Autumn in Dordogne

Autumn is dressed up in its full glory right now, yet its easy to let it pass, with day following day while not getting out into the countryside to witness it. We went for a Sunday drive in Dordogne and fell in love once again with the rolling agricultural landscape. The Monbazillac vineyards were in all their golden spendor with the rows of vines leading the eye downhill to the steeple of l’Eglise de Notre Dame in Bergerac. We passed through the centre of this charming town then turned west to make a semi-circle around Perigueux. We’d save the museum there for a rainy day. We drove alongside the River Dronne, passing Bourdeilles and its 14th century chateau. We carried on to Brantome and there at the side of the road were houses built into the cliff faces. They had clearly started out as cave dwellings. We parked to have a look. While it’s on the tourist route, we’d never heard of the Benedictine Abbey of Brantone but there it was, just around a bend in the road. The original was founded by Charlemagne in 769 but it was largely destroyed about 20 years later by Viking rovers. It was rebuilt in the 10th century and again after the 100 Years War in the 15th. It is stunning. It’s bell tower is claimed to be the oldest in France. This is still on the River Dronne and there is a canal too. A footbridge (Pont Cordé) leads to a park where the monks used to relax. Then there is the village itself with its cafés and bakeries like any self-respecting French village. Just when we thought we’d seen all the stunning sites of the region we stumbled upon this one. After almost two years we still have these euphoric moments here.