Lalinde Aquitaine Region Of France

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

LALINDE - Aquitaine Region of France

Date: 27th June 2009

A couple of weeks ago I had a short break staying with friends at Lalinde near Bergerac in the Aquitaine region of France.

Being of Huguenot extraction and revering Eleanor of Aquitaine, I was very excited when a family member - who'd been tracing the family history for 20 years (before the advent of the Internet) - told me that there was a possibility of a slight, very slight and tenuous link between our family and Eleanor.  Sadly it didn't prove to be the case.  My son and I made a 'pilgrimage' down through France a few years ago because I wanted to visit places associated with Eleanor and particularly Fontevrault  Abbey in which Henry 11 had her briefly 'incarcerated' and where she ended her days.   Theirs is a very interesting story - initially a love match between the young Henry and the much older Eleanor - which turned sour predominantly to do with family politics and, of course, Henry's dalliances with young ladies.  Their stormy relationship is well depicted in the excellent film 'Lion in Winter' starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole.  Eleanor was a woman ahead of her time - highly intelligent and involved in the power games surrounding the succession. Towards the end of her long life (she was 82 when she died - an amazing age for a person living in the 12th Century) she took the veil and died at Fontevrault which is near Chinon in the Anjou Region of France.

Although the whereabouts of her remains within the Abbey  are uncertain (they may have been destroyed during the French revolution) you can see the tombstones of Eleanor, Henry 11 and their son Richard the Lionheart.

The friends I visited have retired and bought a delightful Perigordine Farmhouse which they are renovating with great taste.  The house is beautifully situated on the banks of the Dordogne - the kind of river I love - wide and shallow in parts where it bubbles over the rocks.  When my family and I holidayed in Provence, I always loved crossing the beautiful Dordogne as we approached our Holiday Home.

My friends were extremely busy sorting out their house and garden so we didn't do too much sight-seeing.  However, market day in Lalinde is a must.  I always used to visit the markets in Salon de Provence and Mallemort and the Lalinde one was equally as good with high standard goods, live music and a sophisticated Parisian Café-style atmosphere.           

They kindly devoted one day to sightseeing in Issegeac - an absolutely delightful Mediaeval Village bordering the Dordogne and in the Lot et Garonne Department.  It was a feast for the eyes despite being a miserably wet day and being Monday virtually everything was shut.  There was only one little Café open - Le P'tit Treille but they served one of the best Magret de Canard that I've ever tasted - and despite their Frites being somewhat larger than one expects of the French, they were a culinary delight.   I rarely indulge in 'Chips' but these were superb.

On another day we visited some more friends who've bought and are renovating a very old house in the tiny village of Cause de Clerans - the view from their back garden is a superb one of an old Fortress type Castle.  One part of it is inhabited by a Dutchman who has undertaken the upkeep of the ruins. They are open to the public very occasionally but, unfortunately, the opening didn't coincide with our visit.  See pic. of the Ruins.

The weather was not the best during my brief visit.  Wish I'd taken my driving licence and could have explored more and also wish my stay could have been longer but I had to get back for some work.  I do so love France and only wish my French were fluent.  When Jonathan and I had our little holiday in 2002, he made me do all the talking despite his having an 'A' level in French.  He argued that with my good accent, my hand waving and despite speaking predominantly in the present tense, people understood me better than they did him.  Either he was being complimentary or lazy!

LALINDE - Aquitaine Region of France

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