I've Fallen In Love With Another - Country!
That's something I never thought I'd say, but honestly, I've fallen in love with the Dordogne region of France after watching Rudy Maxa's "Smart Travels", and can't wait to visit! After finding the show on YouTube I noticed that Rick Steves also has a show on the Dordogne, so I checked that out too. After the first few minutes of the RS show I knew we'd seen it before, and I was puzzled why I hadn't fallen in love after watching his show. There were plenty of the same shots, many of the same cutesy villages, but I'm guessing the RS show featured a little too much information on foie gras and the geese who supply this delicacy. That and the fact that "Smart Travels" had shots so gorgeous, so timeless and so evocative that I was practically in tears. Really.
I'm a sucker for English quaint, or medieval stonework. Half-timbered house and thatched roofs make me sigh, and looking out at an endless view across row after row of tile or slate roofs is simply a magical experience. And I've found all that and more in the southwest of France, not far from Bordeaux.
Cruising down, or driving along the Moselle River, gazing up at row after row of grapevines, peering up at pointy towers on hilltop castles and winding through half-timbered villages was other-wordly. Driving the Romantic Road went from the drama of the Alps to the charm of medieval villages still fortified with town walls and covered ramparts. And yet this area of France, along and between the Dordogne and Lot rivers, not far from the Atlantic coast, seems to channel everything I love about Umbrian hilltowns and Tuscan beauty with the romance of medieval Germany and a healthy dose of English quaint - in stone and half-timbered houses and villages, into one convenient location.
To sweeten the pot even further the famous caves of Lascaux, with their prehistoric paintings are not far away, and I absolutely LOVE caves! And, amazingly, a walled city long on my bucket list, and one I'd given up hope of ever seeing, Carcassonne, is about 3 hours away.
.I'm so amazed and excited about discovering a new area that seems tailor made for me that my complete and utter lack of French isn't even dampening my enthusiasm. And altho I usually don't have much praise for French food (altho I do confess to loving any French bread or pastry), preferring the simplicity of Italian cuisine to the fussiness of French cuisine, I'm absolutely sure that I'll come home more than happy with the food! I'm sure it won't be necessary, but I could survive on pain au chocolat with no problem at all. Now all I have to do is wait until 2016....or win the lottery! And now I finally understand why some of my friends love France the way I love Italy and England - and we're ALL right!!!
Watch the "Smart Travels" show and let me know if you agree with my new crush on France!