Share Your Story Contest: Kinga Winner of Week 18!
Congratulations to Kinga! A true Francophile at heart, Kinga shared a story of her family’s trip to Dordogne.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I am obsessed with France and everything French. It was no surprise then, when for my birthday I decided to do what I love best… go to Paris. So this last June, my husband, my 8yrs old son and I visited Paris for the third time, as I would want to spend my every vacation there. My husband however, although does like Paris, he was getting “tired” of this big city feel, the chaos and the prices. I had to come up with something to keep him along with my “French obsession” so this time I decided to try something totally new…
After spending only few days in Paris, we took a 4 hours TGV ride to Villefranche-du-Périgord in Dordogne. There, we spent what turned out to be the best vacation of my husband’s life. The country of chestnuts, walnuts, fabulous local wine and amazing medieval castles just stole my husband’s heart. The charm of all surrounding towns, shopping for local delicacies on the markets and small stores was exactly what my husband missed in Paris. Freshly baked baguettes and cheese made from raw milk, which are impossible to buy in the US, were simply to die for.
I fell in love with the area myself… It was so different from what we had experienced so far in France. The closet big town, Bergerac was an hour away from the house we rented. That’s where the gare is, to which we arrived from Paris. There we rented our Peugeot, which allowed us to travel around Dordogne as if we were locals. The landscapes were just breathtaking. Never-ending fields of grapes, fig trees and magnificent chestnuts trees were a great pleasure to look at. And then the small villages spread out through the area, full of original architecture of medieval, stone buildings, so well maintained that till today, serve as residences for the locals. One of the towns we visited was Beynac-et-Cazenac, and its fabulous medial chateau. This enormous castle, built in XII century was a location for many films, like “Jeanne d’Arc” by Luc Besson and “Les Visiteurs” by Jean-Marie Poire. Also, the town of Beyanc was chosen by Lasse Hallstrom for the scenery of one of my favorite French movies “Chocolat”.
The life in the countryside was wonderfully peaceful and calm. Farmers collecting coils of hay in the morning, was the view we never thought we could enjoy so much while drinking our café on the patio. The long evenings, spent drinking delicious local wine were only disturbed by the sound of owls, which we enjoyed as much as the wine itself. That was an entertainment we don’t remember enjoying ever before in our lives.
Our son loved being there too. The large space of grass and woods surrounding our house was just what an 8 yrs old needed to have fun. Chasing lizards and deer wasn’t anything he could do back home – yet was able to do in France every day, by just going outside on the “yard”. It was nice to see him enjoying nature and simple life, and forgetting about all of the tech toys he brought along.
Every of our trips to Paris was amazing and memorable. But this time, we managed to combine the beautiful chaos of the “city of lights” with an amazing tranquility the French countryside has to offer. This adventure required stepping out of our comfort zone – in Paris, the language barrier wasn’t a big of an issue whereas in small villages communication was limited to minimum English. That however, put my knowledge of French to a test, which I am very happy to say, I passed.
My husband and I are already planning another trip to France. We are ready to re-live the memories we took from this trip, as well as making new ones. We will not skip Paris for sure, but we will definitely plan a longer stay at another fabulous, small French town. Thankfully there are a lot of those to choose from in France.
Kinga (Elmhurst, IL)
Kinga accepts her prize, a bottle of Blanquette de Limoux courtesy of the Languedoc-Roussillon region / Sud de France Développement from Consul General Vincent Floreani.