Our second day in France and whilst Dad was trying to convince us to head down to the local water park we were making plans to visit the most incredible gardens just down the road near La Roque-Gagaec. This was probably a good idea as the weather just got hotter and hotter as the week went on, until we were barely able to leave the pool for drinks (definitely not complaining).
Marqueyssac gardens are incredible, a mixture of perfectly manicured, clipped box trimmed into amazing swirling patterns and a wilder walk in the wooded gardens, twisting high above the river.The 'roman road' below though was a bit hazardous...obviously the Romans weren't rocking flip flops!
Fortunately not all the paths were Roman!
This was the tomb of Simon de Montford who was a French nobleman in the late 12th/early 13th century. At the time he was responsible for a series of French estates including the nearby, whopping great chateau: Castlenord (but more on that later). Anyway turns out he's got a pretty good resting spot, right on the precipice, overlooking one of the most beautiful views of the local landscape.
The best part is truly the spectacular views from the gardens; you can see far down the river Dordogne, the beautiful villages set into the rock and the incredible landscape. You can even just about see where we ended up for lunch...at the far end of the line of the houses set into the rock right on the river. Perfect for watching the boats go by with a glass of wine.
To fill our tummies after a leisurely morning at the gardens we headed back down into La Roque-Gageac. After scanning a few menus we settled on our choice; picking a restaurant in France is always hard, particularly if you’re in a region popular with tourists. That said the area we were staying in is fiercely passionate about their local ingredients: walnuts, duck, truffles and goats cheese. A quick scan of the menus to check for these delicacies as oppose to the ‘cheeseburger et frites’ quickly taught us when to keep walking and when to fight for a table!
Cheese plates were the order of the day (I love cheese in all its many strengths and shapes), we opted to share two of these and two Salade du Perigord which meant that we would be getting the region on a plate….gizzards and all!
Lunch was served with lots of crusty bread perfect for mopping up leftover dressing at the end. The house wine is nearly always quaffable; with Bergerac being just up the road some great wine comes from the area and we were more than happy to sample!