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For our next European vacation, we chose a small village called Villeréal in the Dordogne region of southern France. This is bastide country, tiny hilltop medieval fortified towns and walled villages. The 14th century covered market in the town square was particularly memorable.

Most of us stayed at the main farmhouse, but Effi, Claudia, and I were up at a gîte on a hill, the Bergerie. This is where we did the gaming--both inside and late into the night on the covered patio (in retrospect a poor idea as Claudia slept just above us.)

Down the hill from the main farmhouse.

This region, called the Perigord by the French, is known for its gastronomic delights, and we sampled specialties like truffles and foie gras. Like our Italy trip, all the dinners were prepared by the family. The food was excellent, perhaps not quite as good as Tuscany, but the local cheese wedges coming around at the end of the meal were heavenly.

A real ballista --ancient artillery piece at Castelnaud, where they had other catapult and trebuchet siege engines and showed videos on their building and use.

The canoe trip down the Dordogne River was the highlight of the trip. Surprisingly fun and easy, even for beginners.

Here the caves are visible on the cliff face at La Rouge-Gageac.

Matt taking a picture of me as I'm taking one of him

Natasha and Walker--who did the lion's share of in-depth preparation for this trip, including preparing spiral bound personalized guides.

The river was surprisingly shallow, at almost every point you could see the rocky bottom maybe 4 feet down through clear waters. There was some current, but little in the way of rapids.


The group photo after the canoe trip's end--quite a day....


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Game Summary:

2001 May: Dordogne France Le Jeanquet

Players: Chris, Effi (ptDM), Felix, Rob, Sam, Ted (DM), Teo, Walker (ptDM)

Plot: BOOK I: The New World; first voyage to Aztaltica, winning over Itzapan nation, epic defense of Balul versus Saurian hordes.

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