No1 La Malartrie is a lovely stone perigordine house perched above the Dordogne within strolling distance of the famous village of La Roque Gageac. From its terrace It has stunning, uninterrupted views along the river to the village clinging to the cliffs, and across the walnut groves in the valley to the bastide town of Domme.
When you can tear yourself away from the view from the terrace there are any number of wonderful walks to enjoy. An extensive network of marked footpaths through the trees and along the rivers makes finding your way easy. Or just stick to wandering the charming cobbled streets of La Roque Gageac among the exotic planting which thrives in its microclimate between river and rock. Here you'll find a medieval church, boulangerie, post office, gift and wine shops and several lovely restaurants and cafes for enjoying what the French do best! Canoeing is very popular and a lovely way to see the countryside and castles from another angle. Just walk along to the canoe base, paddle down the river and then a minibus brings you back from your chosen stopping point. Take a picnic and stop off at a wee beach for lunch by the river before you finish. Its also a real delight to swim in the Dordogne which is only 50 metres from the house, or its beautiful tributary - the Ceou - with its crystal clear spring-fed waters (a mile away). You can take a boat trip from the village too on the flat bottomed gabarres which used to transport produce up and down the river. Hire bikes nearby for another wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful Dordogne countryside. Several recently completed cycle paths make this safe and easy.
This is a really superb location for a holiday in the Dordogne. it's set in the heart of the most celebrated part of South West France. No fewer than five castles are within a mile or two of the house and the famous medieval town of Sarlat is only 5 miles away. The picturesque vllage of Beynac (2 miles) was used as a film location for 'Chocolat' and Beynac castle is well worth a visit. Castelnaud is just over a miles walk away along a beautiful riverside path through fields of sunflowers. It has a fascinating museum of medieval warfare and a few more lovely lunch options. Marqueyssac has world famous topiary gardens to see and a lovely cafe with stunning views. . Chateau de Milandes was famous as Josephine Baker's residence in the 1930s. The medieval town of Domme is about 3 miles away. Here among the cobbled streets are lots more charming shops and restaurants. You can also visit a fascinating cave system here from its entrance in the town square. The route descends past amazing calcium formations and ends in a spectacular trip back up in a glass-sided lift.
The Dordogne is simply a glorious place to be - a paradise of beautiful tree-clad landscapes studded with medieval castles, ancient churches, bastide towns, and amazing caves. Pretty Perigordine houses abound, with their steep roofs and pigoniers. It is also a place of walnut groves and potagers where local people harness the rich soil and warm climate to grow things for the wonderful local markets. We have been delighted to buy melons fresh from the field from a man with a trailer and earthy hands! And it was a joy too to watch Papi hunting truffles with his lovely dog and an old fork! Everyone has a walnut tree or ten and the nuts are taken to the local walnut mill to be pressed for oil. The area is of course renowned for its food and there is no shortage of restaurants and auberges happy to let you sample the local cuisine, rich in duck, truffles, ceps and walnuts.
People have lived here for 40 000 years and evidence of the past is everywhere. From prehistoric dwellings, castles of the Hundred Years War to the medieval and Renaissance buildings of Sarlat, there are historical sites everywhere you look. The beautifully preserved town of Sarlat, 5 miles away, boasts the highest density of listed medieval buildings in Europe. A visit to Sarlat is a 'must do' - whether for an evening walk through the cobbled streets by gaslight, or a trip to the fabulous market. The Dordogne is world famous for its prehistoric sites. At 15 miles away, the entire Vezere Valley is a Unesco World Heritage site and the home of the National Museum of Prehistory, Lascaux IV and countless fascinating caves.
There can surely be few better locations than La Malartrie from which to steep yourself in the joys of the Dordogne. To wake up to the river shining below and the view unfolding across the walnut groves in the valley is a delight. Perhaps you'll wander along to the boulangerie for the croissants. But I can imagine happily spending a day reading on the terrace, watching the occasion kingfisher dive or canoeists paddle by. And in the evening what better vantage point could there be from which to watch the lights come on in La Roque Gageac over a glass of wine while debating what to do tomorrow.
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