Thursday, 5 June 2014

France Dordogne Valley, Terrasson & Sarlat

Another day another adventure off to 
Terrasson - Lavilledieu - Jardins de L'Imaginaire Located just off Sarlat and Lascaux, this major touristic and cultural attraction brings together the art of gardens and the history of humanity. 6, hectares and 13 natural gardens, as surprising as they are enchanting, recount the history of gardens since the Roman period.  The landscape displays  permanent elements of the world's gardens: water, wind movement, plants, perspectives and more. It was designed in 1996 by American  landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson.

Gushing, running, seeping, irrigating, waterfalls... 

Water is found here in all its forms and functions.

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A path winds along the hillside, dotted with five fountains: five refreshing, colourful stopovers.
Extreme topiary are noticeable halfway into the garden




standing in the corner of the lake to see the rainbow reflecting on the water


trimmed hedges and perfect manicured greenery gardens, graphic in areas and soft curves in other areas, eccoing the feminine touch. It's possible to catch sight of an overlook opening to Terrasson. for more details including contact: Jardins de L'Imaginaire 


Jardins de I'Imaginaire in Terrasson-Lavilledieu - Dordogne France absolutely beautiful from Rosana McPhee on Vimeo.
Next to the garden entrance we had a perfect idyllic stop at Aux Saveurs des Jardins, where the  regional speciality is cooking with flowers and botanics. The owner Madame Stephanie Andriex-Chabanas, growns the botanicals at her mums gardens. Highly recommended!


coconut Madeleine, chocolate and violet brownie, poppy, hibiscus and violet drinks and beautiful edible flowers
 next  we moved on 45 minutes to  
Jardins suspendus de Marqueyssac

Perfect manually manicured gardens is a France National Historical monument.
Hilltop gardens edged with clipped box hedges & topiary, plus a 'balcony' to soak in the amazing panoramic views of the Dordogne valley.  Situated 130 metres above the Dordogne valley and overlooking part of it's river. Its a place to walk and be in touch with nature, lots of activities take place such rock climbing the chalky rocks, arts and crafts workshop, Easter egg hunt, candlelight nights at selected dates (July & August, 19h00 to midnight). Its a great day out for kids as they have specific gardens and playgrounds too.
 
 The tea house is so beautiful and we had lunch al fresco, below with Madame Katia and Nathalie Bapst, head manager of this incredible place, she has been working there since the beginning including the renovation and opening of the gardens in 1997. This lady vision helped shaped the garden and to this day she's in charge of it.



our views over lunch in the blazing sun, overlooking another castle


local fare: smoked duck, stuffed goose neck and foie gras, on bed of vibrant green salad leaves and walnut. It was absolutely superb! simple, homemade dish, colourful and full of textures. The local wine was very good too!


fresh local strawberry pie and coulis - delicious ending to our meal.


Les Jardins de Marqueyssac
24 220 Vezac
Tél. 05-53-31-36-36

That little tiny village that you can see at the picture above is about 5 minutes drive down the hill, La Roque-Gageac  on the foot of a south-facing cliff, the creamy stone houses with their  stone slab or brown-tiled roofs are mirrored in the waters of the River Dordogne. Beautiful day for 1 hour  boat trip on the Dordogne river.


 After that we drove another 15-20 minutes to Castelnaud La Chapelle to visit Josephine Baker's castle.
Chateau des Milandes - Josephine Baker - Castelnaud La Chapelle


The castle was build in 1469, Renaissance architecture with magnificent Gothic elements. The 24-room mansion features stained-glass windows, an ivy-covered turret, gargoyles, vaulted ceilings, mammoth fireplaces, and a grand circular staircase of stone.Once was Josephine Baker's residence, she bought the castle in 1947, modernising the building with running water, electricity and other commodities.
Josephine Baker  was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 3, 1906. Josephine had a very humble childhood, married young and divorced three times. Eventually,  Josephine Baker sashayed onto a Paris stage during the 1920s with a comic, yet sensual appeal that took Europe by storm. Famous for barely-there dresses and no-holds-barred dance routines, her exotic beauty generated nicknames "Black Venus," "Black Pearl" and "Creole Goddess, an intriguing and inspiring persona.

Costumes in The Grand Salon
The castle is a museum and exhibition  dedicated to Josephine Baker, who lived there. You can walk through her  the artiste belongings, sumptuous bathrooms, furniture and memorabilia from her artistic, motherhood (she adopted 12 children) and resistance days. An amazing recount of a life full of achievements. 
Nowadays, the property belongs to Madame Angélique de Saint-Exupéry, 33, whose husband is a distant cousin of the author of The Little Prince, manages the day-to-day operations. She has the hard task to oversee the  refurbishment, up keeping, the development of this extraordinary fairytale castle and keeping alive the Josephine Baker's memory.

Josephine Baker's gardens
for more details including falconry displays : Chateau des Milandes 

Ferme Auberge du Brusquant
Diner in the 'Ferme Auberge du Brusquant' in Marquay  about 11 km from Sarlat- a farmhouse restaurant where the recipes are authentic.  They plant, grow, cook and serve their own produce in a simple and  friendly atmosphere. 
a coarse homemade duck liver pate with crusty bed - lovely!

a small and very quick wine tasting took place Domaine de La voie Blanche:
Barbeyrolles,100% Merlot, great with meats in general, terroir : garde du Perigord
Le Petit manoir (75% Merlot, 25% cabernet franc) terroir is clay and limestone.
rich, buttery, and delicate fresh Fois Gras with a selection of homemade breads, potato and crouton soup garnished with salad.




delicious crisp duck confit served with a herby mash potato, green beans and carrots



Local cheese


local strawberries and cream to finish
Ferme Auberge du Brusquant : more details
 
That night I stayed at hotel 'Le Renoir' in Sarlat. Recommended!

Disclosure: I was a guest of Brive Vallee Dordogne Tourist Board all views are my own.

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