Walk 21/2012 – Weekend in France

Saturday 6th October 2012

Please note Alan began his day with room service – well, a cup of tea being taken to him.

Roger scooted down to the town first thing, to bring back the croissant order. Today, it was decided, we would be tourists. Roger took us to Bretenoux market, (more shopping girls!) Rosemarie, Moira and Sue getting a lesson in the difference between pantaloons and pantaquarts and ending up buying a pair each as a sale was fully intended by the stall holder.

Carennac was the next stop, which claims to be one of the most attractive villages to be found in the area. The doorway to the 11/12thC priory church has a impressive sculptured arch above the doorway of an enthroned Christ surrounded by symbols of evangelists and apostles conversing in groups of two.

Poor Alan then had to negotiate a narrow suspension bridge and even narrower streets through Gluges,(a beautiful setting that lies along the river at the foot of the cliffs) where we pulled over to take in a wide view of the Dordogne river, before arriving at Creyse. Here we were to take a traditional French lunch, but things didn’t quite go to plan regarding the 5 courses, (well it was can–ard to make the garcon understand us!) but an enjoyable time all the same. Creyse lies at the foot of a rocky spur on which stands a Romanesque church with its curious twin apses.

After lunch we headed for Gouffre de Padirac – a wonderful gallery of limestone masses. The steps took us down 103 metres to the subterranean river, where a boat took us to the end of the chasm and to the giant 60m stalactite (I’m sure we all know mites go up and tites come down!) Words cannot describe this wonder and words also failed us when we had climbed back up the 360 steps! Although the black jelly baby like sculpture didn’t keep us speechless for long.

Another great day was rounded off with an evening of French bread, cheese, pate and wine.

Report – Sue

Pictures – Alan

The river in Bretenoux.
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Buildings around the market at Bretenoux.
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The Church doorway in Carennac.
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The river at Carennac.
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Some of the attractive houses in Carennac.
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Our lunch time restaurant in Creyse.
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The centre of Creyse.
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To enter the caves at Gouffre de Padirac you have to decend into a very large hole. Most of us took the steps but there is a lift.
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The trip into the caves includes a boat trip.
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The jelly baby sculture certainly generated some interesting suggested interpretations – ranging from the french tart bending over the freezer cabinet to the black madonna.
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Part of the gardens overlooked by the jelly baby.
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