The parents of our friend Anna purchased the farmhouse, about 10 km southwest of Bergerac, 44 years ago and the family has visited often ever since. Anna and Janet would be at the farmhouse for a week overlapping the end of our birdwatching adventure, and very kindly, they invited us to join them for a few days.
We took the train from Brive la Gaillarde to Libourne, had a walk and a snack in Libourne waiting for our connection and Anna and Janet were waiting for us at the depot in Bergerac. We have never seen so many miles of vineyards.
We are in love with the area, beautiful views in every direction. It certainly didn't hurt that we had utterly perfect, ideal weather the two full days we were visiting. We ate outside with wonderful bread, yellow figs picked at perfect ripeness from the trees in the yard (yes, I was a total fig pig, with no regrets for a single delectable treat), grapes picked from the vine as needed, fragrant bay leaves, sage, mint, roses. We gardened and rested and walked through the vineyards. We ate wonderful meals, warmed ourselves in front of the evening fire with aperitif in hand and slept soundly in the quiet countryside.
The first evening we were included in a dinner invitation to the home of Dick and Jennette, neighbors of 30 years who made us as welcome as old friends. We feasted on huge artichokes, trout in pouches grilled on an open fire, autumnal soup and an apple tart. It was a very lively evening and got even livelier when a fellow musician friend of Dick's joined the dinner and the verbal and musical entertainment commenced.
Our train back to Paris left at 2:00 so there was time to tour the Chateau Monbazillac and then have lunch in Bergerac.
The chateau dates from 1550 and is the same as when it was built. This Protestant stronghold survived the religious Christian wars, the French Revolution and has been listed as a historic monument since 1941. For those who forget that Christians have often persecuted each other over doctrinal differences, the 100 years war was begun near this spot. The rooms displayed a variety of objects from local crafts of the region, to Protestant books, maps and symbols, original prints and drawings by Sem, furnishings owned by tragedian Mounet-Sully, the wine museum, library tower and salons. There was also a temporary exhibition, but even after reading the explanation in English (actually it was academic art history language) we have no idea what it was, other than noisy.
We had a short walk in Bergerac, a very good lunch at an organic restaurant and then we were off to board our bus to Libourne.
There was no train from Bergerac to Libourne to meet our train so they provide a bus which stops at all the train stations from Bergerac to Libourne. The connection leaves only 11 minutes between the arrival in Libourne and the departure of the train. The bus was full at the last gare before Libourne and the driver somehow got stuck. It was very exciting with helpful men and knowledgable women giving the driver critical advice. Finally everyone got off the bus which lightened the rearend and the bus was free to move. We arrived at Libourne and the train was waiting for us with SNCF staff at the curb to hurry us along.
What a lovely visit, we hope to return.
Bisous to you again, Debbi and Tom