Rest day: Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

Friday, 28 June 2019

Walking in France: The narrow bar terrace
The narrow bar terrace

There was no haste this morning, and we crawled out at about 8 am. Our German neighbours were already packing up, and they had resourcefully (but illegally) plugged in a power board to a post supplying electricity to the nearby cabins.

They had a kettle and a toaster already going merrily, and they invited us to use one of the connections, but unfortunately we had nothing electrical to plug in.

We strolled on to town, to find that both the big bars near the square were still shut, but another one, the Café du Centre, was open, with a few tables squeezed onto the footpath in the shade of the building.

Walking in France: Breakfast

It was not hot yet, so we spent a happy half-hour there with our coffee and pastries, feeling as if our toes were in danger from passing traffic if we stretched our legs. We had to tuck them under the table when a wheelchair rolled past.

Then we bought some more painkillers for Keith’s hip, which had bothered him yesterday. He was worried that it was arthritis, ands so it turned out to be.


By then it was starting to get hot and we retired to the grassy glade where our tent was pitched.

For lunch we opened one of the tins that we had bought at Mauriac, partly to lighten our load and partly because we had nothing else to eat

Showers and sleeps ensued before we went back to town at about 5 pm.

Walking in France: The tympanum of the abbey church of St Pierre, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne
The tympanum of the abbey church of St Pierre

For old times’ sake we inspected the great abbey church of St Pierre, and we had the place to ourselves. It was so hot by then that sensible tourists were lying low.

Then it was time to revisit the air-conditioned bar, which was blessedly cool and quite crowded – no surprise there.

Walking in France: Waiting for dinner in the glorious shade
Waiting for dinner in the shade

The large overhead TV was running a continuous report on the weather, with news flashes every so often reporting that the record for the all-time highest temperature ever recorded in France had just been broken, again.

In the end a village just to the south of us recorded 46 degrees, whereas here in Beaulieu it was a mere 43 degrees.

Walking in France: A shared salad to start
A shared salad to start

When it was safe to emerge we went over to the shady square and chose the other restaurant, only distinguishable from last night’s one by the slightly different tables and chairs.

Under the plane trees it was almost dark but further up the square, beyond the great iron cross, it was still light and we saw the wooded hills to the north that we had climbed on a previous walk.

To begin, we shared a salad, augmented by wine and bread, and then had pasta carbonara, a rich and satisfying dish.

Walking in France: And pasta carbonara for mains
Pasta carbonara

Back at the camping ground, we were the only occupants of the grassy riverbank, unlike the night before.

I must have eaten something bad, because I began to feel sick and lay awake for a long time, with several trips to the toilet block, which was a long way away.

Late in the night, I heard murmuring voices and saw two little bouncing lights going past in the direction of the river.

I imagined that they were canoe thieves, but in the morning we saw that a new small tent had appeared. I had not thought of such an innocent explanation in the darkness of the night.

Previous day: Argentat-sur-Dordogne to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

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