Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015 - Monbazillac, Eymet & Issigeac - Dennis & Karen arrive

Dennis and Karen are arriving at Bergerac's train station at 11:30 so we've planned a day in the Bergerac area.  It's about an hour from Bezenac, although it's only 50 km away. Their train is on time but the toilets cost 50 cents, so we head out for our first stop Monbazillac.

We are immediately in wine country with vineyards on every side of us as we go the 15 or so to Monbazillac which is both a restored castle and a wine cooperative just south of Bergerac.  It's large parking lot has a fleet of old cars parked in it. A touring club we're told later in the shop.
Dennis and his car

We are too late to visit the castle (it's closed for lunch) but have enough time to taste some Monbazillac which is a sweet after-dinner wine. The wine cooperative also has Bergerac wines which they produce and we taste both a red and a rose which are both dry. Dennis buys a bottle of Monbazillac for us to drink at home.
Nancy, Lynn, Dennis & Karen tasting wine at Monbazillac
Then we spend a few minutes wandering around the castle grounds. This castle is a combination of fortifications (like the dry moat) and Renaissance pleasure palace. It has been restored by the wine cooperative. There are beautiful views from its terraces.
Monbazillac chateau and its vineyards

view from Monbazillac
Next stop is Eymet but we stop just short of the town at a roadside picnic area to have lunch.

Eymet is another bastide town and has all the elements necessary. The church and ruined castle are outside the main center of town.  The market square is still partly surrounded by arcaded houses, but it is a disappointment because they've taken out the corner houses in order to allow roads to enter the center. Cars now park all around the center of the square.
ruined castle
It's quite busy in the cafe's in the square as we arrive at Sunday lunch time.  But eventually many of the cars leave and the square becomes very quiet.

Arcaded 15th century houses on the town square

At some later date, someone combined two houses and put an unusual gabled roof over both houses to join them together

The square is missing its covered "halle" but has a fountain that is a relatively recent addition.

The tourist office is closed on Sunday, but under the arcade, there is a pile of leaflets describing a walk around Eymet,. So off we go to explore the sights of Eymet.
Not mentioned on the tour, but we thought it was cool, even though probably a 20th century building

bell from the protestant church

After the wars of religion, a protestant church was built within the town center

Eymet had many factories. This sign is on the side of one of the former factory buildings

Original members of the bastide were given plots of land 6 meters wide on which to build.
This row of houses shows 7 houses built at the time of the bastide. The house where everyone is standing
has combined 3 houses into one. Notice the different levels of overhang on each house
At the river, which is just a block off the town square, we see swans preening in the afternoon sun.

Issigeac is a very small circular town centered on its church. This afternoon it is sleepy with only a few people Sunday strolling in pairs or threes.

The church and town square

wandering the town streets

On the way home we see these fields of poppies for Judy

Home for grilled pork tenderloin for dinner.

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