few kilometers in France, and plenty of hills, slowing down plus shifting up and down is a constant, and when you need to focus on driving in a strange country where you don’t really know where you’re going, an automatic is immensely easier.

 

We got an automatic transmission and a nice newer Peugeot.

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We had downloaded Europe maps on our GPS before we left (we thought we were well-prepared), and although it showed our current location at the house sit, it would not find other towns in France. Our hostess saved us again by lending us her GPS for the day. With a million turns and twists, side-roads and lanes, roundabouts and towns, you definitely need a GPS in France.

 

Lesson Three: Make sure you GPS is working for Europe.

 

Our quest was to see a few of the Bastille towns in the area. When the French and English were in constant battle in France in the 16/17 Centuries, they fortified their towns against the enemy by building massive stone walls encasing a town, usually high on a hill.

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It takes a long time to get places in rural France, because the roads are narrow and winding, and there are many villages to slow down in, but the scenery is breathtaking. Sweeping valleys and hills, lush and green, stun you as you come rolling over a high hill. The hills are not mountains, but large hills about 8000 ft in elevation, in between wide green valleys.

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Montflanquin was the first Bastille town. Ancient buildings, arches and peaks, cobblestone lanes, narrow winding passages, and charming character. You could feel the history, and imagine the horses and wagons thundering through the streets or down a hill.

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We had lunch in a little outdoor café in Montflanquin, with a dog to beg for scraps when the owner wasn’t looking. Here, as the owner watched him, he looked innocently away.

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I tried Monsieur Croquet. It was a simple ham sandwich, with a mound of cheese on top of the sandwich, toasted so that the cheese melted and the bread was crispy. T had a chicken, sausage and chips plate. Water and bread are brought to the table Au Gratis in France. Since the meals are so expensive, averaging around $16-20 a plate, and drinks alone add a hefty amount at $5-7 for one soda pop or bottled water, we decided to economize by not having any drinks except tap water with meals. Funny how we soon forgot about that. 

 

The views across the lush green valleys from the Bastille towns were always awesome….DSC07308~

 

As we drove through the gorgeous rolling countryside of Southern France to the next Bastille town…

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We saw a sign that said Medieval Village, so we took a little detour to Belves. Like most accidental discoveries, we liked this town a lot. It was ancient, quaint and charming, and not mentioned in any of the research we had done.

 

We were encouraged to try a natural soap made in Belves…

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Fois Gras and Quiche were sold everywhere…

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The town square was full of stone arches…

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With walls 2-3 feet thick…

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And Knights and Castles and Medieval costumes adorned store windows…

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(We both wanted to buy this castle with all the encoutrements!)

 

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We drove on to the next town…

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Monpazier was another Bastille town, much like Montflanquin.

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Coming tomorrow…. a third Bastille town of Southern France, and our favourite…

 

 

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France - Montflanquin, Belves, Monpezier, Sarlat-de-Caneda

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France - Montflanquin, Belves, Monpezier, Sarlat-de-Caneda 44.532748, 0.767717

<a href=”http://www.hypersmash.com/dreamhost/” id=”ZZ551″>excellent review</a>

 

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6 Responses to Bastille Towns of Southern France

  1. Marnee says:

    Trusting you’re both feeling better. Love the Medieval stuff; did you find any live ‘shows’ of jousting, knights and fair maidens? The countryside looks lovely too.

  2. travellittleknownplaces says:

    I’m getting better, just a cough now, but we think T has a sinus infection. He has a fever off and on, and feels ill every evening. He’s on his way home today. Unfortunately, no jousting shows – that would have been great. French countryside is gorgeous everywhere we were in the South and along the coast.

  3. ashraf says:

    I loved the pictures. thank you for sharing them and allowing me to be apart of your journey! Beautiful!

  4. Diane says:

    Amazing pics. One feels like they are there. Thanks

  5. travellittleknownplaces says:

    Thank you Diane. That is the best compliment – to “feel like you are there”.

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