Christopher’s a man on a mission today with a long drive planned, taking us out of central France into the northwest. It means spending most of the day on the road, rendering me a little stir crazy, but it is raining, so there’s not a great deal we could do otherwise. It’s a fair call given our dwindling time, but I’m not very good trapped inside for hours.
After hundreds of deer warning signs, we finally see some. Five does, extraordinarily exposed in a ploughed field, gracefully picking their way across.
I manage a good look at them through binoculars. Even at this distance they’re aware of us – one lifts her beautiful head to look straight at me through the lens. They’re such elegant, finely limbed creatures.
Despite the rain, the scenery is endlessly lovely. Autumn’s glory seemingly knows no bounds. We stay on the D roads, enjoying farmland and forests.
The colours are so breathtaking in one section I’m moved to video it. (Instagram: @miss_baci_travels)
It takes almost all day to get to the Les Plus Beaux Village of Gargilesse-Dampierre. It sits tucked away in the corner of a forest, overlooking a stream, a romantic setting that’s captured artists and writers across the centuries.
The rain has kept everyone away – we have the village to ourselves.
Well, ourselves and a lovely tabby, who takes it upon himself to be our guide, taking us into the church (where he’s quite at home, thank you),
into the crypt and back to the main square. He’s very essence of a very good boy.
The church is an 11th – 12th century limestone build. The treasure lies in the crypt – Tabby shows us rare 12th – 16th century frescos that decorate the walls and ceiling depicting the Passion of Christ.
The village also boasts a medieval castle which was partly destroyed in the civil wars of 1648 – 1653. Two impressive towers and a postern remain from the original period, with the adjoining Chateau built on in the 18th century.
We walk the rest of the village – is quite small, but very pretty.
Tabby stays behind to supervise the main square as befits a cat with a job.
As the day draws to a close we settle further down river, amidst yet more autumn colour.
The rain, which miraculously lifted as we walked the village, makes a return, its gentle patter quite soothing, now that it’s not robbing me of my day.
Deep in the most gloroius Autumn I’ve ever experienced, I still haven’t managed to shake the “I don’t want to come home” blues. I’ll need to work on that.