This morning, once scrubbed up and dumped, we headed for Domme. It looked quite promising in the guide books and thus worthy of a look.
When we're travelling we have not only the satnav working but also the dashcam which I fitted on a DIY platform mounted on the dashboard, and we've never been on a trip without it. The thinking being, if we were involved in a traffic incident in a foreign country we would have some video evidence to support our case. Sadly today I forgot to turn it on..............oh what a shame. We could have shared with you some of the highlights of the roads we went along today, instead, I'm afraid you'll just have to take my word for it.
Things were easy enough after we left Souillac, and I was pleased to see 'IT' had selected the route north of the river rather than the more minor road on its south side. The journey was only supposed to be a short one, lasting about fifty minutes. Even at that early stage I couldn't understand why it would take so long. The cunning plan was to go to the motorhome and bus park on the edge of Domme (N44.80053° E1.22156°), walk around the town, then make or way to the Municipal Campsite (N44.804429° E1.206112°) for a couple of nights. I think it was as we were approaching Carsac that we went through a small community where the road narrowed dramatically and had very sharp bends in it. I swear the total road width was no more than ten feet, and beat this - the road markings showed it was two way traffic. I was just hoping that nothing came the other way, particularly another motorhome, as one of us would have had to back up, and reversing down such a road would have been very 'challenging' to say the least.
As we approached Domme 'IT' told us to take the slip road coming up on the left, except that there was a weight limit on it and it banned all motorhomes, which wasn't surprising given the width and steep incline of the road. The trouble was at that point there was also a sign informing us that the road ahead was closed. So that was it, we had to turn round. I told The Chef that we'd just follow the signs to Domme and ignore any directions from 'IT', even the one telling us to turn right down, I kid you not, a road that was no wider than a footpath. Eventually we came across the parking area and paid the appropriate fee, which was €3.50 for five hours.
We didn't have far to walk to one of the gates to the fortified town of Domme. So here's a little bit about the town:
Domme is a neat town of golden stone with medieval gateways still standing. People come here to admire the view, which takes in the Dordogne valley from Beynac in the west to Montfort in the east, and wander the maze of old streets inside the walls.
There is also a large cavern under the 17th-century covered market where the inhabitants had at perilous moments during the Hundred Years’ War and the 16th-century Wars of Religion.
Despite a seemingly impregnable position, 30 intrepid Huguenots managed to capture Domme by scaling the cliffs under cover of night and opening the gates.
On the edge of a breathtakingly high cliff, Domme offers a remarkable view over the Dordogne valley.
Towering 492ft over the meandering river, Domme’s exceptional site accounts for it being one of the most beautiful bastides (country houses) in the southwest of France, as well as a coveted place marked by a long and turbulent history. Its ramparts, fortified gates and towers, which served as prisons in the early 14th century, and held French and English soldiers during the Hundred Years War, stand as imposing witnesses to its past.
From the Place de la Rode, randomly dotted along flower-decked streets, are fine houses with golden façades and irregular roofs covered with brown tiles, embellished with a triple mullioned window, and the former courthouse of the seneschal, both built in the 13th century.
Continuing on from the Place de la Halle, Domme offers a panoramic view of the Dordogne valley, rural landscapes, cultivated land, and a few local heritage sites.
It was a delightful walk around the town. It was almost like our Cotswolds, except here, they don't have Jeremy Clarkson and his Lamborghini tractor trying to get down the roads.
We stopped off and bought a baguette from a small shop which also sold coffees which we consumed on a little table and chairs just outside the shop. The only thing which spoiled the ambience of the place was their two little trains which went around the town (Hi-De-Hi!). By now the mist was clearing and the temperature was rising. We felt it was time to move to the campsite just in case it began getting busy with weekend visitors.
Same story, probably the same road. We came across a sign which said road ahead closed, but the was access to the 'camping'. Oh how reassuring that was, until we reach a dead end marked by piles of dirt across the road and suitable signage. Yes indeed, it did provide access to 'The Campings', but only one, and not the one we wanted. Back down the road we went, where I spotted a diversion sign. Ah, at last! It helpfully gave us access to the Municipal Campsite, which turned out to be closed. The grass was still long and there was nobody about, so clearly they had yet to open for the season.
Deep joy. That was it. I said to The Chef that I'd seen a sign back down the road for a place That's on our list of planned destinations - La Roque-Gageac, so back down the road we went, and here we finally are. Camping La Plage www.camping-laplage.fr (N44.824453° E1.169497°). Next door is a Camperstop which is part of the Camping-Car scheme www.campingcarpark.com . I did join about a year ago, and put about seventy pounds on my prepaid card, but the campsite looked far more inviting.
We've got a pitch right down near the river, though we should have been cute enough to bag the next pitch along, because if anybody comes along and parks in that one, they'll block our view of the river. Never mind, I'm sure by the time we're done we'll be fed up with the sights of rivers and sea.
Thunderstorms are forecast Sunday afternoon, and so we're going to say here for three nights to see us over the weekend and thus avoid jousting with weekenders on the narrow winding roads. Our next stop will be Castle Castenaud, which we can see just a bit further down the road. Maybe on Monday we could stay here and visit it by bus. We'll have to see.
In the meantime we're going to chill out in the 25°C heat. Tomorrow we'll go for a walk back down the road to the tourists hotspot, and maybe also go for a walk through the fields which are just behind our pitch.
Today is the first time I've ever envied campervan owners. There's not enough living space inside them for the family pet never mind two adults, but my, oh my, they're an awful lot easier to handle on the roads around here. The fact that today is Friday the 13th has nothing to do with it.