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Yesterday, we left our rustic and perfectly adequate lodgings in Amboise,  with the two blokes ensuring Madame got a traditional French farewell – much cheek-kissing and hugging going on! Madame was quirky (she has llama ….), excitable, and quite hilarious. She was good fun and made it a memorable stay in a Fawlty Towers kind of way …..

In somewhat inclement weather, which became progressively worse, we inched our way (behind a lorry for most of it), to the sombre site of Oradour-sur-Glane. To be on the actual site where so many people died, in such a violent and tragic way was a very moving experience. The Village des Martyrs (as it is known), is the place where, in 1944, the Nazis annihilated the entire population of over 600 people, nearly 200 of which were children … chilling and sobering. The men were executed in various parts of the town, while the women and children were killed in the church. Charles de Gaulle declared that the town should remain as a memorial to those lost. Having been there, I think it was a wise decision, since it serves as a stark reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.

As we wandered quietly through the village in the cold rain, I noticed so many old and rusty sewing machines … what were the women who used those machines doing when they were taken, probably along with their children? …. the image of those machines will remain with me always.

After Oradour-sur-Glane, we continued on in the dreadful weather until we reached Beynac. Our GPS lady seemed insistent in taking us via the scenic route, so we arrived at our hotel much later than we anticipated, but is was worth the wait. Domaine de Monrecour is a fantastic 10 room chateau hotel in Beynac. The building is imposing, having been renovated and extended in the early 1900’s – the rooms are large, with exquisite furnishings, the breakfast room is stately, as is the library, plus it has a tiny chapel. Not only that, the staff are courteous and knowledgable, and the Pavilion restaurant beside the hotel is a fine dining experience to be savoured – definitely the best food we have had on our trip so far. …. Take a look – the next post will cover our Sarlat and medieval castle adventures.

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