The wonderful thing about going where the wind blows and not planning much (Martin's oft repeated truism to people we met: 'we can't get lost, we're not going anywhere') is that there are sometimes unforeseen surprises waiting for you. We had two very different surprises on this Dordogne trip. We arrived in the area and went to a recommended campsite in Vitrac. It had every sign of being occupied - there was a brochure rack outside the door on the porch. The reception door was unlocked, a jacket over the back of a chair and the keys were in the door. We had emailed to say we were coming.
No one around, rang door bells, rang the number we had, double checked our camper contact app which assured us that yes it was open on this date. We decided to have a cup of tea, email them that we were here waiting and... well, wait - so we did as twilight fell and the whole place started to look a bit spooky. Then I lost signal for no reason even though I could see 3G was available on my mifi.
Finally I decided to ask another camper what was happening and walked around the whole place before realising it was quite empty. Where were the owners though and why had they left everything so open and who were the brochures put out for - for goodness sake?
So we beat an escape as our apprehension grew (funny how you can almost persuade yourself that a place has not got good vibes) and set off down impossibly narrow roads (please can we not meet anything big coming).
We fetched up at another campsite called La Sagne who hadn't heard of this other campsite even though it was under a mile away (had we imagined the whole eery affair?) We seemed to be the only ones at this campsite too but at least the owners made us feel like it was all normalsville again. We never did get an email back from Vitrac.
The next day we decided to go for a walk and headed across a field then saw this poking throught the trees.
The closer we got, the more enticing glimpses we caught, until we rounded a corner and saw this chateau in all its glory.
It was at the top of a very steep hill and seemed to have a tiny community of ancient houses right on top and was called Montfort. There was a stonking view of the Dordogne
There was this extraordinary rock structure with a tree on top
We found one tiny bar restaurant which was just perfect, old, authentic, family run - nestled right at the top of the lookout. It was called:
The sun was suddenly very hot and gave a dreamy aspect to the experience and I felt I was in a dream.
We also discovered this in a window
which told us who thesculptor was of the boy we had seen in Sarlat.
A little google search tells us that the work is called Le Badaud ('The onlooker') and that the 'badaud' was an important urban type from 18th and 19th century French literature.'
so I'm none the wiser really but I like the name.
We found a motorhome aire for about 20 vans at the top too so we vowed next time we would park up here.
Out of our whole France trip, the discovery of the village of Montfort and its medieval chateau was the most remarkable memory we came home with - as we had only set out across a field to stretch our legs and somehow tumbled into a fairyland.
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