Freeway Free in France: The Barons of Beynac
We began the morning hiking past a campground which evoked so many stays as my husband and I sought affordable vacations with our two children . Doesn’t this expandable trailer look familiar, fellow campers? But having the trail on the other side of a cyclone fence was a little off-putting.
Our next stint was up and over easy hills, on back roads through small villages. We came across an old church, with a charming graveyard adjacent. Such a contrast to the cemeteries in my neighborhood, where one has a choice of three different styles of stone, and one may not leave anything on the stone which would impede a power lawn mower! Here were live flowers in pots and personalized tributes from family members – one could construct an entire village history from the mementoes pile atop the sacophogi!
Further along the path we spotted what looked like a statue dedicated to Sagittarius on a pedestal in a farmyard. As we approached nearer, we discover that the statue was a real goat!
We hiked further and higher, always seeing the castle of Beynac hovering in the distance ahead of us. For hours it seemed like a mirage, always visible, yet never nearer. Then suddenly we were there, on the highlands adjacent to the castle, looking out past the fortifications to the valley of the Dordogne far below.
We wandered through the medieval fortress marveling at the huge hall used for public audience, the spiral stairs leading to inaccessible floors, the barred doors marked “Acces interdit- Residence privee ” with tantalizing glimpses of rooms in which people might actually be living. . I wonder what it would be like to live in such a place in modern time.
A plaque testified that the lineage of Beynac has continued for centuries, right down to the mysterious current inhabitants. I would have liked to meet LUCIUS GROSSO Et DIONYSIA -UXOR SUA!