I have already written one post about the lovely Camino de Santiago. If you want to do the whole walk to Santiago de Compostela in Spain it would take around three weeks. I’m not an expert about it; We only did two days walk, then looped back to walk back to where we started. There are lots of different routes through different countries so this was only one possibility. But if you ever find yourself near Port-Sainte-Foy-et-Ponchapt or Sainte-Foy-la-Grande on the Dordogne river, this is a lovely route to explore. We followed the Camino de Santiago as far as a pretty village called Saussignac.
First of all, we crossed the Dordogne and walked through Sainte-Foy-la-Grande. This was a year ago in December, so I have some sweet photos of the French Christmas decorations. I love this pretty wreath that matches its door.
We walked through Pineuilh, then climbed a small hill that looked down back to the village. It was quite a chilly morning so all our views were shrouded in mist.
The next section of the walk was through several different château’s vineyards. Marc and I have walked through some of the beautiful English vineyards near Dorking but in France there was a wider variety of ages of vines. Some of them had ancient-looking gnarled vines, and others were far more slender and new. I also found it interesting how some châteaus seemed to allow some grapes to wither on the vines, while others had been clipped back neatly. I quite like the look of the blackened stems. It is easy to imagine these vines loaded down with grapes. It must all look gorgeous late in the summer.
Like our previous walk, we saw quite a few old windmills. However, in this direction they were mostly restored or renovated. The one on the left seemed to be used as a farm building and the one on the right had been turned into a really cute home. We did get slightly lost in this section of the walk, so we may not have meant to go past the windmill-home.
Eventually we did find the path again. There was lots of the fluffy old man’s beard plant on the bushes. I wanted to make it into a moustache, but Marc wouldn’t help me, so I had to take a selfie. Unfortunately I should have moved my head along to get a better ‘tache. Ah well.
In addition to all the wineries, we found some tree nurseries as well. After wandering through natural looking woodland, it is really strange to see so many trees lined up perfectly.
We also found quite a few pretty berries and flowers in the bushes. I can see why birds migrate south, there is plenty for birds to eat in the South of France!
We walked past some more farms and châteaus. This place with the pretty blue doors was a winery. There were sign posts that suggested you can pop in for a drink, but it was all closed in December (unless you call in advance and book a wine tasting).
I am sure back at school when I was learning French, I thought château meant castle. However sometimes a château is just a run down barn – it just means a place that makes wine! I was really confused until my sister explained this to me.
I’m not sure what was happening here. Someone has painted their skinny trees as the tricolour. It’s a shame they didn’t choose thicker trees, as that might have looked amazing!
As we walked, the weather slowly improved. This was one of our final views before the mist lifted completely to reveal a beautiful blue sky. Now when I think of the South of France, this is the kind of view I imagine.
Our last half an hour to Saussignac was gorgeous. It was so lovely and warm. We did have to follow roads, rather than country paths, but we didn’t see many cars so it as still a pleasant walk.
Once we arrived in Saussignac we sat down near the church and attempted to plan a route home. It was such a nice day that we decided to walk as far as we could, rather than just asking my sister to drive out and rescue us. It was a good decision. We were soon rewarded with cuddles from a friendly Saussignac cat.
This is the pretty church in Saussignac. Surrounded by really strange trees. Let me know if you know what they are!
The rest of Saussignac was incredibly quiet. We had visited this village for a Christmas fair the previous day, so it was really strange to see the same village completely empty! It looked lovely under a bright blue sky.
This is our last view from the top of the hill leaving Saussignac. It is hard to see in this photo, but the vineyards go all the way into the valley below. We had gorgeous views until we walked down all the way back to the Dordogne. This part of the walk was through farmland. So we made friends with quite a few shouty farm dogs along the way!
This is my obligatory jumping shot, because I didn’t share many from France yet!
The paths along the edge of the farms and vineyards were really lovely.
In the end we made it back to the Dordogne. We crossed the river and then followed the small towns and villages along the river until we knew where we were.
So that is my other mini hike in France. In the end this walk took us about 6 hours. We were happy, but starving at the end of the day, so we were ready for some lovely French food!