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The Dordogne Itinerary

Day 3

Our First Real Climb

Périgord geese near Les Eyzies, Dordogne, ©2004 Simon Moss

On Monday morning, we visit Château Castelnau, the perennial enemy of Beynac.  Although both châteaux were held by the English and French armies, nobody ever held both at the same time, and Castelnau has a fascinating medieval warfare museum dedicated to this period of history.

A short ride upstream from Beynac, we pass La Roque Gageac, an amazing town built into the side of a cliff beside the Dordogne, rated as the third site in France and originally built as a prehistoric fort. We also get our first shot at a decent hill on the way up to Domme.

Domme sits 450 feet above the Dordogne and has famous panoramic views of the river. Known as the 'Acropolis of the Périgord', Domme was a key battleground in both The Hundred Years War and The Wars of Religion.

It is still surrounded by a medieval wall and is one of the best preserved of all the Bastide towns. (medieval towns built in south-west France and usually easily recognised by their well-planned, grid system of streets) It was used to imprison the Knights Templar in the 14th century, and on top of all this is the site of some interesting limestone caves.

From Domme to Payrac we go cross-country on tiny roads and see barely a soul. This is beautiful riding countryside where you will be assailed by the scent of strawberries, plums, blackberries and figs.

Today is a tough day - 30 miles – and probably the hilliest of the week but the swimming pool in the hotel at Calés and the superb food this evening are welcome and well-deserved.

Distance = 30 miles / 48 Km

Click this link for Day 3 route map on mapometer.

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