Glimpses of an alternate life.
Some of the Périgord’s historic sites and monuments are going into winter mode, which can mean anything from limited visiting hours to closing the doors until Easter. Fortunately the castle of Castelnaud remains open for December visitors, and we had the entire place pretty much to ourselves. A castle is a glacial and drafty domicile year-round, and viewed in December it makes a nice cozy one-room earthen-floor cottage look like the better choice.
Thanksgiving is a big event in the United States, but in the rural Dordogne it’s an off-season quiet Thursday night. The three of us were the only patrons on a Thursday evening, off-season, at La Savie. It’s run by a young couple who gave up their city lives to renovate an old farm and give it new life housing both a growing family and a lovely restaurant with a fresh bright imaginative décor and menu. We celebrated quietly and far from home, but with much gratitude for our present temporary one.
The name of our local bakery is Les Délices de la Vallée, and I can’t conceive of one more suitable. This bakery is the heart of the village: warm and welcoming, with smiling friendly faces behind the counter, filled with golden light and the scent of bread in the rainy cold predawn hours, and on certain occasions the line runs out the door. And unlike other lines (say, the one at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles), this one is permeated with a sense of happy anticipation. It’s also a place to meet people, chat, and hear news.