Sunday, 3 May 2015

Life in the Perigord: the literary connection........

Like many people, when I'm planning to go visit a new country or area, I try to do some reading in advance to give me a bit of a feel for the place. Surprisingly or maybe not in the circumstances, when we decided to move to the Dordogne, this wasn't on my list of priorities: I think that the shock of finding ourselves in the situation of having made a spur of the moment decision to 'up sticks' and move to France meant that I was too busy sorting out practicalities! We had never visited the 'Perigord', as locals prefer to call it, until the weekend when we decided that Le Jardin des Amis was for us.

As I've said in previous blogs, our guests are a great source of information on everything from world geography, to the best coffee they've found in the area. Every year I can rely on someone finding something or somewhere new to visit  and this has, in some cases come about as a result of their 'pre-holiday' reading. Obviously there are many guide books and accounts of the history of the region out there but sometimes, it is stories (fiction or real life) which have actually propelled our guests to the region.

American guests who stayed with us last year, introduced me to the 'Inspector Bruno' series which they had heard about because their author (Martin Walker) spends some of his time working in their home city of Washington. The Inspector Bruno novels are set in the well described, and thinly disguised town of St. Denis - in reality our nearby town of Le Bugue. As in Le Bugue, the St. Denis' of the stories is an attractive little market town built on the banks of the Vezere river (above & below). I recommend a trip to the tuesday morning market where you can soak up the ambiance to keep in mind when you read the books: fortunately the frequent murders and intrigue are a figment of the author's imagination!

Another author that I was introduced to by guests, some years ago, was Patricia Atkinson. Not fiction this time but the real life story of her arrival in the Dordogne, the creation of a vineyard and her transformation into a producer of well respected wines! 'The Ripening Sun', conjures up perfectly what it is like to move to a small rural French village. Our guests went off to find her vineyard and buy some of her wine to try to complete the picture, but for those who like an easy life, the wine is available in a very good wine shop with branches in both Le Bugue & Sarlat.

For an amusing read which gives a flavour of the region and it's inhabitants, 'The Matchmaker of the Perigord' is a relaxing pool-side novel which you may find in our pool bar library, above .......unless someone else got there first!