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

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

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

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32 Comments

  1. June 28, 2017 / 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

    • Nell
      Author
      June 29, 2017 / 9:27 pm

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

  2. July 1, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Looks such a beautiful place to visit and some gorgeous photos

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      Thank you. It was!

  3. July 1, 2017 / 12:41 pm

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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      It was. I miss it too!

  4. July 1, 2017 / 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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      The pool really made it. x

  5. July 1, 2017 / 8:02 pm

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

    #fearlessfamtrav

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 7:07 pm

      It’s a beautiful place….

  6. July 2, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    What a fab swimming pool – ideal family break

    #fearlessfamtrav

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 7:18 pm

      It was amazing.

  7. July 2, 2017 / 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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 7:27 pm

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

  8. 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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 8:30 pm

      Have an incredible time, you lucky things!

  9. July 3, 2017 / 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!

    • July 3, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      From TraveLynn Family #FearlessFamTrav

    • Nell
      Author
      July 3, 2017 / 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.

  10. July 6, 2017 / 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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 6, 2017 / 1:51 pm

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

  11. July 7, 2017 / 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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 10, 2017 / 2:28 pm

      Sounds as though you have some happy memories 🙂

  12. July 9, 2017 / 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.

    • Nell
      Author
      July 10, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      I know what you mean!

    • Nell
      Author
      July 11, 2017 / 10:06 am

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

  13. July 12, 2017 / 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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 21, 2017 / 11:33 am

      It was delicious!

  14. July 27, 2017 / 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

    • Nell
      Author
      July 28, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      Us too!

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