The Dordogne River

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Back Roads France is an Eyewitness Travel book with 21 different drives throughout the country.  We have driven bits and pieces of several routes and are currently on the Dordogne River which has taken us to some towns and scenery we wouldn’t ordinarily find.   France has a group of just over 150 villages that have a “Most Beautiful Village” designation.  They must satisfy strict criteria such as population no more than 2000, heritage, quality of buildings, etc.  Several of these villages are along the route. 
Darn!  Just this moment another RV pulled in so close to our side that I don’t see how they will open their door without banging us.  That’s one thing about Europeans, they don’t mind being really close.  I guess we are used to lots of space in the U.S. and they aren’t.  And now the man just backed up too far and hit the service pedestal behind him.  Okay, that shook him off and he went elsewhere.  Guess he doesn’t want to get in trouble for the damage.  The Australians we met a couple of weeks ago have a German plated RV.  He said one of the advantages of that is no one wants to get close to him.   As you might guess, we get noticed.  We’ll be sitting in the RV eating and a couple will be walking around Tulip and we’ll hear “Cawlo-raado”.  And some people will kind of hang around until we come out and talk.  We have met many nice people just because of our plates.  And quite a few honk at us and wave.  Actually that has happened mostly in France.   Maybe it’s because we are mainly in smaller towns.  One man honked and gave us the peace sign and a few days ago a lady honked and waved so enthusiastically that I thought she must have some connection to Colorado.   I have been very surprised at how nice and polite the French people have been in stores; customers and employees alike. 
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The Sainte-Marie Abbey in Souillac was just a block from the free Aires and there is no admission fee to see the inside. There are elaborate stone carvings of biblical figures just inside the door.  A short walk in the opposite direction led us to a big park along the Dordognes.

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If Wisteria would grow in Colorado, I would have never left Smile .  Can you imagine having a patio with a cover like this?
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This castle is built on the cliffs above………
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this town whose name I can’t remember. 
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We got off the route for a bit and this is just another of the many villages built along the limestone cliffs of the river.  Every town is striking even if they aren’t listed in the guide book.
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And here was the view last night from the Aires in St. Cyprien.  This morning we went to the Carrefours supermarket in town and they have designated an overnight area for RV’s with electric hookups.  There was also a vending machine setup with a washer and dryer in the parking lot.  The washing machine is bigger than the normal tiny ones but it was 8 EU for one load (close to $12) just to wash.  Carrefours, along with some of the other major supermarkets, have gas stations where the fuel is usually 1.29 a liter.  This is versus 1.47 on freeways and about 1.39 in small towns.  The savings is about $1 a gallon using the supermarket gas stations.  It’s just that they don’t always have a human cashier to take our cash or debit/credit card.  Our cards don’t work at the pumps.    
And now we were just passing through the town of LeBugue when we saw a wonderful Aires right in town on the banks of the river in a huge grassy area with lots of trees.  There’s probably room for 200 RV’s.  These towns are so smart – look at the business they receive.  France and Germany are the two main countries for plentiful Aires/Stellplatz. This Aires is free and so is the water and dump. 

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