One of the many reasons we wanted to move to France was for better weather, and so far it has not disappointed. Indeed, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it’s actually been a bit too hot – averaging about 32 degrees since we arrived.
We felt the full force of the heat on Monday when we, perhaps a little foolishly, decided to go for an early evening walk. Patricia who owns the studio we are renting told us we were mad but pointed us in the direction of a wooded area, which would offer some respite from the sun. Some how, instead of our short meander around the village as intended, we found ourselves on an hour and a half trek, some of which was in the shade of trees but a large proportion of which was not. The heat was a killer and it was with a large amount of relief when we finally made it home, by which time I was totally dehydrated and my hands had swollen up to twice their usual size.
Therefore, this morning when we decided to go for a walk, we were determined to find something a little less stressful and so delved into our recent purchase, Walking in the Dordogne by Janette Norton. “Walk 18: Around the cliffs of Mauzac” was advertised as “a good walk to do on a hot day as most of the walking is in woodland”.
It was a bit of a drive to get there, but it was worth it.
Mauzac is a pretty little hamlet by the Dordogne river. Back in the 1800s, it had been one of the main ports for shipping local wine to Bordeaux, but today it was home to nothing more than a church, tiny shop and a sailing club.
Starting from the edge of the river, we made our way up a terraced hillside to the top of the cliff where we were greeted with a pretty spectacular view of the river and fields beyond. From here, we tramped our way through green woods and past vines and wheat fields, before arriving back at the river and the entrance to Mauzac some three hours later.
The walk took slightly longer than advertised – mainly because we took a slight wrong turn through a wood, which added at least an extra three quarters of an hour to our time (mental note – next time when buying a book containing walking guides, choose one that isn’t 12 years old and where the route hasn’t changed since it was published!).
This combined with our general lack of fitness meant that we were very much looking forward to finding the “charming little riverside hotel where you can stop and have a well-earned drink” back in the centre of Mauzac.
We were therefore most perturbed to find it was shut. Luckily before panic set in, we turned a corner and before us was the Banana Bar (what a name!) – open and with the offer of a chair to sit on and two cold Leffes to cool us down. Happy days!