Seasons of the Dordogne

Being New Zealanders from Auckland in the North, we don’t really experience the change of seasons with most native trees being ever green, and apart from a smattering of oaks, poplars etc our woods don’t change a lot. Here in the Dordogne at Latitude 45°N the seasons are very pronounced, we have enclosed some photo’s taken throughout the year to give you some idea of the beauty of this wonderful part of the world. People ask us why we live here in the Dordogne and not in NZ, which is also a beautiful place. For us the seasons, the fabulous stone houses and contrast of the land along with a history going back 40,000 years is something so very different from our New Zealand life. Enjoy some views of our immediate Canton / district. We have been amazed at the colours of spring, even the field grasses flower in pretty lilac, pinks and whites, as one tree or shrub loses it’s spring bloom, another steps right up to take over the show….. we have around 8 weeks of an endless picture of spring.  After the splash of autumn colours, our winter vista is on the stark side with our surrounding forest losing all their leaves by late autumn. But we always know this is an interlude to the forest rewakening in early spring which begins with a slight green / lime tinge, followed by an unfurling of leaves that turns a naked winter tree into a soft moving celebration of spring, and all in 4 or 5 days. It seems 2 out of 3 tree’s have  a spring blossom, every corner of every road explodes with colour, the paddocks disappear over the horizon in an array of colour….summer settles down to a good solid green but we are fortunate to live in an area which crops sunflowers, sometimes miles of them, all smiling and following the sun around, Some of the varieties have a flower bigger than a large platter, some as small as a side plate, all yellow & gold, vibrant and magnificent.  Autumn brings the golds, reds, crimsons and yellows of the end of season, something to celebrate along with the harvesting of the grapes from the  endless vineyards, the picking of walnuts, apples, pears, kiwifruit, hazelnuts, figs, tobacco leaf, chestnuts and the bounties of autumn vegetables that are preserved and bottled for the winter.                                          Every good French citizen seems to have a huge pottager ( garden ) growing tonnes of vegetables, yet go to a restaurant and it’s usually green beans, french fries or pan fried potatoes…we always ask ourselves  ” where do all the salads and produce go ? ”  Our area was built on high quality paper production, forestry( chestnut and oak ), wine, the production of oak wine barrels,  walnuts, tobacco, sunflowers for oil and seed, maize, duck and goose farming for confit and foie gras. The Dordogne river has been a trading river since time can be counted, ancient man lived here 40,000 years ago living off the bountiful land……today  the farmers still till and cultivate these rich alluvial river beds.