Subject: Notes from the road: Dordogne finally!
Hi Ziners,

We are in Beynac at the Hotel du Chateau, a friendly place overlooking the Dordogne River.

We had spent a few days in the Vezere Valley but we have moved on. Before we left the valley of prehistory, we visited Grotte de Font de Gaume, one of the last polychrome painted caves. After seeing that one, we have seen all 3 (or replicas) in Europe - replicas of Lascaux and Altamira and the real thing at Font de Gaume. It was interesting to see the authentic cave art - done by humans long gone. However at Lascaux we were able to have a tour in English. At Font de Gaume, we muddled through with our French. Only 180 or so are admitted daily. Glad we asked the tour company to book for us.

The hotels that the Sentiers De France, our tour company has chosen are great. Small, 2 star with good food. We are finding the route interesting and not overly challenging. Yes, we are tired but ready for a good meal! It takes the problem out of it all when the meal is at the hotel where you are staying and the instructions tell us which menu is included! Beverages aren't but usually 3 or 4 courses are. It is easy to rationalize the necessity of the large meal after the walk.

The paths are through forests, along small D roads or even smaller. The instructions are good - written "watch outs" as well as a map provided by Les Sentiers. The colour coded randonees (footpaths) are well marked, and we particularly appreciate the x's, the don't go that way!

Weather has been ideal for walking - a bit cool but bright. We carry raingear, of course. Tomorrow we visit Castelnaud, Roque-Gageac, and Domme before we go to our hotel in Vitrac.

We have found the combination of some taxis - today to a propane (gas) depot about 10 kms. from Les Ezyies - with walking a great combination. Originally we thought it was coping out but really, it works well. We have been able to cover a lot more ground and include the Vezere and its prehistoric sites with the Dordogne.

La Roc St. Christophe was a surprise. We hadn't expected the size, the importance or how interesting it would be. That it was inhabited from prehistory into the medieval times was fascinating.

Still to see - Sarlat, Rocamadour, Souillac, Martel!

Cheers, Frances, walking in France