After leaving Spain we drove north, past French Basqueland and into the Parc Naturel Régional des Landes de Gascogne for a night outside of Sabres. In the morning, we drove into town and bumped into the twice-weekly farmers’ market, which was perfect because we needed veggies and cheese.
Regional natural parks in France are “inhabited rural areas recognized at a national level for the value of its heritage and landscapes which form part of a concerted sustainable development effort to protect and promote that heritage”, according to a brochure I got of activities and patrimonial sites in Brantôme. Périgord-Limousin has a five point action plan to work towards that:
Point I: improve water quality in the three heads of the drainage basins
Point II: preserve the diversity
Point III: encourage improvement of local resources as part of a sustainable development drive
Point IV: combat climate change
Point V: strengthen local identity and social networks
It’s inspiring to see local communities (network of villages, museums, nearby castles, restaurants, workshops and seasonal, holiday businesses) organize to promote economic good and environmental sustainability.
The problem for us is we’re passing through in March. It’s low season, so many things are closed or unavailable due to weather. It’s been raining off-and-on the whole week, with only a few moments of fleeting sun before being swallowed by the clouds. There aren’t as many hiking trails around these parks.
There hasn’t been much of an opportunity to meet French people this trip either. Everyone is at work, school, or inside and we haven’t visited any hotels, restaurants, or cafés.
In any case, we have a destination and we keep ourselves pointed that way. How is southwestern France? Beautiful, green, rainy, somnambulant, elusive.