The Dordogne

There is something that always pulls me back to France, something inside that about once a month I get an aching inside to be back there – usually this has been the Loire (where we’ve visited twice, you can read about it here and here) but this time we wanted to see a different part.

So after many hours searching for somewhere to stay, we booked ourselves a week to Le Pigeonnier a small hamlet on an organic goat farm at La Geyrie in the Dorgone.

Limoges map

Perigord National Park

We flew to Limoges before driving down through the Limousin-Périgord National Park to the small hamlet of La Geyrie.  As we pulled up we were welcomed by a small rabble of dogs – two belonging to Louise and Peter our hosts and another from the house down the road, a sweet little dog who would come to welcome us home most days by running in front of the car (!) and then bouncing at the window whilst making an excited whining.

Le Pigeonnier

Sweet dog

La Geyrie gites

There are two gites at La Geyrie.  Le Pigeonnier where we stayed has two rooms plus a bathroom and sleeps between 2 and 4 people, and Gite Maison which is larger and attached to the main house.

This is simple, rustic living, the downstairs had a large fireplace, a cooker and sink, a sofa and table and chairs – there was also a single bed, which perhaps useful for a family, seemed a bit odd in a living space.  Upstairs was a large bedroom with a double and single bed, beautiful wooden ceiling and beams and two large windows, plus a bathroom with a large shower.

Dordogne gite

French gite

Rustic French front door

Stone French gite

I spent most of the holiday daydreaming about doing up the gite, it was a funny mixture of rustic and antique furniture, and then some odd modern bits of pine furniture that just ‘fit’.  It was so close to being really perfect, I loved its simplicity, I just wanted it to go the final step to being like a step back in time to a simpler way of life with less of the reminders we were still in the 21st Century.

French window shutters

Rustic French sink

The gite faced the main house and Gite Maison, and the other way had views across the lane and over a beautiful field.  We had a picnic table outside the gite and deck chairs, however it’s worth pointing out that because it faces the main house and other gite you haven’t got a private space to sit.

We didn’t mind this, it was quite nice being part of the farm and the comings and goings, and there are plenty of places to wander, but if you are looking for a secluded space to sunbathe this is probably not it.

French gite Dordogne

Lane in the Dordogne

In the barn next to us we discovered a large wooden tray of walnuts – there are walnut trees and orchards everywhere in this area, and most people seem to have at least one in their garden.

Walnuts

Across from the gite in another barn were a couple of pens of baby goats – every time you walked past the entrance they would bleat at you.

They were so lovely.  Curious and yet suspicious of you, as soon as you entered they’d be up with their little legs standing precariously on the edge of the wooden boards trying to get to you, but once you reached out to touch them most pulled back.  There were a couple who were quite brave and friendly, and one golden coloured one who would even let you itch behind his ears.

Baby goats

Baby goats in France

We were welcomed with two freshly made-that-day goat’s cheeses from Louise on our arrival – a Cercle Frais and two Cabecou (a goat’s cheese that we discovered is made a lot in this region).  This was by far the best goat’s cheese we’ve ever eaten.

My experience of goat’s cheese here in England is that unless it’s the soft gooey kind with a rind that it’s tangy and sour, which I don’t particularly enjoy. Louise’s goat’s cheese was melt-in-the-mouth, delicate, fragrant and just utterly delicious.

Homemade goat's cheese

Here’s Mr Rigg with Euro (the little terrier – an utterly gorgeous and super friendly character) and the sheep dog, we never found out his name but he was in training to help with the goat’s – later in the week we got to watch the milking and he got so excited, lots of barking!

Sweet farm dogs

Euro the terrier

That first night we ate a simple dinner made with ingredients from an organic shop we discovered in Nontron (if you’re going it’s on the road towards the supermarket).

Fresh pasta with a tomato, garlic and fennel sauce, and a green salad.  This is already one of our favourite meals and every time is probably made slightly different, but adding fresh fennel from the garden was a wonderful discovery – it is something I will be doing more often.

Tomato pasta with fennel

All pictures are taken by me on my camera or phone.

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