Jim’s Périgord Poem

Jim from Texas and his wife Niki joined us for The Périgord Experience in July 2017. We had an extremely compatible group and a very memorable week together in the Dordogne.

After he returned home, Jim surprised all of us with this wonderful poem about our week.

He’s provided such a creative summary of all we experienced, and we appreciate Jim allowing us to share it on our website.

Merci beaucoup, Jim! We’ll treasure this memory!

Jim, Niki and their fellow travelers at Chateau de Hautefort

A Week in the Valley of Man

Our Périgord Experience of twenty seventeen
Created lasting memories of splendor seldom seen.
The week with newfound friends built bonds, connections to enhance,
Enjoying haut cuisine among the very best in France.
Each day another castle keep or stone-roofed proud chateau
Looking down from lofty heights to a river far below.
At times confused by Bob, Bob, Jim, Jim, Ken, Ken, and Leroy…
Were given names in short supply when I was just a boy?

We cruised the clear Dordogne while a bright kingfisher flew,
Showing us with pride his plumes of iridescent blue.
Meanwhile high upon the cliff-face closer looks would show
Where troglodyte inhabitants had lived so long ago.
The Sunday market, St. Geniès, drew shoppers by the score,
With cheese and chickens, clothes and gadgets, art and so much more.
Rich gastronomic pleasures appeared both day and night.
Steaming moules and chèvre chaud and foie gras … true delight.

Our most impressive site? The massive Chateau de Hautefort,
Whose dome-like towers exude power, dominance of yore.
Immaculate trimmed hedges in patterns sure to please,
Elusive Italianate gardens … somewhere in the trees?
Another choice for plaudits: the great Chateau de Beynac,
High above the river’s banks, a profile others lack.
The image from below by generations was regaled:
A French redoubt a Hundred Years before Columbus sailed.

Our travels through the countryside found treasure in Fanlac:
A leather craftsman, Kristof, using really diff’rent stock.
Not cowhide, sheep or buckskin, as anyone might guess.
But skins of fish! Oh my, what’s next? A barracuda dress?
We spent some time in Terrasson with Matthew as our host
Watching him press walnut oil, the taste of which they boast.
The ponderous machine seemed huge, nearby a walnut sat.
He passed Annette the hammer, then she took a swing and SPLAT!

A British archaeologist, Steve Burman, shared his views
On life among Neanderthals, the rustic tools they’d use,
The contrasts with Cro-Magnon man, what painted caves remain
From 20,000 years ago, such talent to proclaim.
We also heard from Isabel of sites she has explored.
As mayor of the village her enthusiasm poured.
She showed how an atlatl can launch a feathered spear.
From watching our initial throws, the wildlife need not fear.

Thursday’s tour of Lascaux IV brought echoes from the past.
Yes, a reproduction, but precisely built to last.
That evening’s special dinner at the Manoir de Hautegente:
A splendid meal together, a delightful evening spent.
Our last full day in Périgord we dodged the Sarlat rain,
Snacking on gelato, pizza – yet more pounds to gain.
Then finally a celebration: memories to share.
We’ll travel far from Périgord but leave some comfort there.

To Kathy and to Charley we raise a hearty toast;
You showed us the Dordogne’s charm, your welcome was the most.
May your projects find success no matter where you are
And show the world for years to come to trav’lers near and far.