Our local town is Montignac-sur-Vezere which is a medieval delight full of character and
interesting places to explore. As its name would suggest it is on the Vezere River which at present is quiet, but after heavy rain, the level can rise alarmingly! (It’s not always glorious sunshine here, but that’s why everything is so wonderfully green and lush!). In 1960 the flood levels rose to first floor level – but fortunately flood defences have now been put in place so the threat isn’t so severe. In the picture below, lower down, you can just make out earlier levels in 1944 and 1843.
Montignac actually goes back much farther than the ‘modern’ town we see today and has its roots deep in prehistory. The occupation of the area dates back to the Palaeolithic and the Romans built a villa or two here as well – obviously it was just as a desirable location then as now! Thanks to the geology of the region (limestone) it is also the area in which numerous caves and caverns are to be found, some magnificently painted and engraved – the most famous of which has to be Lascaux – known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Prehistory’. Due to deterioration of the original cave, it is a facsimile we visit today – Lascaux II. Incredibly accurate and produced without the aid of computers and the techniques and materials used by our ancestors were faithfully adhered to! It is indeed a work of art in itself. Excitingly a new Lascaux project is underway – Lascaux 4, but that’s another story.
Montignac is often ‘home’ for our Tour guests and during our 4 night, 5 days Tours the base for the first two nights is Sarlat – another gem of a medieval town. The second two nights are spent in Montignac.
Our favourite Hotel for our guests is HOTEL LA ROSERAIE, right in the centre of town, restaurants and shops close by. We know our guests will receive a warm welcome from Katia & Thierry Geudj, the owners and will be well looked after.
The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, but does serve delicious and satisfying platters of charcuterie and cheese and the hotel gardens are a wonderful place to enjoy them.
Our favourite restaurant to take our guests to in the evenings is LES TERRACES DES LASCAUX – a little hidden away and not one that is likely to be found when exploring the town on foot. The food is delicious and again, a warm welcome is assured, especially from Elena, our ‘serveuse’ (waitress). On a fine evening, it is delightful to sit in their couryard – the food is delicious and Elena’s attentive service is just perfect. As its name suggests, it’s near the famous Lascaux caves and the new Lascaux 4 will be on its doorstep.
Finally, our favourite lunch stop is at ENAPARTE recently opened by Matthieu & Aurelie Genty in the centre of town. Aurelie trained in Paris and ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ as they say. Her pastry is to die for – light, crisp, buttery, delicious. And her – desserts – just look at the photo! Works of art, as well as divine. Matthieu is ‘front of house’ and his friendly, efficient service makes for a wonderful dining experience. The hard working couple also offer tempting croissants (made by Aurelie, of course!) and aromatic coffee for breakfast. What a wonderful start to the day!
As we write this we realise that our focus is on FOOD! Hardly surprising I suppose in this gastronomic region which is renowned for its foie gras (available from local suppliers in the town) and walnuts. Local boulangeries produce tarte au noix et pain au noix (walnut tarts and bread). Which of the several boulangeries sell the best is hard to say, but it’s fun researching!
As we said in an earlier blog ‘You only regret the things you don’t do’ – so come and experience Montignac-sur-Vezere – we would love to welcome you here in our special part of the Vezere Valley. Or take a look at Kathy & Charley’s Perigord Experience Tour – they’ve discovered the magic of the region too.
PS As this publishes, Steve will be on his Macmillan 3 Peaks Charity Trek in Morocco – so please send him some ‘Bon Courage’ vibes!
Steve and Judie Burman live in the beautiful Vezere Valley in the Dordogne region of South-West France. Together they run Caves and Castles, specialising in prehistoric Cave Art and medieval Castles Tours. You can join a small group (up to 6) 4 night/5 day Tour based 2 nights each in the medieval towns of Sarlat and Montignac-sur-Vezere or book a custom Tour for a day or more.
Professional archaeologist, Steve loves to share his passion for the ‘Cradle of Humanity.’ World famous sites such as Lascaux, the ‘Sistine Chapel of Prehistory’ and Font de Gaume are close by. Coupled with gastronomic meals and superb wines, your Caves & Castles Tour is really special.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.