Thursday, May 26, 2022

Le Vieux Pont de Bergerac

In my extensive quick and dirty research about this bridge, I saw that it's also called le pont St.-Jean. I don't know what the Bergeracois call it. Probably just le vieux pont. Opened in 1825, it's the older of the two bridges that cross the Dordogne River in central Bergerac. The newer bridge is visible in the photo's background. From the pictures I see on the web, the sleek modern street lamps on the bridge in this photo were replaced with retro nineteenth century lamps at some point. A more appropriate look, I suppose.

The Old Bridge at Bergerac, taken from the right bank of the Dordogne. Digitized color slide, 1989.

This morning when I got out of bed, I glanced out the north window as I usually do and noticed un chevreuil (a roe deer) standing in the north forty munching on the little weeds that grow in the lawn. Our fence is supposed to keep the deer out, but there's a breach in one spot and the deer found it. I closed it off once last year, but they obviously pushed through. It's not the first time. I'll be out there today trying again with a stronger patch. I went outside, opened the back gate, and Bert and I shooed the deer out into the vineyard.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Down in the valley

The Dordogne Valley, that is. I took this photo from up at the Château de Monbazillac, so I'm assuming those vineyards produce grapes that go into Monbazillac wines. I'm also assuming that complex of buildings in the foreground is a winery.

Vineyards near Monbazillac. I tried to identify the winery on Google maps with no luck. Digitized color slide, 1989.

Monbazillac wines are, from what I read, blends of mostly three grapes: muscadelle, sauvignon, and semillon. Other grape varieties (chenin being one) are permitted in smaller quantities.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


I mentioned yesterday that we stopped in at the Château de Monbazillac on our way to Bergerac. We were the only visitors at the winery (it was early November). An older woman greeted us and presided over our tasting. I knew nothing about the wine beforehand. We noticed that it tasted very sweet and either Ken or I mentioned this to the woman. Non monsieur, she said with authority, il est liquoreux ! That means it has more than 45 grams of residual sugar per liter. Just don't call it sweet. So we learned something new. I'm sure we bought at least one bottle before heading out.

The Château de Monbazillac overlooking the Dordogne Valley near Bergerac. Digitized color slide, 1989.

Monbazillac is a white wine and, while it's less famous than the high end Sauternes from farther south, it can stand in for them admirably. We've enjoyed Monbazillac with foie gras during the holiday season many a time.

Since we visited the château in 1989, the place has gone upscale. The building was renovated (and is undergoing another renovation now) and began to offer rooms (bed and breakfast, I think) to tourists and meeting rooms to organizations. The grounds were also upgraded to serve as a venue for parties and other events. I saw all this on a television show some years ago.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Pique-nique sur Lot

During our road trips in France, Ken and I would have a picnic lunch whenever it was nice enough outdoors. We'd stop at a market or a store and a bakery along our route for provisions, then find a spot to eat at mid-day. If we didn't find an actual picnic spot with tables, we'd sit on a park bench or on the ground, if necessary. Here's Ken opening a bottle on a bench somewhere along the Lot River.

Ken opens a bottle of red at our picnic spot overlooking the Lot River. Digitized color slide, 1989.

After lunch that day, we made our way north toward the vineyards of Monbazillac in the Dordogne Valley. We stopped at the Château de Monbazillac and tasted the wine (a sweet white, similar to Sauternes), then headed a little farther north to Bergerac to see the town and find a hotel for the night.

Our lunchtime view. I'm sure we recovered that cheese box that fell on the ground. Digitized color slide, 1989.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Pizza day

Saturday was pizza day. We had some leftover grilled eggplant to use up, so we added some tomato sauce, roasted chicken tenders, bell peppers, black olives, and a southern Italian cheese called Caciocavallo des Pouilles, also in need of finishing up. The crust was my standard home-made pizza dough.

We each ate one of these, a delicious and satisfying Saturday lunch.

It's supposed to be another warm/hot day, but storms are predicted for the evening hours and a cool-down is expected to follow. Maybe next week we can get the vegetable seedlings in the ground.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

And another

Old favorite, that is. In 1989, Ken and I drove from Grenoble through Provence and the Pays d'Oc, spending nights in Nîmes and Castelnaudary, then westward through Toulouse for another night in Bergerac. After that, we skirted around Bordeaux, headed up through Médoc to the Atlantic coast and stayed a night in the seaside town of Soulac-sur-Mer. Then we headed up to the Pointe de Grave (why is there no accent grave on the word grave?) to take a ferry across the Gironde estuary, a distance of about 6.5 km or 4 miles, to Royan. Just after leaving the ferry terminal, we saw this:

Seen on the jetty at the Pointe de Grave. Digitized color slide, 1989.

Our road trip continued northerly to Cognac, Saintes, Poitiers, Chartres, and on to Paris. Interestingly, we actually drove through Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher on our way north that year. We took little notice, having no idea that we'd end up moving here in 2003, fourteen years later.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Another old favorite

This is one of my favorite photos from our trip to southwestern France in 1989. A well-dressed woman standing outside her car talking to the woman who's pumping her gas on a street in Toulouse. I don't know what they were looking at that caught their attention. The gas pump is on the sidewalk, probably outside a mechanic's garage or a convenience shop. That is, or was, common in urban areas where space is limited. From what I can tell (the logo on the hubcaps), the car is an Opel Corsa.

Faites le plein ! (Fill 'er up!). Digitized color slide, Toulouse 1989.

We awoke to lightning and thunder this morning as a storm moved through. We got some rain, but not a whole lot. According to the weather radar, the bulk of the storm was to our west and we just caught the eastern edge of it.