Beynac et Cazenac – The Dordogne
Back en-route, our Travel Diaries series continues. Now, our Summer travels reach the big name locations of the region. Tonight we arrive at Beynac et Cazenac in the heart of The Dordogne. Here we find a choice of overnight stops in this gorgeous village.
We choose the Chateau parking area, which is uphill through the centre of the village. It’s shady and spacious and it’s also the starting place for a walk we want to do tomorrow.
Once we’d parked up, we wondered off just a few minutes downhill into the village centre. The main attraction is the Beynac Chateau which towers above the village on a clifftop. Then of course, is the river itself, simply a wonderful natural attraction with canoes for hire everywhere or so it seems.
Hot Air Balloon’s
Just as we arrived at the river, we notice a bright red hot air balloon as it careered towards the village rooftops. It all looked far to close for comfort, and quite frankly, we got ready to run!
However, it seems these balloons, despite loosing height to almost as low as street level, apparently do this as part of the fun. Soon several more balloons appeared, but non falling as low as this giant red attraction.
It wasn’t just us watching for several minutes, by now a small crowd had gathered. Eventually, the bright red balloon began to rise again. All we could do is hold our breath in hope it missed the traffic. Maybe it was just us, but it seemed so close to the main road!
Then, suddenly the balloon was floating off into the distance, leaving us to walk up to the castle for a quick photo shoot before bed.
Exploring Beynac et Cazenac – The Dordogne
Our overnight car park had been 8 Euro for 24 hours, so we had plenty of time left to explore. Once again, we’d found a walk we fancied so got straight to it before the heat of the sun got too strong.
Starting from the Aire at Beynac, the 7km circular walk first lead us towards the countryside away from the village. There was a sign in the parking area showing the route, so we took a photo beforehand.
We followed a path beside fields, taking us passed farmland, an equestrian centre and through unspoilt countryside. The route was quiet, in fact we hardly saw a sole all morning. As the route looped back towards the village, we caught another glance of the Chateau and our aim for the finish.
The temperatures were well into the mid 30’s, so by lunchtime, we were drenched and ready to call it a day on foot.
Tiny Streets and Character Overload
You can pay to go into the Chateau, but we chose not to! It’s perched on the cliff between tiny streets at the top of Beynac et Cazenac and can be seen from all around.
There’s cobbled streets and small tourist type shops and the village is full of Summer life. Along with intimate cafe’s and shady eateries, Beynac is laid back and pretty much idyllic.
The sloping streets are super slippy in places. So much so, that one tourist slides round the corner in front of us on her backside, so we tighten our grip and hope for the best.
Thankfully we make it to a viewpoint, where a river view awaits. Then, there’s polite conversation with a fellow Brit, who just happens to be from our own home region – small world.
It’s a very long time since we last visited The Dordogne in our motorhome, but we remember Beynac et Cazenac really well.
We hired a canoe and paddled down the river and got a mini bus back to base. It’s a great fun day and fab way to see the villages from the water.
Watching canoeists from the village is entertaining, a colourful display gliding through the water, with plenty of laughter echoing through the air.
Beynac et Cazenac is ultimately one of the must see locations on the Dordogne. No doubt, like us, once you’ve seen it, you’ll be eager to see the rest of this beautiful region of France.
So, for us, that parking ticket was running out of time, meaning we were ready for that next big Dordogne location. See you next time!