Remember when you were in your history class at school learning about the per-historic period. There was the Palaeolithic Age, the Mesolithic Age, the Neolithic Age. And there was the Neanderthal Man and the Cro-Magnon Man who both eventually succumbed to the rise of the Homo Sapien – yeah, us. In the history books I remember pictures of ancient cave paintings made by Cro-Magnon Man.
Well, this part of France is famous not only for foie gras and caves but it is also those paintings in the history books were discovered. The site is called Lascaux which is in the town of Montignac, just 30kms north of Sarlat. So a visit to Lascaux was the first item in today’s agenda.
GPS-girl took us on a roundabout journey but we eventually got to Lascaux. It took way longer than the straight-forward kilometre journey would have taken. Arriving at the ticket office we found that the next English speaking tour was not going to start until 1:30pm. By the time we’d have done the tour and visited the museum most of the day would be gone. Remarkably, this “world-class” exhibition entered through a huge, futuristic building does not have multi-lingual recorded commentary on personal headphones. Even the little old Gouffre de Proumeyssac cave we visited on Saturday had them! Very poor form.
Not wanting to waste the whole day we decided to pass on Lascaux. :( . Kerry had been very supportive of my cave visits on the previous two days so I couldn't ask her to do another one if it was going to take half the day. Next we had planned to visit the village of Collonges-la-Rouge, famous for it red-brick buildings. You may have noticed that everything else in France is a sand-stone colour. Wanting to take the back-roads I set GPS-girl for the village Sarrazac, half-way between Lascaux and Collonges-la-Rouge, a journey of about 50kms. Off we went along some really nice country roads. I wasn’t recognising any of the other villages along the way but that wasn’t any concern, there’s so many tiny villages one can’t remember them all. We came across the village of Hautefort which lies at the foot of a huge Château. It made for some spectacular photos. We even diverted to drive through the village. It’s hill-top setting reminded us of so many of the villages in Tuscany and Umbria.
It was lunch-time so we stopped by a little creek to finish off our green cheese and pate feast. We’d really got value out of that purchase. Every crumb was consumed and did us for two dinners and a lunch. Since we were only 12kms from Sarrazac I thought I’d tell GPS-girl our real destination. I got a real shock when she told me it was 98kms away! Silly GPS-girl, now you’ve really lost it! We drove the final 12kms and arrived in Sarrazac, a pretty grotty little village on the top of a hill. What’s more, no signs pointed to Collonges-la-Rouge. Time to fall back to Google-girl again. She found Sarrazac near Collonges-la-Rouge and she found Sarrazac near the middle of nowhere – where we were! Can you believe it, there are two villages called Sarrazac100kms from each other and we’d gone to the wrong one! The god’s had conspired against us, both villages are about 50kms from Lascaux. All the postcodes around Sarlat start with 24xxx. The correct Sarrazac’s postcode started with 98xxx so I naturally chose the one that started with 24xxx. So we retraced our steps back to Brive then hit the A20 autoroute and sped down the road to the turn off to Collonges-la-Rouge. By the time we’d reached our destination we’d “lost” three hours. We wanted back-roads and we certainly got them in spades!
Collonges-la-Rouge was a red as promised. A very pretty little town. I bought a bottle of wine and Kerry bought herself a leather bracelet with a silver clip. We had a beer at a bar and a gelati walking the lanes. A gruff restaurant proprietor chased us from his bench seat we were on while we finished our gelati. Poor man. So many things to trouble him.
Next we drove over to Curemonte, a village with two very large keep-like building right next to each other in the centre of town. Both appear to be taller than the church steeple which I would have thought was a big no-no. Nothing much to write home about this one other than I think it’s time the “France’s Most Beautiful Villages” committee visited for a review.
It was past 6:00pm so we decided to head home. On the way back we stopped at the little village of Rouffillac on the banks of the Dordogne and had a pizza. The chap who ran the little shop was a delight, proudly showing us the extra effort he’d put into the presentation. Another interesting and fun day was at an end. One more to go in La Dordogne then it’s off to Brittany.