Many years ago, I had one of the biggest surprise of my life when I realized that France is actually more than what tourists see in Paris. I had a two-week study trip in Toulouse region. Being a field trip, I had the chance to discover the real France; the nature and the people. The surprise left a big hole into my soul which was growing faster and faster. I knew I did not see a lot, I knew I was too young to actually understand something, I knew I would give myself several years until the big date. I wanted to take time to enjoy what I quickly saw during that trip, to breath in and out as many times as I want, without feeling guilty for wasting my time. Firstly, I was impressed by the houses, then by the nature that keeps everything intact like in heaven, but I did not stop there. I met the people and the wine coming together with them, I met the ones that were creating the best cheese in the world and the finest wine on the planet. There is no piece of exaggeration in my huge admiration for the region I dreamed for years.
I have got the amazing chance of going back this summer. I knew from the beginning that my experience will be completely different. I was not scared, but curious to discover what I missed in my teenage years. I did not want to be a usual tourist, I just wanted to be a French and to breath this mesmerizing beauty with my entire body.
I have landed in Toulouse and drove all the way towards Bergerac for approximately 2 hours and a half. Halfway, my hearth almost stopped when I looked through the windows and saw the big green valleys. It was raining hard and it was sunny in the same time, it was France at its best. Closer to the destination I had the chance to see all these small villages where people write their life stories behind the roses climbing up their houses. It is colour, but the shade is raw and pure, it has some drops of that fine wine and some fresh leaves from that healthy grass. They don’t know the world, they know their world and they make it a fairy tale.
This region is well known for the wine and also for the tabacco. Several recognized French wines have the origin in this area and they are known as being the finest in the Bordeaux region. It is said that the reason for this aspect is the high fertility level of the soil in the region, which is also influenced by the presence of the river Dordogne. I think now it makes sense for me; the river and the hills and the wine, it is just the perfect combination for a dreamland.
I spent most of the time smelling lavender and mint, walking through the biggest fern forest, admiring houses sitting alone and proud on top of the hill. I felt like these houses were fairy places, where blue cheese recipes were written down for next generations, where wine drops were drawing stories about people and places.
They say that the region has lots of touristic parts, many museums to visit and markets to see. I say that THE region has stories to tell; to tell for those ready to listen and to feel, to taste and to breath in. I ended up breathing in my dream from an young age and keeping it there, inside me, until next time, so the story remains there.
If you get the chance, do travel and see Bergerac and Dordogne, and let me know what other things you discovered.