Wandering and wondering
I wrote those words about a wander around St Emilion that we took at Easter in 2012. This month, ten years on and we’ve shared similar wanderings. Not with Susie-Belle and Renae but with the dogs who now follow the path they set with us. Just as they did, Albert Claude, Cerise and Angel find walks around town fascinating and tiring. There’s so much under their noses to savour. And as they stop and wonder, absorbing news from all who have passed before, they leave their own notes for future twitching noses. They enjoy the world at both a macroscopic, odorous level, and one much bigger than I, or any human can ever appreciate.
In 2012 when we walked around St Emilion we lived and worked in the UK coming to France for holidays. Now here fulltime, with Michel retired, we still enjoy visiting the many old and historically rich villages around the region.
It’s impossible not to find beauty and wonder with every step around narrow streets which have witnessed over eight hundred years of human communities coming and going. In Monflanquin, a hilltop town founded in 1265, around every corner we read plaques detailing its long heritage. This pretty town is one of the les plus beaux villages, “most beautiful vilalges of France”. This accolade is given to 172 villages across the country; our region boasts 33 of them.
As well as beautiful towns and villages, castles draw us in. There are plenty to explore within easy reach of home. Again the dogs’ noses are always busy when we visit these. My mind is busy imagining the lives which have gone before us. I’m a big fan of writer Kate Mosse. Her fiction fuels my imagination as much as the architecture I walk through and around.
With winter not far away, our plans are to enjoy more of these kinds of wanderings. Making the most of the peace we find in the absence of tourists. The dogs enjoy their daily leash-free rambles in the countryside, but also love the change which cobbled streets offer. And we’re here to offer them everything that they enjoy.