It seems like a few months ago that we first turned up in Tremolat. We have felt so at home in the gite, with the pool and the privacy, it’s a shame we now have to leave it. Mirinda asked me how I felt about our holiday coming to an end yesterday. I told her I’d quite like to never go home and just stay where we were. Normally on holiday I’m ready to come home halfway through the second week so this is a new feeling for me. This holiday has been fabulously relaxing.
Still, leave we had to and this morning we packed and packed and bade our long farewells to Madame (who we’d love to stay with again) and set off, deciding to have one more coffee at Limeuil even though it was in the opposite direction to where we needed to go.
We parked the car and were about to head down to the river when I noticed I had a message from Madame on my phone. “Vous avez oublie la souris!” she wrote. Mirinda had left her mouse behind. We pulled out of the car park and made our way back to the gite to pick up the mouse. Madame claimed we just don’t want to leave if we keep coming back. How right she was.
Once more, mouse in hand, we headed back to Limeuil, parked in a now almost full carpark and headed down to the terrace by the river.
Speaking of parking, this fortnight we seemed to have had a lot of help from Denise’s parking angel (we call her a fairy) so I hope she hasn’t abandoned my sister for a bit of a visit in France. It seems that whenever we want a spot one is almost instantly abandoned and, voila, we have one. Genius and something that never happens to us normally.
So, sitting on the terrace overlooking the confluence of the Dordogne and the Vezere Rivers, we managed to spend a few hours drinking coffee (beer) and ice cream before finally, sadly leaving Limeuil for the final time (this trip). We were heading to Bergerac where, hopefully, we’ll get to see the Bastille Day fireworks.
Our journey was not long so we decided to take in a chateau on the way. We followed the river most of the way and, after a slight misunderstanding at a roundabout, we eventually wound up up the hill at Chateau Monbazillac.
What a fairy tale castle of a place. It looks perfect and it is because no-one has destroyed it in one of the numerous wars or decided to change the look of the place; the sort of stuff that I’m always writing about. No, this place was designed and built in the 16th century and remains the same today as it was when new. The thing I find very refreshing is the fact that it was designed to be asymetrical.
What has changed is that it’s no longer lived in. Each of the rooms now contain various historical bits of furniture and/or pictures of various things. The original family was Protestant so there’s a lot of Huguenot crosses discretely placed on wardrobe doors etc.
Upstairs there is a room dedicated to the French actor, Jean-Sully Mounet (1841-1960) of the Commedie Francaise. I’d never heard of him but there’s a lot of photos of him as Hamlet and various other famous roles. He performed with (among others) Sarah Bernhardt, a favourite of mine. And there’s a lovely photograph of her on the table in the middle of the room.
Another ‘special’ room is one completely full of original drawings by the cartoonist known as SEM ( real name Georges Goursat (1863-1934)). His drawings of Parisian society were amazing. So much so that Maxims used them for their advertising. And still do.
I rather liked his depictions of the society women – in one image they are likened to stick insects which is very amusing. Generally, though his line drawings are just magical studies.
Meanwhile, in the cellar, there are 7,000 bottles of wine, all sitting in big wine racks. They are there for decoration because the chateau is a wine making concern with vineyards all around. The special sweet white wine made at Monbazillac has been made since the 11th century. While it started with monks, it was sold to successive descents of the original owners of the chateau, through the female line until in 1960 it was bought by a wine co-operative who run it today. And it is they who run and look after the chateau as well.
And we can vouch for the wine being sweet. Mirinda had a glass before we drove to our accommodation (I had a local beer) and it was very, very sweet. It was also very, very nice but really needed to be taken with some delicious dessert or other.
Having visited the chateau and had a drink we ventured down to our room for the night. A lovely spot with an amazing shower, we rested up ahead of going to dinner.
And dinner was in the middle of a golf course…or so it seemed to me. Mind you it was a golf course with a bloody great pigeonaire stuck in the middle of it. Though, to be completely honest, the golf course was put around the pigeonaire which had been there a good deal longer.
We were a bit worried given the restaurant, the only one with vacancies this late, had had a plethora of bad reviews. But, when all was said and done, it was fine. Excellent food, local and wonderful wine plus good service. It was a lovely final night out before returning home tomorrow.
Tomorrow we fly home.