Colourful crockery in a medieval town on a cliff…

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Rocamadour, in the Dordogne region in France, is listed with 4 stars on the AA map, and noted as an area of impressive natural beauty. I was truly blown away as I first laid eyes on the beautiful medieval village built into the side of a mountain. At Overlooking the village and the surrounding valley is a cluster of Christian buildings (shrines/chapels) called the Cité Religieuse, at the top of the mountain. The site is a destination for Christian pilgrimages, and remains a key attraction. Famous pilgrims include Henry II of England and Louis XI of France. There were signs explaining the different points of reflection for the pilgrims, and if I read correctly, the journey to the top of the cliffs was often done on one’s knees! It was a fairly long way to the top – today there is a funicular and lift to take visitors up to the site.

The village is small enough to spend a day wandering through, although there are other prehistoric/Gallo-Roman sites just beyond. We were lucky to have such beautiful weather when we went, so we were able to enjoy ice creams in the sunshine and escape into the cool of the chapels. It felt very much like the village portrayed in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! As Rocamadour is now a tourist destination, there were many shops selling soaps, pottery and various souvenirs. They were fun, but the main attraction for me was a shop selling colourful, patterned crockery in all styles – from Japanese tea cups to Polish plates. It was called Petit Pot, but there sadly isn’t a website or anything like that at all.

Have you been to Rocamadour or its surrounding region?

Images: Courage & Dash

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Rambles through the Dordogne

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Before this summer week-long break in the Dordogne, I had never been to France outside Paris. I love Paris; absolutely adore it. Plenty of fond memories of general larking in hazy sunshine and getting sticky faces and hands from melting ice cream meant that I was always drawn back to the city. This time, however, I was invited along to a family holiday in Calviac, so off I went.

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First things first, I was desperate to go to plenty of vide-greniers + brocantes. I had spent some time researching events in the area during my stay there, but alas and alack, most of the fairs/markets were held on Sunday, and I was only there late Sunday to Saturday! In addition, I didn’t have a car, so travelling anywhere without begging for a lift from the parents-in-law was out of the question. Whilst the holiday was very relaxing and utterly blissful, I did not get my fill of flea-marketing, so um, sorry, husband, but I guess I’ll be heading back out to Paris before too long?

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In any case, I would highly recommend a visit to the Dordogne region for the pretty French villages and delicious food. DELICIOUS. On my last day in the valley, we went to the weekly Saturday market in Sarlat and every trestle table lining the cobblestone paths of the town was groaning under the weight of all kinds of cheese, olives, sausage, oils… and I managed to buy 3 small bottles of truffle oil and vinaigrette for EUR10! I’ll be back soon with a little guide to some of my favourite villages (and a couple of fun vintage shops!).

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Images: Courage & Dash