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Constant

Dordogne, France

Walking the Dordogne

Posted by Luci Ackers on Nov 16, 2015
Walking in the Dordogne
Walking in the Dordogne
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See the Dordogne through the eyes of someone who lives and breathes it. If you are a guest to Constant you will want to join one of Marie-Line Denis-Cope's walks of the area. Really soak up the culture for yourself.

Marie-Line has been working at Constant for 10 years now as a receptionist. She is a freelance national guide and enjoys taking the Constant guests out and about on walking tours. The Dordogne is a fantastic place to be based for such adventures. 'I like meeting new people on my walks and showing them why the area is so interesting,' she says. 'It's fantastic to strike up that exchange with guests to Constant and introduce them to my world.'

The local walk around the beautiful, ancient hamlet of Constant is 7 kilometres. It is reasonably easy-going, taking place on Fridays and lasting around 2.5 hours, it's dedicated to local architecture and history. Marie-Line offers this walk as a different way to 'read' the landscape and understand its buildings; she covers the period of time from the middle ages up to the 20th century.

Depending on the season Marie-Line also leads one of two excursions that are available from constant on a Monday. These are both full day walks that tend to last from around 9.00 to 17.00, with a small group of no more than 16 people.

The first focusses largely on architecture. The group is guided around elegant medieval villages and fortified bastides. Monpazier was founded by King Edward I of England in 1284 and remains one of the better known and best preserved bastide towns in Périgord. The group tours, by vehicle, off the beaten track to stop at remote 13th century hamlets, little chapels and dovecotes, and the Romanesque churches for which the region is famous.

The second outing begins at a family-owned organic vineyard. In the morning there is a guided tour of the vineyard, where guests learn about the production process, and this is followed by a tasting of eight different wines with a selection of nibbles. After the vineyard there is a visit to medieval villages, returning via a beautiful Romanesque abbey. Her interest in local history helps Marie-Line to explain why these buildings are so intriguing.

So why is this region so special to her? 'Well I am French and I had the pleasure of growing up in the Dordogne! My parents and my grandparents are local to the area and so I grew up learning the traditions and exploring the region'. She explains how In Périgord, the tales of the woods are handed down and shared amongst friends and family. 'I think this has fulled a lasting passion I have for the region and its amazing heritage.'

Having studied History of Art and Medieval History at university Marie-Line returned to live in the Dordogne in her late twenties. 'I would go walking amongst the interesting buildings: the barns, dovecotes, war memorials, places I knew as well as places I hadn't discovered before. This was how I first made my own walking route...'

For the last three years Marie-Line has also been organizing the Theme Weeks here at Constant, putting to good use and sharing the knowledge she's gained of the local area and interesting history.

There are two different Theme Weeks for the upcoming year. One is called 'Gentle Dordogne' and is aimed towards those who may find long walks a bit tricky. Everything is within easy distance from each other and guests will be transported through history by boat, train and coach as well as on foot. There will be the opportunity to meet local producers, have tasting sessions, discover prehistoric cave art and explore a truffle wood!

The other is called 'Unusual Périgord' and visits a collection of private and secret places such as beautiful gardens, chartreuse and vineyards. This week will allow guests to see the Dordogne in a whole new light; quaint, local places undiscovered by the public. Marie-Line's passion really comes through during her excursions and her excitement to show people these hidden gems really makes her walks something special.

If you would like to take part in one of Marie-Line's beautiful walks simply follow the link below to discover how you can stay at Constant for yourself.

FIND OUT HOW YOU TOO CAN STAY HERE
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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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