Tuesday, June 14, 2011


It started out as a wet miserable morning but undeterred we jumped in the Citroen C4 to visit Domme.
This Bastide village sits high on the bluff overlooking the Dordogne valley.

Le Bugue sits on the banks of the Vezere River not that far where it runs into the Dordogne River. Domme overlooks the Dordogne River and Valley with magnificent views regardless of the weather.

Our drive to Domme took us pass many interesting villages but it was too wet to discover them.

There's a chateau in the mist - can you see it in the background?

On the odd occasion, the sun did pop out behind the clouds and scenes like this emerged.
I wish I could remember all the villages we passed by on the way to Domme - I have a feeling that this may have been just before we  crossed the Dordogne River.

We crossed the Dordogne River as the rains fell over the valley.
  The village of Domme has a population of 1000 but you wouldn’t know it on the day we arrived. We walked the streets almost alone. Entering the arched stone porte, you could see how impregnable Domme must have been over the centuries.

Phillip the Bold and King of France was attributed with founding Domme in 1281.

Domme was founded by Phillip the Bold in 1281 when Bastide type villages were being built. Designed on a grid system (as Melbourne is) Domme has the characteristics of a Bastide village with the focal point being its Place de la Halle or market square.

Graffiti survives from when Knights Templer were imprisoned at Domme.
  In 1307, Domme’s prison housed some Knights Templar as they awaited trial and on the walls of the prison still can be seen graffiti left by them. In my research on Domme and Knights Templar, I discovered that a document known as the Chinon Parchment was discovered in the Vatican which seems to have absolved the Knights Templar of the alleged crimes committed by them. Read more about the Chinon Parchment here.
What a shame we weren’t aware of this history prior to our visit to Domme.

The Porte de la Tours entrance to Domme (not my pic, stolen from Google)
The two towers either side were converted to prisons where the Knights Templar were kept in 1307 awaiting their impending interogation.
We parked the car and walked towards the village centre passing the local businesses on the way. Several of these offered some respite from the weather as we popped into one or two to view what they had on offer. Naturally these business live off the tourists but they didn’t seem to be as “in your face” as Rocamadour did several days back. The coffee and a mid-morning snack also went down well in one of the cafes. 

Looking down towards the Porte de la Combe.
The third and last entrance to Domme - Porte de la Bos.
Place de la Halle with the entrance to the Grotte to the right.
(not my pic, stolen from Google)
 Further into the village we entered the main open area to reveal the covered market.
This 17th century Halle had been tunneled out below to offer a further stronghold of protection for the villagers. With the high stone walls and only a couple of entrances, even being perched high on the bluff couldn’t protect the village indefinitely. It did survive most attacks during the 100 Year War and the Wars of Religion. That is until in 1588 a small group of 30 Huguenots climbed the cliffs at night, scaled the walls and opened the gates to allow others to capture the village.

Looking across from Place de la Halle.
 (not my pic, stolen from Google)
 This cavern or Grotte over the Halle which was partially discovered in 1954 was closed on the day we arrived unfortunately but to wander the tiny laneways of Domme was delightful despite the overcast and wet conditions. We were a little low on cash at this time and as we were withdrawing some Euro from what seemed like the only ATM in Domme, they had a power strike and the ATM spat out our card but not our money. Being a little panic stricken wondering if our money may have been taken from our account and not in our hand, we made some phone calls to the numbers on the ATM. This we gave up on due to language difficulties.
Still we could have been down in the Grotte during the power strike if it had been open.

Could this Rolls Royce belong to a wealthy english gentleman
with a holiday residence in Domme?
We walked beyond the square and at the highest most point of Domme is the church (naturally) and a further open area that overlooks the Dordogne River. You could see why Domme was located on this bluff as the view spans as far as the eye can see and any enemies would be seen well before they reached the lower slopes of this Bastide village.

The view from the highest point within the walls of Domme.
Sue hides under a brolly.
 I don’t think the weather on the day improved until late afternoon as we arrived back at our cottage in Le Bugue but it didn’t really matter. Travelling in such conditions does have disadvantages as it makes it difficult to get out of the car to discover more closely the sites you pass.

However, some of the Chateaux and villages take on an airy appearance in the misty drizzle. Somehow these scenes seem more appropriate for the Dordogne which is a rich green throughout.

Better weather would come our way in subsequent days in the Dordogne.

We found this graveyard of Deux Chevaux on the way back to Le Bugue.
More bastide villages to come over our week in Le Bugue and Wednesdays in France.


  1. Interesting post,I have not been to Domme but it looks worth a visit. Like the 2CV's :-)) We could do with that drizzle now!! Diane

  2. Yes, we hear of the lack of rain this summer in France. We had a long drought here for some time. We are still cautious of water usage although our water reserves have improved greatly.

  3. I can just imagine what these places must look like on a sunny day: fabulous. Thank you for showing me this (to me) unknown part of France!

  4. What a pity about the rain but a lot of your photos look fabulous with that lovely misty appearance.
    Love the Rolls and of course the Citroen DC.

  5. Ladybird - is that what I should call you on blog comments? Sometimes I think maybe Sue and I might have seen more of France than the natives, but why wouldn't you want to. It's such a beautiful country.

  6. Dianne, rain or no rain - there's always beauty there. Your photos show that as well.

  7. It looks lovely in the drizzly grey weather. I think sometimes such weather softens the images quite nicely.


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