After breakfast, we packed up and headed off for a leisurely drive to Paris. Felix, somehow aware of our plans, was quiet in his carry case until we arrived at Chateau Miaou. Does he recognize the scent of his home away from home? As soon as we opened the car door, he came back to life….softly but persistently, letting us know he was ready to leave the confines of the small case for the spaciousness of the cattery.
With Felix safely tucked away, we continued our journey north…..deciding to take a backroads drive on a route that would take us through 5 of the 155 towns that have received the “Beaux Villages” (Beautiful Villages) designation.
The drive started in Cahors, following the curves of the Lot River to the charming village of Saint Cirq Lapopie….built on the hills above the river. After a short walk through its quaint streets, we were back on the road……trying to follow the designated route in reverse…..going from south to north…..and somehow always ending up going the wrong way. The drive was pleasant enough…..through oak forests guarding their truffle treasures, along lazy rivers, beside towns literally built into rock cliffs hugging the roads……but the circuitous route we took lengthened the drive……it was 5 pm when we finally arrived in Autoire. The shops had closed for the day and the restaurants hadn’t yet opened so after a quick stretch and walk through town, we were on our way to Loubressac…..a short drive away…..too short because it, too, was caught in that awkward time between day and night. A hotel was perched on the edge of town overlooking the valley below. We were tempted to pull in and stop for the night but we were already a few hours behind schedule and had two more villages to visit so we pushed on…..arriving in Carennac…..a more lively little town nestled along the banks of the Dordogne River. When we passed the Hotel Fenelon, we knew it was time to stop.
Dinner was fabulous……we started with salads (avocado with smoked salmon & greens with duck heart) and moved on to the entrees (perch with parsley sauce for Craig and steak with bearnaise sauce for me) followed by a choice of cheeses from a cart loaded with local favorites…..and then dessert (rolled balls of dark chocolate ice cream dusted with cocoa and served over a Cahors red wine reduction). Back in our room, with the window opened wide to the sounds and scents of the river…..sleep came easy and sound.
Bonne nuit……good night