Posts Tagged ‘St. Cere’
a fun 9 holes of golf, we’ve got the Château de Montal just minutes from Saint Céré. A little known fact: the French Résistance had the Mona Lisa and other treasures of the Louvre hidden here throughout WWII!
Château de Montal’s story goes that Jeanne de Montal started transforming the original medieval fortress into a Renaissance palace as a gift for her son, Robert, who was off in Italy fighting with Francis I. The mansion was finished in 1534 and Robert’s mother waited, watching from a high window for her son’s return. Regretfully, only his body came back and she had the window blocked up and beneath it carved: “Hope No More”.
Which is also a befitting epitaph for my golf game!
à bientôt! Jack
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THE CHARMING 9th CENTURY MARKET TOWN of St. Céré is less than 5 miles east of the Dordogne River. Built along the Bave River it was defended by a series of castles, especially St. Laurent les Tours whose two towers look down a steep hill onto the village’s old tiled rooftops.
St. Céré owes it name to the martyrdom of Saint Spérie in 780. Born the daughter to the then lord of St. Laurent, Sérenus, Spérie pledged herself to God at a very early age. When Spérie refused a pre-arranged marriage to a local nobleman she was beheaded by her own brother and buried on the riverbank. Later, a chapel was erected directly over her grave which became a very important stop for pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela. Within the church her crypt is still accessible and can be visited today.
Taking a coffee in the Place du Mercadial surrounded by its middle-age houses or walking through the twisting village streets soaking up the history is a pleasure not to be missed.
Join a group of riders on a fall mountain bike (VTT) ride 19k from Mézels to Saint Céré along the Causse (Palisades) just above the Dordogne River. You’ll pass through 3 of France’s most beautiful villages: Carennac, Loubressac and Autoire before arrival in St. Céré:
With such close proximity to the Dordogne River by the early 15th century St. Céré became a very important crossroads for trading merchants from Asia, Africa and Northern Europe and that tradition continues today with a very large open market here on every 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month…
We will look forward to seeing you there!
Bon marché et à bientôt! Jack
PACKING for a holiday in France’s beautiful Dordogne River Valley is simple. Regardless of whether you prefer staying in a château or camping, the accepted attire in this region is: casual. If you plan spending time on our rivers bring some good waterproof sandals or slippers and compliment these with some comfortable and sturdy walking shoes for the cobblestone streets. Pack some Ziploc bags in various sizes for stuff you want to protect on the river, these are difficult to find here and will prove very handy if you’re kayaking or canoeing. Ahhh, c’est la vie en France!
YOUR STYLE IS YOUR OWN but be sure to check our weather link to see what temperatures you might experience. Generally, we’d suggest you think layers, don’t forget a good polar fleece and the rain jacket. There are large supermarkets throughout all major cities and rural areas of France so there will be no problems restocking sundries and other personal necessities during your stay.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS OUT! It is virtually non-existent in this region so forget ideas of using a bus and local taxi services are very expensive. The ability to really see and enjoy the medieval villages & pre-historic wonders of this region require a car rental (that is… unless you’re seriously into cycling or are incredibly good on your feet and have the time!) Check-out the car rental/ lease options on this site.
CAMPING EQUIPMENT HERE IS NOT EXPENSIVE and you can eliminate the hassles of both transport and baggage costs by purchasing your gear locally. If considering the rental of a camp ‘chalet’ be sure to confirm with campground operator that pillows, bedding, towels, etc., are available (many campgrounds expect you to bring your own!). Our best outfitter/ camping/ sporting equipment superstore chain is: Decathlon and there is one located in Brive-la-Gaillarde, it’s just minutes away from a Carrefour hyper-market.
LEAVE MOST THE CASH AT HOME it is becoming increasingly hard to exchange foreign currencies and travelers checks for Euros in French banks. You will need cash while here because many rural businesses don’t accept credit cards. We suggest you pull Euros out of ATM’s, as required, so don’t forget to bring your credit or debit cards’ PIN numbers with you.
DRIVERS LICENSE yours, if valid, works in France. There is no need for an International Drivers License.
MOBILE TELEPHONE is yours a tri-band or smart phone? Call your provider to find out if it will work in Europe then request the unlock code. Once in France you can easily purchase affordable pre-paid rechargeable ‘sim-cards’ at both major supermarket chains here: Carrefour and E.Leclerc. These cards are a perfect low cost solution for calls within France and start at: €15.
LOCAL CUISINE IS EXCEPTIONAL and déjeuner (lunch) is the main meal of the day. For the best values try fixed multi-course menus instead of ordering à la carte.
Here are some of our favorite restaurants:
Aux Chant Des Oiseaux (05 65 10 82 47)
Velouté (05 55 91 14 51)
Prudhomat just below Château de Castelnau:
Les Remparts (05 65 38 52 88)
Saint Jean Lespinasse next to Château Montal:
Les Trois Soleils de Montal (05 65 10 16 16) Michelin rated
Martel on a 15th century farm:
Le Moulin à Huile de Noix (05 65 37 40 69)
Local wines? try the wines from Glanes: blanc, rosé, et rouge/ All Great!
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL? Is whenever you can escape! When asked… we suggest you try and avoid the peak summer holiday period which runs from the 3rd week in July through the last weekend in August. Outside that period, from spring into fall, you’ll enjoy having the rivers, villages and other rural attractions virtually to yourself and airfares are more favorable as well.
OUR BEST TIP? Have fun discovering the Dordogne River Valley, it’s magic!
à bientôt, Jack