La Roque-Gageac to Les Eyzies

Another beautiful day of “doable” cycling setting out a little before 9am with crisp, cool windless weather. Here is the route map:

The early morning sun and trees on the road to Les Milandes

Another bloody Chateaux on the road to Milandes.

I have a sense that almost all of these fairytale chateaus are privately owned and at least one of which I rode past, by a middle Eastern oil sheik. I don’t for one moment assume that it’s the only such one.

A remarkable chateau in Milandes which belonged to an equally remarkable woman Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was an Afro American singer and dancer who rose from poverty to become one of the most famous stars in the Paris music and vaudeville shows of the 30s and 40s. Equally famous for serving in the French resistance, sheltering people wanted by the Nazi and also after the war adopting 11 orphans from all parts of the world and espoused that great truism “all men are created equals” well before her time. She died penniless, so generous was she with her philanthropy that was forced to sell the chateau. Look her up on Google

The view from yet another chateau- the Castelnaud Castle

The church at St Cyprien

Thus Romanesque church in St Cyprien once belonged to an Augustinian Abbey. Of course like all Roman Catholic Churches it had to have a “relic” and as Jesus’ foreskin had already been claimed, the Augustinian monks were quite circumspect about the dilemma and bid for a thorn from the crown. Being a frugal Order they were more than content with just one thorn. It was called the “Sainte Epine” or holy thorn! But there is more to this delicious story as it ( the thorn) had naturally miraculous powers and so sick pilgrims would flock to the church so that the Abbey would rub his thorn against the body of the sick!

The practice of rubbing a little prick against a parishioner’s body is still carried on to this day in some monasteries.

The Dordogne in Les Eyzies