Champagnac de Belair is a very beautiful part of the Perigord where the production of Foie Gras is taken very seriously. The town itself is exquisite with one of the best restaurants in the region being found in this delightful town. I was very lucky to have been invited to dine at Le Moulin Du Roc on several occasions. The dinners and lunches I enjoyed here were to say the least exquisite. The starters, the main courses as well as the desserts were absolutely fabulous, not to mention a cheeseboard that had me staring at it for what seems like hours as I tried to make my selection.
I have spent many happy days exploring this lovely area with all the wonderful fairytale ‘chateaux’ that stand proudly by lakes, in valleys and on hillsides, but none that I visited or saw made such an impression on me as the Chateau de la Mercerie. This amazing façade that looks remarkably like a miniature Palais de Versaille was the dream and vision of two rather eccentric brothers, Alphonse and Raymond Réthoré.
I was extremely lucky to have visited the chateau whilst Raymond Réthoré was still alive. Living with his housekeeper at the Chateau de la Mercerie, this palatial façade in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by exquisite copies of marble busts, masterpieces and other wonderful objects, we had coffee with him in one of the salons. The story of Le Chateau de la Mercerie is truly amazing and today it is one of the treasures of the Dordogne which many visitors flock to see and admire.
The region of course, is full of wonderful castles and my employer had cousins who owned one of them. The Chateau de Monsac had been in their family for centuries. I would often visit this superb structural relic of the past with him and as time has gone by, this wonderful chateau is now open for visitors to stay at. The Chateau de Monsac is for me one of the most interesting historically important sites in the Dordogne which I had the great pleasure of visiting so many years ago.
When visiting a region of France like the Dordogne, you really need to plan a trip well in order to have the opportunity of taking in all that there is to do and see. The wonderful towns like Périgeuex and Angoulême as well as the villages and towns that are dotted around all need a little time to explore. I was lucky enough to spend many happy months in the region and had a base to stay at. Today with all the beautiful gites and chateaux that have opened their doors for visitors to stay at, planning such a trip has been made incredibly easy.
I am planning a trip back to one of my favourite haunts next summer and I cannot wait to relish the flavours of the Perigord once again. The beautiful thing about the region is that nothing really changes that much and the food, well that will always be just as delicious as before.