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Our holiday in The Lot Valley, France

We had a fantastic holiday in the south of France in a little village called Bach. The weather was mostly hot, the food was great, there were hardly any people and the area was so quiet that we slept like the dead every night. In the evenings, all we could hear was Scops Owls, Cuckoos and Nightingales.
Rather than give you a blow by blow account of the holiday,we'll leave it up to the pictures to show you what sort of time we had.

Here are a few of the photos we took of the wild flowers we found.

6am and we're ready to wake the neighbours up!

A half hour train journey under the English Channel and we are in France. Bikes go in the rear carriage apparently for safety reasons.

6 hours later it was time for a half-way brew up in Fonteinbleu forest.

Eventually after 13 hours of travel we arrived at our home for the next 2 weeks.
The house is called Le Tillieul, which is French for Lime tree. That's a lime tree outside the house!

Outside our back door the palm tree was flowering. The church bells rang twice a day at 7 o'clock. So we were up early every day.
Every night we were serenaded by a Scops Owl. Click here to listen to his song.

The little terrace at the front of our house where we ate.
We had loads of different birds flying over the house, including Marsh harrier, Black Redstart and Cuckoos, so binoculars were always at the ready.
Lizards were scuttling all around us and Swallowtail Butterflies in the flowers.

The local shops. Everyone was really friendly and helpful and it was cheap too!

One of the most gorgeous roads in the world. It undercuts the limestone cliffs alongside the River Lot for mile after mile.

Pont Valentre at the local big town, Cahors.

Bareback riding in the sun. The roads were mostly empty and were never in straight lines.

St Cirq Lapopie. Officially one of France's most beautiful villages.

The whole village is awful! 

Terrible car congestion problems.

Lousy views too.

Some of the people live in total squallor.

Another village we visited was Rocamadour that clings tightly to the limestone cliffs.
This  amazing place is the source of some fantastic goats cheese that we made sure we sampled.
Above the village we were lucky enough to see a Short-toed Eagle hovering, looking for snakes and lizards.

A view from the top of the village. 

And another view. Notice the great road. Riding a bike was a real pleasure around this area. There were no straight roads at all.

One bird we were keen to see in France was a hoopoe. We didn't want to see a dead one, but this was the closest view we got. 

We found this huge Hawkmoth just outside our house. It didn't seem very well. It may have been attacked by a bird.

We had many types of butterflies around us at all times. Sometimes there were small swarms of them following us down the pathways.
This one was a Scarce swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius)

There were loads of interesting insects around. Cicadas were singing everywhere and beetles like the one above were in every hedge. We were not pestered by the insects though. There were no mosquitoes and we were not bitten by anything.

The hedgerows were full of too many species of plant to easily count. Poppies were in abundance everywhere.

We took a ride into the Pyrenees mountains for a day and got very close to Spain.

The views were breathtaking. Here's Gill taking a breath!

Lizards were to be found everywhere we went for a walk. They even lived on the house we were staying in. Usually they scampered off as you approached, but this one in the mountains was more than happy to be immortalised.

Another mountain climbed (by motorbike). At the top we were enveloped in clouds, so we had to descend to get good views.
From the mountain we saw some Griffon Vultures.

Wild daffodils were growing everywhere on the mountains.

We also did a fair amount of walking. We hardly ever saw anyone. which added to the feeling of going back in time. There are dry stone walls everywhere and they make ideal homes for lizards, snakes, small mammals and invertebrates.

These cassels were created years ago to shelter shepherds and goatherds. These were usually children. 

The local sheep all have black eyes. It wasn't me!

Gill said that she wants me to buy her this chateau. Course I will babe!

The area is also dotted with these "basins". This was where people used to do their washing. Now they are small wildlife sanctuaries.

There were also many of these constructions called dolmens.
They are the remnants of burial mounds. The whole thing would once have been covered in soil.

This was a spot high above a gorge where we never failed to see Black Kites soaring.