If you remember the last leg of our journey was from Semelay to Saint Victor, right in the centre of the Dordogne. This was all new territory for us both. Neither of us had been this far south in France before.
It had been a long days riding to get to Saint Victor and as we got closer the landscape changed again. This was in some ways what I would call picture book France. A rural landscape littered with Château’s and Churches.
In one of the river valleys on the way in we had seen some quite spectacular looking rocks and so we decided to visit that area and there seemed to be endless winding single tracks through the woodlands that seemed to fill this whole area.
Woken By The Bells
We were woken early by the church bells and after a slow breakfast decided to have a steady day riding around the local area to see what we found. In the village of Saint Victor there was a small Bakery, a restaurant, and not much else except for the church, so we just rode out playing our favourite game of just following whichever road looked the most inviting.
Most of the time I had no idea where we were really. The destination wasn’t important today. It was nice to just have an easy relaxing ride around the villages and countryside with no sat nav on. It was all pretty idyllic
We crossed our own path at certain points because we were riding in a big figure of 8. I just loved the fact there was literally no traffic even compared to Semelay. Emptyness is my natural environment. It is the place I feel most at home.
If we thought it was hot in Semelay we were obviously mistaken. We had hit a mini heat wave and it was just getting hotter. I was really beginning to wonder what it would be like as we got further south into Spain and Portugal. We were already riding in minimal safety gear and peeling our jackets off at every opportunity.
Just out of Saint Victor we saw a small single track up into the hills and we had seen the upper towers of a Château sticking up through the trees off in that direction. So upwards we went.
You can see from the video there was almost no traffic, and the roads looked barely used. We passed farms and a few small communities but there wasn’t much of anything around except nature. There were definitely more dogs than people. The Vstrom 650 was the perfect bike for these roads too.
We never found that particular Chateau but there was a lot of private estates with marked entrances. It was a lovely place. We had slow relaxed ride in the sun.
I am sure we could have explored more green lanes here, but without some local knowledge it wasn’t easy as there seemed a lot of areas that were just marked as private or no access.
I didn’t notice but the camera case filled up with condensation as it got hotter so some of the footage was unusable but I hope the video gives you a feel for the area we were riding through.
The Town of Bourdeilles
The first time we rode into Bourdeilles you couldn’t help but notice the age of the buildings. It was a more lively village than most we had seen in the area though. However, many of the properties looked empty. A lot had the windows shuttered up and it was difficult to know if they were emty holiday lets, 2nd homes or completely deserted. They did mostly look in reasonable condition. There wasnt many that looked completely derilict.
If there are any viewers who know this area better, can you explain all the properties with shuttered windows? I’m interested to know.
We passed through Bourdeilles heading off towards the river valley we had seen but took a very scenic route following any tiny road we could find. Many just looped through very small villages similar to Saint Victor where there was just a church and a few houses.
When we stopped at the river we were quickly surrounded by hundreds of small dragonflies. We just stopped in a lay-by by the river and went off to explore a bit. It was beautiful and the dragonflies gave it an almost ethereal feel. The river gurgling in the background and the gentle breeze through the trees was a welcome break from the sun.
Relaxing by the River
You can see the river in the photo and you will see the rocks at the side of the road in the video, although I have to say they looked much more spectacular in real life. It wasn’t as ruggedly spectacular as the Vosges, where we had been spoilt, but it was a beautiful place with a definite air of tranquil contentment. The perfect place to relax.
When we passed through Bourdeilles again later the whole village was at a complete standstill with a lorry blocking the road as it unloaded a JCB. We did try to find a way around but ended up in a dead end with a few very confused looking drivers at the entrance of a private estate.
After that we found another backroad that took us back up into the hills where we eventually found a small green lane with an ancient Dolmen at the side of the track in the woods. You can see the pictures of this at the end of the video. After just sitting soaking in the peace and tranquility of the area we headed off to Riberac to eat and collect some supplies before heading back for an early night.
Ride free everyone.
The next instalment will be uploaded soon.
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