We have been in France for just under a month and already I’ve done two trips back to the UK for work. Coupled with this I’ve had multiple deadlines, we’ve been house hunting and we’re still trying to adjust to our new life. To say I’m feeling like I need a holiday is an understatement.
So yesterday, I decided to reward myself with a day off. A whole day where I didn’t even think about turning the computer on and doing some work; a whole day without checking my emails. I didn’t even use my free time “productively” to get through the pile of trade magazines that have been gathering on my desk, or sort through a pile of paperwork that needs filing.
Nope. I didn’t do any of that. Instead, Dennis and I headed off into the countryside. We had seen a house that looked interesting near Verteillac, which gave us the perfect excuse to stop off in this beautiful village for some lunch.
Verteillac can be found on the D708 about 50km west of Perigueux. It’s a tiny little village with a population of less than a thousand, but is very popular with holidaymakers and offers four great eateries and a superb little treasure trove of a brocante (it also has a brocantes market on the first Sunday of every month).
While the house was not great (yet another dud to add to the list), the lunch was perfect, and we spent a wonderful two hours chatting away over a glass of wine and doing a spot of people watching. A group of British retirees on a table near to us provide much amusement, not least down to one woman who was incredibly posh and had a wonderful turn of phrase. Among several of the snippets we overheard from their table was: “Sorry I couldn’t make it to your party, old chap. Hope it went like a bomb”. Brilliant. I am so going to add that to my own repertoire!
As usual, Den’s art work caused a stir. You could almost here the comments rippling around the restaurant as we took our seats. In London, full sleeves are everywhere. In France, particularly rural France, not so much. I suspect that much of the Dordogne is now talking about that man with all those tattoos.
Lunch was followed with a meander around the village where we found an absolute gem of a shop called Merlaud. From the front it looked like a normal village store, but upon entering it turned out to be a bit of an Aladdin’s cave. Food and drink at the front; household items and DIY in the middle; electrical goods and garden equipment out the back. We have clocked this as potentially being a very handy place to know.
By now, the sun was well and truly overhead and it must have been about 35 degrees. Sweltering hot, there was only one thing for it – find somewhere to cool off. We had a vague recollection of having driven through Lisle and seen people swimming in the river there. It was kind of on the way home and so we decided to stop off there on the way back. What a grand idea that was.
Lisle is situated on the banks of the river Dronne. A natural beach has formed there, which has been turned into a great place to hang out on a sunny day. On offer is canoeing, a slide and a diving board, while the campsite and restaurant over the other side are on hand for food and drink. We had a blissful hour here, eating ice cream and paddling in the river.
And then to home, where we topped off the day with a glass of wine. All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday.