Friday, May 15, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015 - Lascaux II (what a difference) & Terrasson

Today is Pat and Chuck's last day here and Chuck really wanted to see Lascaux II. So off we go to Montignac to buy tickets - we hope. Our last experience here was a long line and half-hour wait to get tickets and no English tour.  This time it's completely different. Two people in line ahead of us, tickets available for an 11:50 tour (and we're buying our tickets at 11:30), rock-star parking at the entrance to the cave, and no hordes of people milling about waiting for their turn to be herded into the cave.  So pleasant. What's the difference?  No one's on school holidays anymore. It's really quiet in the tourist spots. Great for us!

Chuck likes this cave best of all. Dave likes all the caves, including this one. Each one presents a different set of puzzle pieces to the life of Cro-Magnon men and all are worth seeing.

Where to next, since we are so successful at seeing Lascaux II?  Pat bought a postcard which had pictures of 5 places on it - the usual castles - Beynac, Castelnaud, les Millandes - and La Roque-Gageac. But the 5th place was not on our radar. Terrasson. Never heard of it. But it's only 15 km from Montignac, so we head there for lunch.

What a discovery! This little town deserves to be one of France's most beautiful. Perhaps, as a town, it is too large. But somebody should have noticed how cool this town is.  The old town sits on one side of the Vézere river and, according to a local woman we pass sitting outside the only open café we've seen, they've been fixing up the town a lot in recent years. It certainly could use some tourist conveniences - shops and cafés - and hopefully these will come as people discover this lovely town dominated by its huge church.  We park, eat lunch on a bench overlooking the river, then plunge into the town after consulting a woman in a small shop that sells postcards. Of course it's up a hill, steeply up a hill.

this is the easy way up?
We are trying to decide which of two ways up we should take when a women with an American accent calls down from a second floor balcony and points us up to the right. This woman is from Minnesota and she and her husband bought this house 15 years ago as a summer home for their retirement.
Not just steep, but cobblestones

We start up the hill - and it's steep.

It opens mid-way up onto a lovely square dominated by the towering church on the levels above. While noting here is open, it's clear that this square has been recently renovated and the possibility of a thriving tourist center can be seen by the surrounding buildings.
Looking up toward the church

We continue up and are rewarded at the top by reaching the church and, lovely surprise, a fountain for cooling off after this hot climb on this very hot (upper 80s) day.

The church is locked, so we can't see what's inside. But it does have 4 nice bells for Clark.
I'm sorry Clark, the angle from the front of the church makes it hard to see the bottom row of bells.

The view is worth the climb. The river, the black slate roofs below us, the old bridge (undergoing a facelift).
view from the church

medieval bridge
Now for the climb down. We head along the parapets that cling to the cliff face.
Lovely new terraces invite lingering over the view

There are a lot of steps to get down the cliff face, but they are new with good hand rails and they are not steep. But it's still a hot job to get to the bottom.

There's a garden, supposedly worth visiting, but we have to get back to Beynac so Pat and Chuck can see this castle before they leave tomorrow.  While they're in the castle, I have a beverage and do some needlework at the café near the castle entrance.

We make it an early night so Chuck and Pat can finish their packing. Their train for Paris leaves in the morning.

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