Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Arriving at Le Bugue for a Week

It was time to turn Tommy back on and head to Le Bugue – we needed to be there before 4.00 pm to meet our hosts for the next week.
The drive from Rocamadour took us pass the outskirts of Sarlat entering Le Bugue from the east. We travelled down its narrow main street with hardly enough room for two oncoming large trucks to pass each other. Many of the shops were boarded up and the general impression was that Le Bugue had seen better days. This was not the case as we would later learn. Le Bugue had attractions of its own but also it was a great spot to circle out from as we would discover over the following week.

As you can see from the sign post, Le Bugue offered many outgoing roads to villages to explore.
On this particular day, there was a Brocante in town, but that will come in a later post.

Sue had reservations about being on the village outskirts rather than in the village proper. We were probably no more than maybe two kms out in what seemed like a newer development area but the cottage was old and beautifully renovated. It had a serene feeling once you entered the front gate. It had some land around giving a feeling of space and openess.

Although the old stone, high roofed building had two levels, we didn't have access to the upper level and no one lived there. We never discovered its purpose. Our hosts Sonia and Minko were from the Nederlands and had settled in Le Bugue several years back. They were the perfect hosts and we discovered how nice they were as Sue's birthday drew closer.
Just a quick word about our past hosts on previous trips - we have been fortunate to have met the most wonderful people along the way. In Italy and throughout France. Some are locals and others from other countries having settled in France. All seem so happy in their lifestyle.

Our home for the next full week.
And when Sue saw the kitchen, the fact that we were not actually in the village wasn’t an issue anymore. Sonia and Minko greeted us at the property to show us around and introduce us to the home we were to spend the next week. It had two generous bedrooms, a huge living area that flowed to the open kitchen which was once the cow shed. Just beyond the kitchen was a great al fresco area where we spent several sunny afternoons sipping on a glass of wine or three, well maybe even four but who is counting. We never did!!!
Occasionally during our stay we would purchase the local Foie Gras, the liver of force fed geese or duck. It is believed the technique originated as far back as 2500 bc with the Egyptians. The practice maybe contoversial but the produce itself is too die for, and you may if you eat too much.

Sue enjoys relaxing with a book before cooking up a storm in the kitchen - the great lump of rock under the kitchen bench was part of the old animal enclosure. Just out the back door is where we would enjoy the sunny afternoons drinking local wine with cheese, pate or foie gras which the area is well known for.
Another view of the kitchen where we would purchase the produce of the region
to enjoy in our comfortable cottage.

Many a bottle of wine was enjoyed here.

And just our luck - this early Citroen truck was parked outside the local Cave (wine cellar) where we bought most of our wine over the week in Le Bugue.
After being greeted by our hosts, it was time to drive into the village for provisions for the night's meal plus the ongoing provisions for the next few days. Sue made a beeline for the local Boucherie and made friends straight away with the local Butcher. She does that. He was quite a gregarious soul and happy to offer Sue much advise on his produce, even to hints on how to prepare and cook it.

The bridge at Le Bugue was under renovation with a widening process for pedestrian traffic. The existing walkway was so narrow that you could feel the air turbulence from cars passing closely by.

Over the next week we would discover the many Cafes
hidden away in the side streets and along the riverbank.

We found a local Café that had wifi so we could communicate with home and I could stay in touch with work plus I found the local Bike Shop across the road. The proprietor stood in the doorway with a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He must have been well into his seventies. He had a smile for me. Unfortunately though, me with no French and he with no English, it was frustrating not to communicate with this gentleman. I fantasized that he must have had a rich racing history in his past. I imagined he must have ridden with the best and competed in many great classics and of course Le Tour.
In reality, he was probably just a local rider that decided on his retirement, to open the bike shop in his home town. I’ll never know the truth due to my lack of the language. He did however take an interest in my single speed bike that would take me to many wonderful rides in the local area.

My local Bike Shop. The owner watches the village go about its daily life.
I wish I had the opportunity to listen to some of his memories.

We were told that this was one of the oldest businesses in Le Bugue - the local Cobbler.
It was time to leave the village and relax back at the cottage for our first night at Le Bugue in the Dordogne. Like Cahors, Le Bugue sits on the bend or horseshoe of a river.

The Vezere river zig-zags it way through the region and we crossed it many times, in fact, we crossed every time on our way to and from the cottage to the village. The Vezere passed our cottage not more than 200 metres away. It was peaceful where we were and it was time to relax on this first night in Le Bugue.

Yep, that's me relaxing with a glass of wine after the drive from
Cahors to Rocamadour and finally to Le Bugue for a full week.
Next week we branch out to the surrounding district to some of the amazing sights of the Dordogne and along the Vezere River.


  1. I enjoyed being transported to France this evening.

  2. Same for us - Each Wednesday its like returning to France and I guess we'll be doing that for some Wednesdays to come. Currently we are half way thru our second trip (2008) and there's still 2009 and 2010 to come.
    Thanks for reading.

  3. Lovely post and most interesting as always. You guys looks so settled and natural in the gite. I think that your future is a French home. Doesn't a never ending summer of 6 months in France and 6 in Oz sound just about perfect?!

  4. Craig - Sue would agree with you.
    Did you know that as an Aussie, I believe we can't stay longer than 3 months.

  5. I also enjoy your wednesday stories. You are no ordinary tourists I must add.
    (When you will retire, I would think it will not be a problem if you want to stay longer than 3 months anywhere in Europe. You will just need a 6 months visa).

  6. I think Sue and I would consider a 6 mth stay Nadege. Two summers in one year would be easy to live with. Did it once in my late 20s with a summer at home and a summer in San Francisco - it was noyce!!!!!

  7. I don't think it's anything unusual for Aussies Leon. Anyone outside of the EU falls into the same category. Check with Walt and Ken as I'm pretty sure that USA citizens and Australian citizens are treated equally (except perhaps for student visas in the UK where it's probably a bit easier than the rest of the EU due to our old ties). 6 months should be pretty easy after documenting enough money and a ticket home.

  8. your stories get me so excited Leaping. I cant wait to see this region in August and with luck live there next year.


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