europe,  france,  travel

At the heights of Hautefort – Day 9


It was time to leave our little house. We were sad to move on from our relative freedom, particularly of having our own kitchen, but we’d traversed the area quite well, covering many of the little country back roads. Most of the morning was spent packing and tidying up the house, putting everything back in its proper place. David cooked up a tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs before we packed our little Twingo and headed off.

We took some small, meandering country roads southeast, in the general direction of Perigueux. As always, the endless miles of green fields and clusters of old farmhouses made for a picturesque drive. It wasn’t long before we were entering the outskirts of Perigueux. We made a quick wifi stop at the local McDonald’s before going through the city. For some reason, likely due to the increased amount of traffic, I was a particularly nervous passenger today. I appreciate the function of roundabouts—it prevents the need to have traditional four-way stops at intersections, thereby increasing efficiency; however, they can be a bit hairy to navigate at times. After an interminable number of roundabouts, we were finally free of the city and blasting east towards Hautefort and its château. It was mightily impressive when we finally reached the town to see this impressive château perched high above the town. I wanted to get a better view of it all, so we drove through town and out the other side, wandering around on small roads until we finally looped back around. After getting out for a few pictures, we found a shady spot for a little picnic. D had pre-hardboiled some eggs, and we still had most of our cheese and bread. After a tasty snack, we drove up to see the château. Tickets in hand, we made our way in the sweltering heat up to the ramparts to take a look at the magnificent view of the town and surrounding valley. We crossed an itty-bitty drawbridge to enter the courtyard, and after admiring the view, we dashed inside for a reprieve from the heat.

Up the grand staircase we went and entered the rather impressive Fireplace room, that was flanked on each end by two enormous fireplaces with ornately carved walnut mantelpieces. We wandered through the house—D lusted after fanciful bookcases and desks; I was amused by an over-the-top bed. We finished up our tour of the house, which wasn’t super expansive, with a brief little viewing of their documentary on the history of the chateau. From there, we walked through the formal gardens, composed in large part of finely manicured hedges. We strolled around the property before heading back to the car to make our way down to Sarlat-la-Canéda.

D flew down winding roads (with a little glee), and it wasn’t long before we were coming up on the city. Unsure of exactly where the hotel was, we parked near a pedestrianized street I recognized and went off on foot to find it. We walked down Rue de la République, which looked to be a major shopping street, ducked down a few alleys and eventually found it. We met our host who took us up to our rooms. Now, the name of the hotel is La Tour du Rempart, which should be an indication of the manner in which one gets up to the rooms, in that it is up several flights of a spiral staircase within a tower. Our room was super cute—bright colours and modern furnishings (one might say, almost Ikea-esque), within the confines of an older building. D and I went back to the car and moved it to a closer spot to unload the baggage. D mightily carried our hefty luggage up all those stairs. I opted to help with carrying our bags of food. We moved our car to a thankfully free parking lot just a block or so away from the hotel.

The room didn’t have air-conditioning, but it did have a fan, so we basked in its coolness for awhile, munching on some of our leftover cheese and bread and eggs. After reading and snoozing, we ventured out into the cooler streets of Sarlat to find dinner. The town is really quite pretty and very well preserved—lots of old vine-covered buildings, crooked cobblestone streets and pleasant plazas. We took a peek at different menus and finally settled on one that had Foie gras ravioli as an appetizer and pan-fried duck breast in a foie gras sauce as an main. The ridiculousness was a bit too much to pass up. D decided to try a cassoulet of goose, which he said was tasty and strong, tasting much like duck. This was followed by some local goat cheese from Rocamadour and a few scoops of ice cream. Gotta love set menus! Stuffed fill of geese and duck, we wandered back home for the night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *