There is a lot of things to discover near the Moulin du Boisset. To keep you informed, we are writing below articles about the local news, our discoveries during our walks, tourist news, our favourites...
Have a good read.
Among the many possible hikes in the more or less immediate vicinity of the Moulin du Boisset, there is one that we particularly like: the Moulin du Saut.
This hike can be approached by taking several routes depending on your level and sporting ability. It goes from a simple loop of about 5km starting from the car park at the level of Gramat, to a round trip (14 km) starting from the foot of the medieval city of Rocamadour, or a combination of the two for the most courageous (about 18 km).
If you start from the foot of the Cité de Rocamadour, you follow the (dry) Alzou river on a dirt track surrounded by steep cliffs and pass through the ruins of many other water mills. The Moulin de Sirogne, the Moulin de la Mouline and then the Moulin de Tournefeuille give us an idea of the milling activity that was once very important in this deep valley. Just like the traces, overgrown with vegetation, of the charcoal-making activity that can be found in the woods along the path.
Once you arrive at the Tournefeuille mill, you start the loop that takes you around the highest point of the walk, the Moulin du Saut. For a good part of the route, you are on the top of the cliffs and you have an unobstructed view of the Alzou canyon, and finally you overlook the ruins of the Moulin du Saut blocked between two cliffs. Once there, you will discover the building built on several levels, following the contours of the rock. The water is channelled into a penstock to feed the turbines that drive the millstones. The mechanism is no longer present but it is easy to see how it worked.
This hike is very interesting, because apart from the sporting aspect, it allows you to discover all these testimonies of the past, but also to wander in the middle of an area classified as a Sensitive Natural Area by the Lot department and as a Natura 2000 site by France and Europe.
Little tip: In summer, the leaves on the trees prevent the most beautiful views.
During your (future) stay at the Moulin du Boisset, we will certainly tell you about our mill, but we will also encourage you to discover others which have a very particular attraction.
One of them, the fortified watermill of Cougnaguet, near Rocamadour and nestled in a green setting in the heart of the Ouysse valley, is a must-see.
Its owner Hubert, a colourful character, or his sidekick will show you every detail of this building, which has been classified as a historical monument since 1925, and will demonstrate how it works. Four millstones, each weighing about 1.5 tonnes, are used to grind wheat and obtain flour as the monks produced it in the Middle Ages.
Then you will discover the miller's lodging and end the visit with a drink.
We particularly appreciated this visit for several reasons:
- The first is that the Moulin de Cougnaguet is situated in the middle of a magnificent setting with a river of incredible colours on a sunny day. There is a certain quietness and one takes a lot of pleasure to remain at the edge of the shaded beach, behind the mill, to contemplate the landscape. it misses more than the deckchairs!
- The second is that this building has survived the centuries, preserving its beauty, protected from looters by simple fortifications, and that its millstones still work as they did in the Middle Ages.
- Finally, because there are similarities between our mill and that of Cougnaguet. Indeed, they have some identical architectural characteristics and above all were both built in the Middle Ages by the monks of the Cistercian Abbey of Aubazine.
So every time we talk about Rocamadour to one of our guests we don't forget to mention this beautiful place which is a must to discover. Whose turn is it?
Living in a ( old ) water mill allows you to benefit from an extremely pleasant environment where the simple fact of having a watercourse which crosses the property brings a whole other dimension to the place and an indisputable charm. The water is omnipresent, weak in summer when the level is very low with numerous aquatic plants covering it, animated in winter when the level is high and its colour varies according to the rains. What can we say about the water that flows permanently from the small spring near the old watercress farm, and which, except in summer, gurgles as it flows into the reach. What can we say about the fauna that takes advantage of the benefits of the watercourse to live peacefully, such as the river wagtails, the moorhens, the damselflies, the dragonflies, the lizards, the toads, the ducks and sometimes even the coypu. A veritable ecosystem is teeming and enjoying the benefits of this waterway. Not to mention the many fish that form undulating circles on the surface of the water. It's a real festival of life all year round.
But living in a water mill also has its surprises. Water is all-powerful and in the winter period it becomes unpredictable and the queen of the place. Sometimes after heavy rains, combined with the melting of the snow from the Massif Central, not so far away, the water level rises drastically and sometimes even more phenomenally when associated with a dam release.
We closely follow the water level of the Dordogne river, measured several times a day at Carennac, a village classified as one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France". This is a good indicator for us, because when the Dordogne is high, the river "La Tourmente", a tributary of the Dordogne, also becomes high. It is precisely this river that feeds the Moulin. Above 5.25 m, we are concerned because the ground floor of the mill, which houses the laundry room and the bedroom of one of our daughters, risks being flooded. It is from this limit that we take out the breeze blocks, plastic sheeting and wooden planks to seal the openings and thus protect ourselves.
At the beginning of February of this year, the rains were sustained for ten days, which meant that the rivers, which are usually dry in summer, flowed in uninterrupted streams. The Autoire waterfall poured phenomenal quantities of water in a deafening roar. The ruins of the Moulin du Saut, one of our favourite places for walking, had regained their superb appearance and a significant hydraulic flow. Upstream, on the Dordogne, EDF released water at the Enchanet dam, in order to relieve the structure of the dam. The level of the Dordogne, which was already high, rose sharply to 6.40 m. From then on, the Tourmente was largely out of its bed. At the foot of the mill, the millstream overflowed and 25 cm of water threatened to flood the ground floor. Fortunately, the protective measures worked and only 1 cm of water penetrated the interior, without causing any damage, but causing us a long and beautiful night of anguish...without sleep.
* Lot is the name of our French department.
Recently and on a beautiful sunny day during which we were not receiving guests (it happens sometimes), we went to discover one of the many archaeological sites near the Mill: the Archaeological Site of the Fieux.
L'Archéosite des Fieux is first and foremost an open-air cavity located north of the Causses du Quercy, near Gramat, and this site was an important hunting ground and then a temporary habitat, from Neanderthal man to modern man (known as Cro-Magnon). A wildlife trap for the former where man drew the big game that was trapped in this gaping hole, shelter and a place of artistic expression for the latter.
The traces and remains extend over different excavation sites, each of which tells the story of different areas of human occupation.
The ornate cave, with its engravings and paintings, classified as a Historic Monument since 17 January 1967, is contemporary with other testimonies of Quercy's cave art, such as Pech Merle or Cougnac, with perhaps an older phase, exceptional for the region.
On the site, we went through all the explanatory tables grouped around the cavity. They detail precisely and in a dated manner the objects and bones found in the middle of the different layers of excavations. A presentation film then explains the history of the cave. But what interested us the most was that the Archaeosite of the Fieux is also a place where one can take part in animations. This gives another dimension to the visit of the site.
Thus, in the neighbourhood of a reconstructed prehistoric habitat, we were able to try our hand at throwing an assegai with a propeller on targets about ten metres away. Simple if you look at the animator, who perfectly masters the technique and hits the targets without difficulty, but not so easy as that, as soon as you get stuck to it. Nevertheless, at the end of the third try, the goal is almost hit.
We were also able to discover how to light a fire using different methods, either by friction by rubbing pieces of wood or by percussion by hitting a flint with marcasite. Then the animator gave us a demonstration of flint knapping, with great dexterity. The animation ended with a presentation of different primitive musical instruments, made from animal horns, carved pieces of wood...
We spent an excellent afternoon at the Archéosite des Fieux, where the people in charge succeeded in creating a harmonious blend of culture, history, knowledge, education and entertainment, without forgetting an extremely warm welcome. You can even make souvenir purchases in the shop where the younger ones can buy handmade and homemade objects such as saga kits, painting kits or whistles.
We highly recommend the Archéosite des Fieux and we invite you to visit the website of the association that manages the site : www.archeositedesfieux.com
Did you know that 300 metres from the Moulin du Boisset, just opposite, on the cliff covered by dense vegetation nowadays, is the site of Uxellodunum, where part of our history took place.
"Uxellodunum! But what is it all about? »
Uxellodunum is the name of the stronghold where Gallic troops fought the last battle for the independence of Gaul.
Let's go back in time!
We are in 51 BC. The surrender of Alesia a year before and the capture of its legendary leader Vercingetorix, led to the subjugation of almost all the peoples of Gaul. But Gaul was still not reduced to impotence. The defeated soon recovered and decided to attack the Romans now in small groups and on several points at once.
Julius Caesar had to fight successively against the Bituriges (Berry region), the Carnutes (Orleans region), the Bellovaques (Beauvais region), the Trevires (Belgium) and finally the Pictons, who were massacred in the Lemonum region (Poitiers). More than 12,000 Gauls were killed in this way.
Pursued by the Roman troops, the Gauls, still alive, took refuge on the oppidum of Uxellodunum where they established a entrenched camp. It is a high place with a breathtaking view of the surroundings, steep, difficult to access, strongly protected by fortifications and embankments.
On the spot 2000 to 5000 men, heavily armed, determined and carrying out raids on the whole region to accumulate provisions.
Facing them were Caesar's Roman legions, about 70,000 men, ready to fight, organised, structured and trained in fighting, whose camps encircled the oppidum.
Caesar, seeing that the fortification works completely surrounded the square, decided to deprive the Gauls of water. Access to the river was forbidden by war machines and in front of the spring that gushed out at the foot of the ramparts, he had an 18-metre-high earth platform built, topped by a 10-storey (27-metre-high) tower, to prevent the Gauls from getting water.
These works were a decoy, a diversion, because Caesar had another strategic plan: to dig underground galleries, out of sight of the defenders, to dry up the springs. Despite violent fighting and the burning of the tower, the Romans achieved their goal. The Gauls, deprived of water, thought they had been abandoned by the gods and surrendered.
Caesar was merciless. He cut off the hands of all those who had borne arms, but left them alive. This cruelty was an example to prevent a new insurrection. The fateful date of 1st March 50 B.C. being the end of his proconsulate, he wanted to return to Rome victorious. A "bunch of brigands" had almost jeopardised the rest of his political career. This fight in 51 BC lasted about two months, from mid-July to mid-September.
Gaul was now subjugated and became a Roman province.
This summer, the site and the galleries are open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10.00 am and the (free) visits made by the members of the association "Les amis d'Uxellodunum", true gangs of die-hard enthusiasts, are remarkable and plunge you into the heart of the battle.
More information and bookings on : www.uxellodunum.com
Just 20 minutes by car from Moulin du Boisset is Saint-Sozy, a pretty village close to the Dordogne River. It's the starting point for our new walk. It is the starting point of our new hike which, during a loop of a little more than 8 km, allows you to discover a multitude of varied landscapes representative of the Dordogne Valley.
Right from the start, you will find yourself in the corn fields and walnut plantations, cultivated on the fertile land along the banks of the Dordogne. The river flows nearby, peaceful, but you can still hear the joyful cries of children bathing in its bed, a group of young people camping on the beach of a small island, a fisherman casting his rod, a canoe passing by, a bullhead swan, there is life.
The path, which at first follows the banks of the river, then begins to climb and narrow. We go along the limestone cliff that borders the course of the river. In places, the trees are all covered with a thick layer of moss and lichens, their branches dangling like arms dressed in green rags, considerably darkening the area and stifling the cries of the birds. It is like being in an enchanted forest, ready to see an elf or an elfin.
Then the path continues, becoming steep in some places, to bring us to the entrance of numerous cavities. There is no doubt that these cavities, evidence of the karstic landscape of the Dordogne Valley, are the result of geological and hydrological upheavals of the past. Our journey even takes us to explore the bowels of the earth by entering, for a few metres, inside a narrow gut. The coolness reigning there, the archway too low, and the numerous mosquitoes having found refuge there, make us turn back.
We then continue on, seeing the Dordogne River through the trees, which continues its course, and then we arrive at a charming village. It is the stronghold of a few farmers chatting next to a stationary tractor. As a vestige of the past, an oxen shoeing loom sits in the central square. It is very hot and a beneficial fountain allows us to cool down.
We begin the return journey back to our starting point, now crossing fields of hay, grain and a vineyard. It still climbs, but when we arrive at the top of the cliff where a telephone aerial judiciously placed to water the countryside is installed, the reward is there, before our eyes, one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Dordogne and a breathtaking view of the whole region.
We can see far, very far away by this beautiful clear sky.
The orientation table allows us to find our way, and we imagine the silhouette of the Mill on the horizon... before going down towards Saint-Sozy where the tables of the cafés/restaurants await us to end this day.
Of course, the route of this hike is at your disposal during your stay at the Moulin.
Did you know that just 15 minutes by car from the Moulin du Boisset is the village of Collonges-la-Rouge, which is extremely well known, and whose special feature is that it is entirely built of red stone.
These red stones, which come from quarries that have disappeared nowadays and whose colour comes from the iron oxide they contain, are also present at the Mill. The exterior paving is made up of them. You can also see them, in places, on the facade and in greater quantities on the walls of the Chambre Royale. But let us return to Collonges-la-Rouge.
Historically present since the Middle Ages, Collonges reached its apogee at the beginning of the 16th century when it became the place of residence of judicial officers, administrative officers and other senior officials of the Vicomté de Turenne, one of the largest fiefdoms in France, enjoying complete fiscal autonomy. Thanks to this opulence Collonges developed and numerous castles and manor houses appeared, which adorned the village and contributed to its architectural wealth.
Then Collonges prospered by growing vines, but in the 19th century, phylloxera destroyed the crops and the town fell into lethargy. The houses began to fall into ruin. In the 20th century, the rural exodus caused the loss of a large part of the population.
In order to halt this decline, the municipality of Collonges undertook conservation efforts as early as 1905, resulting in the classification of several monuments. From 1970, the rebirth of Collonges was initiated by Charles Ceyrac, its mayor. The elected representative of Corrèze was not satisfied with this economic decline, which threatened the disappearance of a heritage that was as exceptional as it was little-known. With other elected representatives, he created the association of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" which became a label. He launched a programme to restore the village and restore it to its former glory.
Collonges-la-rouge thus became the first village to be awarded the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" label and today it is a harmonious ensemble of small streets, towers, squares, castles, chapels and beautiful houses with slate or slate roofs.
To be discovered at sunset, seated at the table of one of the many restaurants. A must.
He's just come out. THE guide published by the Tourist Office of the Dordogne Valley :
- It is our reference guide.
- The one we are pleased to offer you on your arrival at the Moulin du Boisset.
- The one which gathers all the sites to visit in our beautiful region and more precisely in the immediate neighbourhood of the Mill, in the Dordogne Valley and South Corrèze.
- It is the support with which we will guide you, we will draw up itineraries, according to your desires, to visit, discover, enrich you and spend pleasant days.
- It is the medium where you will find all the good addresses so that your stay, in addition to having a place such as the Moulin du Boisset, is as unforgettable as possible.
- It is in this guide that you will find all the dates of the festivities and animations.
So, in order to relax, change your mind, get away from it all or to prepare your stay with us, we suggest you download this guide for free by clicking here.
"Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do on the same day". We all know this old adage, and we are all aware that we don't always have time to apply it. So we accumulate the little things to do, and we try as best we can to manage priorities.
The exceptional situation we are currently experiencing, with the confinement of ⅓ of the world's population, to fight and contain the COVID 19 pandemic, allows us to free ourselves of time.
So at the Moulin du Boisset, in addition to the usual maintenance tasks, we roll up our sleeves and do some hard work to improve and embellish our property :
- Enhancing the gîte with the installation of a floating parquet floor inside and a pretty Artois sandstone tile floor on the outside stairs.
- Renovation of an old bench, which was in great need of repair with its broken blade, and where many of our guests enjoy sitting to relax or read.
- Repairing the shutters of our daughter's bedroom, to measure.
- Reuse of one of the shutters to make a headboard in the Chambre Gauguin.
- Painting work
- Cleaning the forebay
- Size of the pine trees...
Counting the work already undertaken in February such as the laying of oak parquet in the Chambre Gauguin and the Royal Room, it is in a brand new livery that you will discover or rediscover our dear mill.
In the meantime, we wish you all to take good care of you and your loved ones...
At the Moulin du Boisset, we like to inform you, make you discover things, or simply stay in touch with you. This is the interest of this blog. But that wasn't enough. That's why, as soon as we opened our guest house, we created a FaceBook page and an Instagram account. On these different supports, you can follow the regular news of the Mill and its surroundings through our publications, our photos, our discoveries, our favourites...
Recently, we have even placed on our information counter, in the midst of the numerous tourist documentation of our region, this small counter of "likes" in real time, pure home-made, which allows you to participate in the development of our "community".
It also displays a calendar of local events, such as markets, festivals, events... Ideal for planning your day's visits.
And to encourage you, a gift is to be won, in a totally random way, if you like (like) our page.
Who will be the next winner?
Valérie and I wish you all the very best for this new year that is beginning. May health and happiness be at the rendez-vous of your existence.
2020 is for us our fifth season at the Moulin du Boisset. We are currently on (well-deserved) holiday at the moment but are already looking forward to welcoming you and seeing our usual guests again.
These few days of closure allow us to make a few minor transformations and improvements to our rooms. On the programme, the Royal Room and the Chambre Gauguin. But we won't say any more...
It is also an opportunity for us to explore our beautiful region, in search of "nuggets" for you to discover during your stay.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Every year, at the beginning of November, the book fair of Brive la Gaillarde This is the second national event, after the Paris Book Fair, dedicated to literature. It is one of the many events that attest to Brive's dynamism. A large number of authors take part in this cultural event and come to meet their audiences. A very large audience, moreover, because it is the perfect opportunity to come and discover what's new, meet your favourite author, shake hands with a politician who comes to present his new programme, or analysis, laid down on paper, and why not take a selfie with a star of the small screen (with moderation and politeness). You can buy the novel you've been waiting for, the new essay, the trendy advice and recipe book, and dedications of all kinds can be found on the front or back covers.
The Moulin du Boisset participates in the event in its own way. Indeed, nothing could be simpler than taking the regional train from Saint-Denis-Près-Martel station, located just 5 minutes away on foot, to get to the heart of Brive town centre where the show is taking place in 25 minutes. So after a good day wandering around the alleys of the lounge, nothing could be more pleasant than to come and relax, dine and spend a good night in our guest house.
Every last weekend in September, and to close the summer tourist season, rich in cultural activities, the sky of Rocamadour is adorned with a multitude of colours.
In fact, every year a grandiose spectacle takes place which enchants the sky of Rocamadour and attracts a very large crowd of visitors who sometimes come from very far away: The "Montgolfiades de Rocamadour".
At the foot of this magnificent medieval town, built on three levels on the cliffside and a high place of pilgrimage, about thirty hot-air balloons take off. Their number varies according to the year, as do their shapes and colours, but the spectacle always remains the same. Two daily take-offs, one at 8 am, the other at 5 pm, as the balloons require special conditions to take off. The coolness of the morning and the setting sun in the evening, combined with a light wind, constitute these ideal conditions.
All the outskirts of the city are taken by storm. A crowd of spectators occupies every square metre of pavement, terraces, rocks and cliffs in order to have the best place to admire the show and to take the best shot immortalizing these balloons which grow in size then climb, without noise, from the bottom of the city to the sky and fly away, according to the wind, towards an unknown destination...
We had the chance during the hot-air balloons of 2016, to see one flying over our guest house and its silhouette above the Mill allowed us to take a magnificent souvenir photo.
At the Moulin du Boisset, we are greedy!
That's why breakfasts are rich in pastries, cakes and home-made specialities that we always take pleasure in making for our guests.
That's also why every year in May we go, when we can, to Beaulieu sur Dordogne. It is a charming medieval town with its abbey church and its chapel of the penitents. It is the starting point for beautiful walks along the Dordogne river and for canoeing or sailing down the river. But above all Beaulieu is situated at the epicentre of an important strawberry production area and the farmers/producers organise the "Strawberry Festival" every year. It is an extremely popular and well-attended event, with numerous stands where you can buy boxes and trays of strawberries, a market with local products and crafts, numerous café and restaurant terraces, pastry shops offering strawberry cakes and tarts, a children's area, and a variety of activities... The highlight of the show is the gigantic tart, one of the largest in the world, made by pastry chefs and several times listed in the Guinness Book of Records. This year it was more than 30 metres long. At the end of the festivities, it is distributed to the public in attendance for a few euros. We couldn't resist it and it was with a full stomach and our arms loaded with a beautiful case of strawberries that we returned home.
A new home-made jam "Strawberry-Cinnamon" will be to be tasted at breakfast...
Did you know that our region has often attracted a good number of directors to shoot part or all of a film in natural settings?
I can tell you that Cahors has notably been used as a location for films such as "Un amour de sorcière" by René Manzor with Jean Reno and Vanessa Paradis, or "Jeanne d'Arc" by Luc Besson with Milla Jovovich. The actress Juliette Binoche once filmed in the Lot. It was for the film "Alice et Martin" by André Téchiné (1998), with Mathieu Amalric and Roshdy Zem.
Close to the Moulin du Boisset and precisely in our small commune of Saint-Denis-Lès-Martel, scenes from a superb film were shot. Indeed in 2003, Jean Becker filmed, in the vicinity of the station, passages of his "Effroyables jardins" with a dream cast composed of Jacques Villeret, André Dussolier, Thierry Lhermitte, Benoit Magimel, Isabelle Candelier, Suzanne Flon...
Synopsis : Lucien, a fourteen year old teenager, doesn't understand why his father, a serious and respected teacher, makes a fool of himself, in his eyes, in an amateur clown act. One day, André, his father's best friend, reveals to him the origin of this vocation...
The scene above was taken on the road bridge linking Saint-Denis-Lès-Martel to Vayrac and spanning the railway line. For the occasion, the asphalt was entirely covered with beaten earth to match the pavement during the 2nd World War. As for the German convoy, it took the direction of Aurillac. Later in the film, one of the houses on the left will also be used for a scene. As a souvenir of this shooting, a cardboard set, the signal box, is on display at the Martel tourist train station. Not to mention a few locals who participated as extras and who told me some very nice anecdotes.
You can watch the trailer here : https://youtu.be/ovx-3dZ7hV0
Another film, another village, not far from the Moulin du Boisset, Loubressac. It was the location for a much lighter film in 1972. "Quelques Messieurs trop tranquilles" by Georges Lautner, which brought together sacred monsters of French cinema such as Michel Galabru, Jean Lefebvre, André Pousse, Miou-Miou...
Synopsis : The inhabitants of Loubressac have a bad opinion of the installation of a gang of hippies in their homes. A murder is committed, they accuse the newcomers. A few citizens decide to investigate...
Numerous scenes and notably the final shooting were shot in the village of Loubressac which has not really changed since. The film also shows the castle of Belcastel overlooking the Dordogne, and images of Autoire. It should be noted that since Loubressac and Autoire have been labelled among the "Most Beautiful Villages in France".
The trailer is here : https://youtu.be/JeYh_fCE11M
Did you know that 10 minutes from the Moulin du Boisset, you can board a time machine?
Indeed, at the old Martel station, you can take the Tourist Train of the Haut Quercy and make a fantastic journey back to the beginning of the 20th century, to the heroic era of steam rail transport.
The journey takes you along part of the old railway line from Bordeaux to Aurillac, which was put into service in 1889 and overlooks the Dordogne River by 80 metres. As soon as it opened, this line competed with the traffic of the gabares (flat-bottomed boats) on the Dordogne River, giving rise to some stormy and muscular conflicts between the railway company and the bargemen. The line was broken up in 1917 for military needs during the First World War, and was rebuilt in 1919 with American railways still in place today. During the inter-war period, the train was used to dispatch truffles from the Martel market, one of the most important in France, hence the name of the locomotive "Truffadou".
On board the train, you will pass through breathtaking scenery with tunnels, a viaduct, cliffs and magnificent panoramas of the Dordogne. Take advantage of the breaks to take some great photos. Get closer to the locomotive to chat with the mechanics. In the tunnels, close your eyes and breathe in, you can feel the warmth of the steam and the smell of coal enveloping you. Listen to the sounds of the machine, the movement of its connecting rods creating like a breath, the whistles announcing the manoeuvres. Are you there? That's it, the magic has worked and you've gone back a century in time...
Read more : http://trainduhautquercy.info
The karstic landscapes that characterise our region have generated places of unimaginable splendour. There is what is visible, i.e. the meandering rivers, the apparent traces of the passage of water on the cliffs and the resurgence of water, but the most impressive is what is not visible: underground. Everywhere it is tortured by this erosion which over the millennia has forged galleries, caves and chasms. It is an immense Gruyère explored, in a tiny part, by courageous speleologists, which offers you, in the places where it is exploited, a grandiose and unique spectacle.
Not far from the Moulin du Boisset you will find remarkable sites such as the Caves of Lacave, the Carbonières caves, the Grotte des Merveilles, the Gouffre de la Fage and of course the most famous of all, the Gouffre de Padirac.
It reopens today, March 30, 2019 for a new season. It is also an anniversary year as the Abyss celebrates the 130th anniversary of its discovery by Edouard-Alfred Martel, the founding father of modern geology.
We have visited this geological phenomenon several times, a vertical well 75 metres deep and almost 35 metres in diameter, with an underground river at the bottom, 103 metres deep. It is on this river that we board a boat to discover the 2 kilometres of galleries, open to the public, and rooms with multiple concretions: stalactites, stalagmites, draperies... Note that in all, speleologists have, to date, explored 42 kilometres of galleries on the site.
At each of our visits, the magic was omnipresent and the feeling of being in another universe, borrowed from the sounds of the water, the freshness (13°c) and the lighting judiciously positioned to bring out the beauty of the place, invaded our minds. The boatmen who accompany you along the way, make you discover all the richness of this unusual and marvellous place. In short, an experience to be lived at least once in a lifetime (avoiding if possible the busy summer days with about 8000 people a day).
Today, on this unusually hot and sunny day in February, we decided to move a little further away from the Mill. The Lot department is crossed by 2 rivers, to the north the Dordogne which we know well as it flows 5 minutes from our house and to the south the Lot which we know much less, watering the prefecture of the department, Cahors. We head south towards Bouziès, a little over an hour's drive away, which will be the starting point of our walk. The road is sinuous but passes through the superb landscapes of the Causse which characterize the karstic relief specific to our region, exposed limestone rocks, oak groves and stone walls delimiting the plots.
Arriving in Bouziès, after having photographed the superb and unmissable Château des Anglais, we take the marked path along the towpath towards Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, a village which has been labelled one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" and has also been awarded the label "Favourite Village of the French" by the eponymous TV show of Stéphane Bern. From the start, the path borders the river and runs along the cliff. The cliff was dug from 1845 over 300m to allow horses to pass through so that the gabares or flat-bottomed boats could sail up the currents loaded with local goods. The products loaded were rather Cahors wines, dried plums, but also the productions of the wood turners and more precisely the taps of wine barrels. Then the path crosses fields, then turns into a sloping path in the direction of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie erected on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Lot. At this time the village is in hibernation. Few tourists are present and one can admire this magnificent place with its small lanes, the ruins of the old castle, its small paved squares, its restaurants and shops selling regional products, without forgetting its breathtaking view of the Lot.
Then return to Bouziès, this time taking the road which is also not very busy at this time of the year. This road overlooks the towpath and the river flowing below. Another extraordinary panoramic sight not to be missed to end this beautiful hike.
While passing through Saint-Céré, a pretty little town located 25 minutes from the Moulin du Boisset, and whose town centre, like many towns in the Lot, is rich in heritage, we decided to take a walk in a nearby forest. I don't remember how or where, I had learned that it had the peculiarity of being crossed by a path strewn with works by local artists. A real open-air art gallery.
Direction Latouille-Lantillac, 5 minutes from Saint-Céré, the starting point of this unusual "exhibition".
From the car park, we take the signposted path called "Sentier Art Nature" and cross the houses in the direction of the woods. No sooner have we arrived under the cover of the chestnut trees, very present in this part of the Lot near the Corrèze and Cantal departments, than the visit begins.
Discreetly a face, sculpted on an old trunk, looks at me with its big eyes as if it wanted to warn me of some dangers. Then the stone silhouette of a woman, playing at hiding behind a tree and certainly the guardian of the tranquillity of these places, tells me with a finger placed on her mouth not to make any noise. Then come the suspensions. Here a wooden monkey hanging from a branch, there a head hanging from a corkscrew-shaped body. Then, along the path, groups of characters on makeshift bicycles or other heterogeneous harnesses, a tyrannosaurus of scrap metal ready to pounce on you, characters posted on the right, on the left.
We play at looking for the hidden sculptures because the spirits of the forest have told them not to reveal themselves so easily. Our imagination and curiosity are put to the test and the atmosphere is special in this forest where the slightest noise, the cracking of a branch, a bird's cry, sends us back to our childhood fears. We don't dare to imagine the atmosphere of a night visit to this place.
There is no doubt that this walk was another beautiful discovery, showing yet another facet of the cultural richness of the Lot...
It has been -3°c for a few days. The cold is dry and the sun is shining. Well covered with our down jackets, hats and scarves, we feel like going for our favourite hike. Near the Moulin du Boisset, the village of Autoire, labelled one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of France", is set in the middle of a natural circus with the most beautiful and highest waterfall in the region at its end. As usual, we decide to leave Autoire and go in its direction by taking the small path through the woods. Without their leaves, the oaks give us a clear view of the sunny cliffs.
Unlike at the end of the summer when a simple drip of water runs off, this time the waterfall pours out streams of water. The frost has created ice stalactites in places, reminding us of the cold of winter. The place is in the shade and to warm us up we decide to continue our hike in the direction of the "Chateau des Anglais", half way up the cliff and totally sunny. After a few minutes of ascent, we arrive in front of the entrance to the ruins of this observation post dating from the 100 years war between the English and the French. There is no doubt that from here, brave warriors had an unobstructed view of the region and the enemy troops. The spectacle is grandiose: to our right the castle, to the left the waterfall, and opposite, below, the village of Autoire.
Once again, we will leave this place totally amazed by the landscapes that it offers, with a particularity today, a string of ice stalactites hanging from the cliffs ...
First of all, Valérie and I wish you all a wonderful year 2019, full of emotions, joys, discoveries, love(s) and an iron constitution.
2019 is for the Moulin du Boisset a new season that is beginning. Our 4th since we opened in 2016. We look forward to welcoming our next guests and hope that this new season will be as rich in beautiful encounters, both with our French friends and with our foreign friends curious to discover our guest house and our beautiful region. It will always be our pleasure to guide you for your visits.
2019, it is also a new version of our website, now online, which will allow you to visit our guest house and our services, but also to discover all the treasures of our beautiful region through its remarkable sites, its villages to visit and the many activities that you can practice.
2019, it is also the reopening of our masterful fireplace with the integration of a new wood stove in January: beautiful flames in perspective.
Finally 2019 will be many new arrangements in the rooms, but shush for the moment it's secret...
Cinnamon and spice fragrances emanating from the mulled wine pots flood the beautifully decorated street leading to the square where the Christmas market is held. Like Collonges-la-Rouge, and just next door, the small village of Meyssac is built in red stone, and the lighting of the Christmas decorations will light up the walls in a very special way. The shop windows catch the children's eye as they see the silhouette of Father Christmas, the characters and animals in the cots and the superb decorations. There is a bustle in the streets where everyone is busy around the wooden horses on the merry-go-round, the chalets full of festive articles and the stalls selling sweets or hot chestnuts. Then comes the moment when the organisers cut huge logs made by the village's pastry cooks and distribute them gracefully to passers-by.
Sarlat-la-Canèda, the pearl of the Périgord Noir, less than an hour from the Moulin du Boisset, receives, as every year, a foreign delegation for the celebration of the Christmas festivities. This year it is Spain which is in the spotlight and for 15 days will be enlivening the Christmas market and the shopping streets. Children (and the not-so-young) will be able to enjoy sliding on the ice rink placed at their disposal among the fir trees.
No doubt Father Christmas will make his appearance there. That's the magic of Christmas!
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