Cycling – Biking in the Dordogne – Aquitaine


The Dordogne is one of the prettiest areas you could ask of for cycling / biking. With 100’s of chateaux, lush virgin forest, endless fields of grapes, sunflowers, maize, grain…..meandering rivers and streams, well placed villages for that deserved pitt stop or lunch and a reliable and regular train service. You can base yourself in one place and use the train for those farther afield destinations and enjoy a leisurely ride back to home base, or spend 3 or 4 days at one place then move to another part of the Dordogne. The landscape is very level from Lalinde towards Bordeaux and rolling country from Lalinde towards Sarlat. With plenty of secondary roads in good condition and usually with a cool forest section the choices are endless for day trips. The most pro-active cycle hire company in our area is Aquitaine Bike Hire www.aquitainebike.com with excellent alloy or carbon fibre road and/or hybrid bikes it’s pretty difficult to go past Robert and Amy Owensmith for service, professionalism, reasonable prices and careful preparation of your routes…….all based on your fitness level. We have enjoyed hosting a range of people who have booked their bikes through Robert and Amy and from an outsiders perspective…… what delightful, warm and efficient people to deal with. Sometimes after a few days out on the road, it’s nice to take a day off the longer trips , especially to recharge the batteries and give your ‘ seat ‘ a rest. Our local area has many short and level rides that can fill in the morning or afternoon leaving plenty of time to relax. Staying at Maison Porte del Marty is a great base to enjoy the beautiful Dordogne region on a bicycle, you can arrive by train at Lalinde with a regular service from Bordeaux or Sarlat with connections from the South of France through Toulouse and Agen, from Spain through Bordeaux and the North and East of France through Paris or Limoges – Perigueux. If you were thinking about heading in our direction, ask us for some travel choices. Bergerac airport has daily flights from many UK cities, Holland and Belgium.
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If you see this, you have found us!

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If you see this, you have found us ! Maison Porte del Marty and French Mode !

Si vous voyez ceci, vous nous avez trouvés! Maison Porte del Marty et French Mode

Pricelist and basic information – Maison Porte del Marty Lalinde 24150

 

 

Mariage / Weddings and Santiago de Compostela – Lalinde 24150

Living directly across the road from St Peter’s / St Pierre-ès-Lien our local Lalinde church we share the pulse of the community with christening /baptêmes, weddings / mariage and of course funerals / funérailles. The bells peel out the occasion with a surprising variation of tones and rhythm. France shares the issue of declining church attendance, but from our perspective, the moral and christian values of the community are still very intact and the church still plays a very important part of life of our local community. The Dordogne has long been one of the many pathways (The Way to St James) to Santiago de Compostella on the NE coast of Spain to the Church that houses the remains of St James, one of the disciples of Jesus. Millions of people have made their pilgrimage since the beginning of the 9th Century when the tomb was discovered and today many 1000’s of people still walk the trail, the most common trail beginning at St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrennes mountain range which stadles France and Spain. Our surrounding villages of Cadouin, Tremolat and Paunat have large and magnificent old churchs / abbys that housed and welcomed the weary traveller. It’s only in the 1930’s that Cadouin gave up their claim to having the death shroud of Jesus Christ in their possession, Cadouin ( and many other villages throughout the Christan world ) had claimed the ownership of the shroud which brought many devotees and donations to their church. The Turin Shroud presently held by the Vatican appears to be the only shroud with some written history being mentioned in the initiation of some of the Knight Templars in the 11th and 12th century. Spring and Summer is wedding time in France, probably based on rural tradition, we often have 2 or 3 weddings on a Saturday. In France, the only legal marriage is performed by the Mayor’s Office ( Le Mairie ), a church wedding has no legal standing, but is still a desire of many young couples after they are married at the Mairie. One of the delightful traditions is for the wedding party and their guests to drive around the area and village with their cars decorated, horns blaring and make a general racket. One car will be heavily decorated with old brooms, tin cans, perhaps a couple of stuffed ” guys” and a wide variety of other memorabilia, the enclosed photos will give you some idea ! Our weddings range from a simple arrival on an ox and cart, to full limousine service with morning suits and high fashion. We are hoping our new room ” Le Domaine des Chevaliers ” will help to attract a few wedding guests / groups to Maison Porte del Marty. For foreigners to get married in France, it takes a fair amount of preparation. Notarised and translated documents including your parents wedding and birth certificates are compulsory and must be registered with the Bureau du Maire well before any wedding. If anyone reading our blog is considering this, look under AngloInfo Dordogne ( Google it ) and they have an area on their website which spells out the minimum requirements, it would certainly be a memorable occasion to be married in France !

Chambre 4 is up and running…Le Domaine des Chevaliers

After a fair bit of graft and with some help from good friends Pieter and Andrea, this beautiful room is finished, it’s the biggest room in our house with a wonderful high ceiling and massive fireplace. We have painted it in a soft blue/grey limewas

h, the plaster work was in bad shape and Pieter, our dear friend from Holland helped me rebuild the damaged walls and ceilings. 2 years ago Pieter’s wife Jet helped Cheri with our Chambre 2 – Marie Antionette. Andrea our lovely Scottish friend from LeBugue made the fabulous curtains and we have furnished the room simply, but with nice pieces of furniture. With wide views over the river and the church this room will be a hit with our guests. This end of the house is the oldest part of the existing structure, and sits over a cobbled cellar that runs parallel to Porte del Marty, the stone bastide gate on our property which was the main entrance from the river.I have since found the remains of a Roman floor in our cellar which was underneath an existing cobbled area. The original building on our property was built in Roman times then rebuilt around the 4th or 5th century by a family line of Chevaliers who ran the village of Diolindum ,which became LaLinda in Occitane then more laterly Lalinde in French. When the new bastide town was built in Lalinde in the 1200’s there was only the cellar, main walls and a shell remaining of the original Chevaliers structure. As most records were lost during the 2 x 100 year wars in our area, there is little documented information left. Our local Mairie ( Mayors Office ) has some documents covering one of our Chevaliers ruling on a property matter in the 7th century plus details of the remains of the building when the bastide walls were built around our house. The first church of Lalinde was built during the Chevaliers time and was part of our property, in this time the church was as much a place of refuge and a meeting hall.

Verteillac and grapes

Lalinde Marché des fleurs

Cheri at Lalinde Marché des fleurs

One of our other ‘ sidelines ‘ is selling outdoor furniture. We import from Italy a range of wrought iron tables and chairs made by RetiGritti in Lombardie. They produce products for a wide range of price points but we only stock their premium range which is coated with an anti rust treatment called cataforésé, the same system used for treating car bodies. We also import a range of marble and wrought iron bistro tables. Apart from selling from our property, we promote and sell at many of the village markets & brocantes. It’s a delightful way to spend some time and a reasonably effective way to get some sales.

Verteillac Sunday Brocante

This Sunday I went to Verteillac, a delightful village about 20 minutes north of Riberac on the way to Angôuleme. On the first weekend of every month they host a brocante. We have to be there by 06:30 to set up for the day, once you are in place it’s impossible to leave ( you are blocked in by other traders ) before the market closes, usually around 17:00 or 18:00 so it’s a long day with approx 1.5 hours drive each way. This Sunday was a good day with a huge amount of interest and discussions that will hopefully lead into a few sales. Surprising for the beginning of autumn ! We had 3 very heavy rain storm / squalls rush through drenching many of our fellow store holders stock. A lady next to me lost her complete table of china when a gust of wind twisted her ‘ sun ‘ umbrella and pushed the table over, on my other side a lady with 100’s of pieces of beautiful 2nd hand linen ended up with boxes of sodden stock….lucky for us, our rust treated outdoor furniture stood the test !!!

Saturday was our harvest day ( not that we have a big plantation ) and from our modest mix of green and black vines we harvested around 60 kilo of beautiful sweet grapes. To help ease the burden of 60 kilo of grapes we put a table piled high with fruit on the footpath offering free grapes to any passing citizens and were able to give away 50 odd kilo and the rest Cheri put through the juicer and made into juice…talk about a sugar hit, definitely NOT for diabetics.

Some of our grape harvest, Sept 2011

The juice was the most intense muscat flavour, we think our white grapes are a mix of semillon and chasselas and the red grapes perhaps merlot.

 

Day trips, Circuit 2 from Maison Porte del Marty in Lalinde

Today we will head to Bergerac and South of Lalinde into part of the very large wine growing area of the Dordogne.

Cyrano de Bergerac

Bergerac has a charming ' old town ' that winds it's way down to the river, with a wide choice of outside restaurants and cafés, it's a great place to walk around and then take a café for a bit of people watching. With it's Maison des Vins and Musée du Tabac and the fabled Cyrano, there are some interesting places to get a better understanding of the region. The Dordogne has literally 1000's of old tobacco barns, built from stone or timber, these medium sized, high roofed barns have adjustable ventilators along their sides to manage the air-flow for drying tobacco leaf. The farmers were paid by dry weight. Today, most of these barns sit empty or are convered into holiday houses as the period of tobacco growing has more or less left this region. The cigarette factory in Bergerac which produced the famous Gitane and Gauloisse has left and the tobacco growing industry collapsed with this departure of the factory.

From Bergerac we will head to Monbazillac with it's beautiful Chateau and commanding view over the Dordogne valley. Monbazillac is famous for it's luscious sweet white wine made from sun kissed Semillon grapes, it really is a nectar of the gods. Used extensively when eating foie gras or with one of the many local cheeses, you must try this and free samplings are available at the cellar in front of Chateau Monbazillac . From Monbazillac we will head to Sadillac, a pretty médiéval village and well worth a stop. We then drive through Singleyrac, Flaugeac, Fonroque, to Ste-Eulalie-d'Eymet towards the Lac (Lake) L'Escourroux for a stop at the look out then head back to

Eymet

Eymet, a French Bastide town and fortified Chateau. Today, Eymet is very popular with the British, with a very large permanent population along with the many summer visitors. There are some excellent restaurants on the square and it's a pretty place to sit in the shade, enjoy some excellent local cuisine and admire the surrounding buildings. After our stop here we head off again driving through Razac d'Eymet, St Aubin- de-Cadelech, St Capraise-d'Eymet, Plaissance to stop at Issigeac. This is one of the delights in the area. A médiéval village built on a ' spoke ' design with fabulous stone and wood houses overhanging the small lanes. The village is used extensively for '

Issigeac

period ' TV and Movie production and their Sunday morning market is a real treat, perhaps a bit busy in the summer season but a great atmosphere. It also has a more recent and interesting history with the town hall being the local base for the SS during WWII. After the Normandie landing, many of the local men and members of the résistance were brutally treated then executed by the Gestapo as punishment for the strenuous efforts of the résistance to stop any local troop and tank movements (there was a large Panzer unit stationed here) towards Normandie. Mouleydier a village between Lalinde and Bergerac was bombed, then completely flattened by the German army as part of this punishment. Our property is on Rue des Martyrs du 21 Juin 1944 named in recognition of these brave local men and women.

From our visit to Issigeac we then head to Montaut, Monzac, Bayac and we are back at Port- de- Couze and approaching Lalinde and Maison Porte del Marty.

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Day trips by car from Maison Porte del Marty – Circuit 1

I called into the Lalinde Tourist Office yesterday and they have a new map listing 4 different day trips driving through the beautiful bastide towns of the Dordogne. I've enclosed the main Office de Tourisme link ( there are 2 ) which has a French and English tab that may be helpful for researching the area….but in the short time, I've listed these 4 day trips and using the Office de Tourisme link you can also visit the web page on each of these interesting towns.

Circuit 1 of abut 100 km starts from Maison Porte del Marty at Lalinde and heads off through

Beaumont

Beaumont towards the English Bastide town of Monpazier, one of the plus beau villages de France on their national register, this very well preserved bastide walled town is a delight to visit, from Monpazier drive on to Biron with it's fabulous

Chateau Biron

Chateau and médiéval village, from here we continue south through Vergt -de -Biron to St Avit, after a stroll here, next stop is Bonaguil with it's fortified Chateau of the 15th century, we then move onto Villefranche du Périgord, another Bastide town….but French, not English ! Following on, our next destination is Besse, a médievel village with a Roman and Gothic Abby completed in the 14th century, some of these magnificent buildings took many centuries to build, but most have also been modified over time through wars and expansion !. We then head to

Belves

Belves, another plus beau village perched high above the valley floor with a great surrounding view. Our last stop of the day is Montferrand du Périgord with it's Roman chapelle ” St Christophe ” then back to Lalinde. At all of these places you can stop and enjoy lunch, a coffee or just sit and relax and watch life go by. I'll list the local markets in a later Blog to help tie in some visits with the bustle of a Market Day. You may think ' not another blimmin village '….. it always surprises us how different the local villages are, and how each has it's own unique charm and architecture.

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Autumn arrived yesterday at Maison Porte del Marty

Autumn has arrived at Maison Porte del Marty, the school holidays are over and the many people with summer houses in the area have headed back to Paris, Holland, Belgium, UK…….You realise we are in a semi rural area when you see tractors heading over the bridge with trailers piled high with straw or hay bales and we are also starting to see the fire wood contractors driving by with someone's winter order also piled high. I'm not sure why, but most people seem to buy their firewood (usually oak and aged 3 years ) in 2M lengths then ' the buyers ' cut these logs into smaller 50cm logs to fit their wood burner, that's a serious sweat-up, oak is hardwork !…. Yesterday we had a cool foggy morning that warmed up to a beautiful clear 30C, our grapes and figs are ripe and the big freelons ( hornets ) know the sugar levels are right as they are munching their way through too much of our crop. Cheri has been growing baby tomatoes outside the front door, plus we have quite a few wild plants on the river side from last years crop and trimmings. We can't eat them all at once, so some preserving skills are coming back into play. Along with some basil from our garden and the fresh violet garlic we have some nice preserved tomatoes ready for a later pasta dish….hhmmmm

Food specialties of the Dordogne Vallée – Perigord

Living here in Lalinde, at Maison Porte del Marty, we get to enjoy some of France’s more famous dishes. The Dordogne, or more correctly the Perigord is the home of some of the most prestigious foods of France including truffles (truffes), cépes, foie gras, confit ( twice cooked duck legs ),

Magret

Magret

magret de canard ( duck breast ), gézier ( gizzards – really delicious, like a mild ham), walnut oil, purée de marron (chestnut purée) cabécou(small delicious fresh goats cheese), honey, Monbazillac & Saussignac white dessert wine ( usually served chilled with foie gras ), Bergerac and Pécharmant Rouge ( a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet france ) Bergerac Sec ( sauvignon blanc / semillon blend ) and a wide variety of rosé.

Truffe

Cabécou

Traditionally, goose was used for most foie gras, confit and magret, but today, the majority of these products are from ducks. It may have something to do with the international publicity about the forced feeding of geese. We understand that ducks are just plain greedy and will keep eating as much food you place in front of them giving them ( rather quickly ) very fat (gras) livers (foie) and delicious cuts of breast and legs to enjoy prepared and cooked in the local tradition with the remaining body often used for stock to make a regional specialty, cream of garlic soup.

 

Foie gras avec cépes

Whether bought at the market and cooked at home or eaten in a regional restaurant or ferme auberge, the tastes of the Perigord will make a very favourable impression !