Monday August 17 I passed again for the umpteenth time by Limoges to stop at Le Chalard whose Church of the Assumption, here, is worth the detour for its powerful square tower which dominates the village, its very ornate capitals, its Gothic buffet flamboyant sheltering the tomb of Saint-Geoffrey founder of the priory as well as the enamelled reliquary containing his skull. Finally, a chapel in the basement has frescoes that predate the church. The cemetery is the last rest of the priory monks. In the village of St-Yrieix-la-Perche, the Collegiate Church of Moustier is characterized by a Roman steeple-porch and in a niche in the nave a copy of the bust of St-Yrieix, the original of which is at MoMA in New York! I arrived late at Arnac-Pompadour to bivouac in a parking lot.
|Église de l'Assomption du Chalard, Church of Chalard|
Tuesday August 18 I arrived around 8.00 am at the service area of the old Uzerche station which was crowded; the camper vans were side by side as in the parade! I parked my vehicle then I left to explore the upper town here. The rue Gaby-Furnestin then the rue Pierre-Chalaud are lined with medieval houses bearing shields signifying the owner's profession. The St-Pierre church, here, a vestige of a Benedictine abbey, is in the Limousin Roman style, the bell tower of which ends in an octagonal fourth floor. The earlier crypt is datedfrom the 11th century with a single pillar. After the nearly three hour visit I stocked up on food at the Super U with a return to the old station.
|L'ancienne gare, the old railway station||Comme à la parade, as at the parade|
Wednesday August 19 was a small morning of tourism in the deep Corrèze strolling on the small departmental roads avoiding the dense traffic of the main communication routes. The first visit took me to the top of Puy-de-Manzagol at an altitude of 698 m with a superb panorama over the Lake of Triouzoune and the Massif-Central in the distance. The parking lot of the Marèges dam, here, welcomed me for the first time to climb up to the belvedere above the hydroelectric dam of Marèges built from 1932 to 1935 on behalf of the company of the railways from Paris to Orleans. It was the object of all the attentions of the Wehrmacht during the occupation of France from 1940 to 1944. I intended to bivouac on the banks of the Dordogne at the site of Liginiac unfortunately a municipal decree prohibited parking. I returned to the parking lot of the Marèges dam.
|Rencontre au bord de la Vézère, Meeting at the edge of the Vézère river|
Thursday August 20 was another short day of visit in a high place of memory and ancestral culture, the gorges of the Haute-Dordogne, suitable for country walks through mountains and valleys. But I played it small arm, tennis expression. The site of St-Nazaire was a place of pilgrimage in the early Middle Ages. The view is breathtaking. After the town of Bort-les-Orgues a small road offers the possibility of approaching the basalt organs, alas the foliage of the trees and the security fences make it almost impossible to take pictures I returned to the parking lot of the Site of St-Nazaire to bivouac, alone, outside the horde of motorhomes.
|Confluent de la Dordogne & de la Diège, Confluence of the Dordogne river & the Diège river|
Friday August 21 was a very busy day in terms of both kilometers traveled and visits made. First, a stop at Belvédère de Gratte-Bruyère to admire the Dordogne river, a mighty river. The road runs along this magical river for several kilometers. Then it was a stop at the Cistercian Abbey of Aubazine,here, of which only the abbey church and the magnificent tomb of Saint Stephen as well as the ornate stalls remain. The third stop was in Brive-la-Gaillarde to visit the Saint-Martin collegiate church, here, with the baptismal font surmounted by the statue of Saint John the Baptist at the entrance. The old town contains a few medieval houses. Finally it was Turenne,here, with a walk in the lower town and the Notre-Dame-&-St-Pantaléon collegiate church, then the upper town and its castle, not visited. I bivouacked in the parking lot, alone at the end of the day!
|Château d'eau de Brive-la-Gaillarde, Water-tower of Brive-la-Gaillarde|
Saturday August 22 was another day rich in visits. At sunrise I was alone walking the streets in Collonges-la-Rouge, here, whose houses, churches and castles are made of red sandstone. Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, here, welcomed me with the southern portal of the Church of St-Pierre, whose sculpted tympanum represents the parousia with Christ in majesty and the apostles in the extension of his arms. This sculpture is also present in Moissac, Collonges-la-Rouge, Carennac and Souillac. It was executed by the tailors of Toulouse in the 12th century. I made a quick stop at Tours de Merle here, skipping the four hour hike to visit them. Finally Carennac, here, welcomed me for the bivouac after having strolled in the village to admire the tympanum of the St-Pierre church and especially the moving entombment of Christ by Joseph of Arimathea, at his feet, the Pharisee Nicodemus, at its head, and behind the Virgin surrounded by the apostle John and Mary Cleophas.
|Castle of Maussac|
On Sunday August 23 I made a stop in Gluges, a village at the foot of the cliff whose church received a donation from Edith Piaf to replace the broken stained-glass windows with the parish priest's consent not to reveal her name until after her death. The next stop was to visit the Caves of Lacave whose guided duration is 1.30 with a departure by train and approximately 488 steps. The show is splendid and reminded me of the recent rereading of Jules Verne's Voyage to the Center of the Earth. I passed through Souillac without stopping to go to Sarlat, where I arrived at the start of the afternoon. All parking lots and sidewalks were occupied. I went my way to bivouac in the north of the city.