They have come to France for millennia – for the climate, the wildlife, the fishing, the fertile earth – and today we tour for exactly the same reasons, with some culture thrown in.
We are now in the Dordogne region of France, in a gîte located in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil. This is the area famous for its cave dwellings and prehistoric art, and we’ll be seeing a lot of them this week. Today we went to the Musée National de Préhistoire, which shows many artifacts and human remains from over 100,000 years. Another UNESCO World Heritage site, it has lots of remains of early man found in this area. A statue of Monsieur Neanderthal graces the top of the museum, right under some of the rock cliffs that ornament this whole region. He has a terrific view, as did we.
Flash forward to the late 15th century, and come admire our next stop, Sarlat-la-Canéda, in the heart of Perigord Noir. While it is an ancient city, the period between 1450 and 1500 was one of major investment after the Hundred Years’ War, which is why so many buildings have the same architectural style. The town slept through much of the modern age, which is why it is so very delightful today.
Tourists come here for many reasons, like early man, but – also like early man – they have to eat. Sarlat offers numerous cafés tucked in every corner, to satisfy every taste. We had an absolutely amazing four-course lunch, which included foie gras, duck, fish, an omelette with cépes, steak, salad with the local nut celebrity – walnuts – and dessert cakes of walnuts, again, and apples. And this incredible lunch, which took almost two hours and required a bottle of wine, cost only 20€ each for the food. Astonishing and delicious. No wonder people have been coming to France for eons. You can’t beat the food.