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A photo journal from a family getaway in the Dordogne, France

Dordogne

In some rural French gîtes, there’s a certain quality you don’t find elsewhere. A silence that rings in your ears, so powerful that a cow lowing, way across the valley, sounds as loud as a car close by.  The warmth of croissants fresh from the baker’s. Ripe Camembert, eaten with Pain de Campagne and vin rouge under a hazy sky. Last year, in the Dordogne, we found this silence.

Dordogne

Our three-week road trip through France began with us driving to our destination in Finistère, Brittany. It ended in a delicious week at La Garangeoire, in the Vendée but in the middle, we hid ourselves away from social media at a relative’s gîte near Ribérac, in the north of the Dordogne.

North Dordogne is much quieter than the south of the department, with fewer family-based attractions. It was with some trepidation that I arrived at the gîte. Our last stay there had been when I was pregnant with our son. The blissful isolation suited a couple about to have their first child. Would it be as appealing for a family with a four- and six-year old?

I needn’t have worried. After the stress of London life and the long hot journey, we slowly unwound into a rhythm of life that began with cockerels crowing at dawn, and ended with the buzz of cicadas.

Dordogne

Dordogne

Having our own pool as a source of entertainment helped while the days away.

Dordogne

Dordogne

Dordogne

So, we mainly spent our time there splashing and swimming in the welcome chill of the pool. Temperatures hit 38 and 39 degrees over the week. We did have two trips out, to Aubterre sur Dronne, officially named as ‘one of the most beautiful towns in France’. But even that involved cooling down in the river.

Dordogne

The children played, swung from the trees, and drew pictures in chalk on the patio. We all spent time picking succulent plums, which had ripened just as we arrived. One afternoon, D and the children used them to cook up an enormous batch of jam.

plums

Dordogne

Dordogne

Dordogne

Up the hill, D’s uncle and his partner lived with their dog, chickens, and goats, who took kindly to our visits.

Dordogne

It was a week of reading, sleeping, and switching off the drone of everyday life.

I’m aching to go back there.

 

Do you have a favourite place, where you can rest and switch off?

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Dordogne

32 Comments

  • Plutonium Sox
    June 28, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Oh wow, what a lovely place to go to relax. I lived in France for a while and haven’t been back for a long time. Your post makes me strangely homesick for somewhere I haven’t lived for many years.
    Nat.x

    Reply
    • Nell
      June 29, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      The place has that effect on me, too! Homesick for somewhere I’ve never lived….

      Reply
  • Lauren
    July 1, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Looks such a beautiful place to visit and some gorgeous photos

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you. It was!

      Reply
  • Dean of Little Steps
    July 1, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    This looks amazing and so peaceful. I do love rural France. Miss it. And this gite looks absolutely stunning 🙂 #countrykids

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      It was. I miss it too!

      Reply
  • Fiona Cambouropoulos
    July 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    this all sounds so romantic and dreamy and helped I’m sure by the lovely warm weather. Given the temperatures a quiet spot with your own pool sounds just perfect and I’m sure it was heaven for the children. I love France too and this post makes me want to head on out.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      The pool really made it. x

      Reply
  • Erin
    July 1, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Ah lovely, looking forward to spending a bit of time away in the French countryside one of these days…

    #fearlessfamtrav

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      It’s a beautiful place….

      Reply
  • Wandermust mummy
    July 2, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    What a fab swimming pool – ideal family break

    #fearlessfamtrav

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      It was amazing.

      Reply
  • Travelling With Our Kids
    July 2, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    We love France. Ive been to the Dordogne several times as a kid but never with our boys. Really want to take them to show them about. Lovely photos! #FearlessFamTrav

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you! I bet your boys would love it there.

      Reply
  • What a stunningly beautiful place to spend a few unplugged days! We’re off to France for the summer early next week, and I can’t wait for the sunshine and the quiet of rural France.
    #CountryKids

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Have an incredible time, you lucky things!

      Reply
  • Jenny Lynn
    July 3, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    How idyllic. Your villa looks divine. We love the Dordogne and have only done Eurocamp in the past. I think I want toe stay in your villa next time!

    Reply
    • Jenny Lynn
      July 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      From TraveLynn Family #FearlessFamTrav

      Reply
    • Nell
      July 3, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      We did Eurocamp on this trip, too! We headed there the next week. It was nice to combine the experiences – both very different.

      Reply
  • Emily
    July 6, 2017 at 10:46 am

    It looks idyllic. Am very impressed that you managed to switch off even with the kids. Shows Grade A parenting skills. #AllAboutFrance

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 6, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you. It was fairly easy, as the kids became remarkably chilled when we were there. A minor miracle!

      Reply
  • naomi
    July 7, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    France is a unique place. it was the first place I went away to with my partner, and my first ever time going abroad… we stayed in the countryside near bourdeaux and it was sooo peaceful. #countrykids

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Sounds as though you have some happy memories 🙂

      Reply
  • Becks at Access Riviera
    July 9, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Looks fab! We were planning on a family trip to the Dordogne last year but the in-laws decided to fly direct to us on the Côte d’Azur so our plans were scuppered. I’d love to go though! The pool, town visit and picking fruit seems idyllic from a city lifestyle.

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 10, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      I know what you mean!

      Reply
  • Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays
    July 10, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Oooh that look wonderful. Trying to imagine the teens without wifi! #AllAboutFrance

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 11, 2017 at 10:06 am

      I’m making the most of mine being small enough not to care!

      Reply
  • Phoebe | Lou Messugo
    July 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I laughed at Catherine’s comment, about teens and wifi, but actually it’s not only them….running a holiday rental I can’t really ever be fully unconnected as I need to answer enquiries that come in daily. I do dream about it though and this looks like a perfect spot to go off grid! Thnks for sharing your lovely photos with #AllAboutFrance

    Reply
  • It looks absolutely gorgeous!! Brilliant pictures. And I love the sound of the plum jam!
    #GetGone

    Reply
    • Nell
      July 21, 2017 at 11:33 am

      It was delicious!

      Reply
  • Janet T
    July 27, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I want to stay at that gite! How lovely. I haven’t been to the Dordogne but very much would like to go. We love peaceful holidays, but we do like to go out every day and see something. #AllAboutFrance

    Reply

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