Summer holiday 2002
Charente, France






Friday, 17th Augustus
Day 8


Again we start out with a sunny and a warm day. I love this place! We have left early this morning for a visit to the caves at Villars. The drive over there is simply beautiful. We drive across small country roads with here and there a stunning view. The recommended way to travel is to Montbron, then to Piégut, and via Nontron into the direction of Brantôme, and then to Villars. The caves are situated a few kilometres outside Villars.

Therefore we follow the road that circles up around the hill. We are about halfway up the hill when suddenly a woman warring an apron and rubber boots storms into the road about 20 metres in front of the car, franticly waving us to slow down! I pull over to the side of the road and I come to a full stop, when all of a sudden a whole herd of cattle storms into the road following the woman. The whole bunch of about 15 to 20 cows storms by, following the woman down hill. While I am wondering whether this will be it, a really huge bull storms into the road followed by a jeep, both of them following the rest of the herd down hill. When the whole lot had passed by, luckily without damaging the car, I take a deep breath and I think that this is something you don´t quit often see.

Finally having reached the site where the caves are, we park the car under the trees and get an admission ticket. These caves were discovered only in 1953, and were formed about 240.000 years ago. We go in with a small group accompanied by a guide that speaks French as well as English, and even knows a handful of Dutch words. These caves are put on the map because of the wall paintings that were made here about 17.000 years ago.

Most of them are drawings of animals like horses, bison and other pray that these people used to hunt. One of these figures is clearly human. This is rare since these people usually did not paint themselves. This cave is a novelty to the children, since they never ever have visited a cave before. What a pity, no photographing allowed!

Having visited the caves, we actually had the plan to return to le Chat. However, on the way to the caves we passed by a beautiful castle situated in the Loire valley. Since it is still quit early, we decide to pay a visit to this castle as well. We are here anyway, therefore seize the moment, right!

So we go back to Villars where road signs guide us into the direction of the Château de Puyguilhem. The access road to the castle slowly curls upwards around the hill, and criss-cross through the narrow streets of Villars. Outside the gate that leads to the castle you can park your car on a clearing made under the trees.

As I have mentioned before, the castle lies in the Loire valley, and dates back to the early Renaissance (16th century - Francoise I). I can certainly recommend a visit. Within its wall it is nice and cool, at least during the summer months. Due to poor isolation it must me freezing cold during wintertime.

The rooms are decorated with beautiful tapestries hanging down from the walls, various fireplaces with beautiful stone carvings and antique furniture decorated with beautiful woodcarvings.





Under the tower steeple, there is a narrow exterior pathway that circles around the tower. From here you have a fabulous view over the Loire valley. The acoustic properties of the valley are simply phenomenal. On the top of the opposing hill some people were having lunch outside, and one could almost here literally what was discussed over there.

Having finished our visit to the castle we get back to le Chat. We drive along the small country roads with again stunning views. Driving through Nontron, I actually really want to stop here and visit this beautiful town. But having exposed the kids to so much culture already, I keep on driving. Perhaps I will come back here on some other occasion. Perhaps.

All during the summer months there is an activity team present on the park in order to entertain the many children present. For tonight they have organised a quest through the park. This starts around nine in the evening and will take about an hour to finish. Various outposts need to sign of a form, and assignments have to be carried out. The evening will be closed with a drink and a large bonfire.

All together, quite a nice and interesting day for all!












and welcome!




Highslide JS
Francoice I, King of France. Born September 12, 1494. Died March 31, 1547

Francoice I, King of France
Born September 12, 1494
Died March 31, 1547



Highslide JS
The Château de Puyguilhem.

The Château de Puyguilhem.



Highslide JS
One of the beautifull fire places.

One of the beautifull fire places.



Highslide JS
An example of the beautiful furniture.

An example of the
beautiful furniture.



Highslide JS
Bonfire.

Bonfire.