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GUIDE BOOKS, for the 7 Day Perigord, 6 Day Cele and 12 Day 3 Rivers Trips
The Rough Guide to Dordogne and the Lot by Jan Dodd
The Rough Guide to the Dordogne and the Lot is the ultimate handbook for discovering the region, from its spectacular limestone caves to the fairytale château of Najac. Discover walks and cycle trails to ancient cliffs and peaceful riverbanks, and stop off at world-famous vineyards. Foodies will enjoy a full-colour section on A taste of Périgord, sharing the best of the region's world-renowned cuisine, while readers are directed to the finest restaurants and water-side cafés, not to mention festivals and local markets. Whether you're looking for the best campsites or the most stylish hotels, you can rely on accommodation suggestions for every budget and taste. You'll find practical advice on travelling around the region, from boat tours to rail services, relying on the clearest maps of any guide. Explore all corners of this region with authoritative background information on everything from the region's varied landscapes and wildlife to its fascinating history and cultural heritage.
Dordogne and Lot Footprint by Michael Pauls and Dana Facaros
The Dordogne takes people by surprise. Green and calm and quiet, at first glance it seems like just another corner of rural France designed for good food, fine wine and easy living. Then they notice that it holds humanity's first great works of art, provocative paintings on the walls of its caves that go back over 15,000 years BC. It's been a busy crossroads ever since. The land of a thousand castles has cinematic medieval donjons and turreted Renaissance chateaux to rival those of the Loire. A dramatic history hasn't kept the Dordogne from polishing the arts of everyday life. There's an inviting cuisine based on duck, foie gras and truffles, and lovely villages of warm golden stone that complement some of France's most civilized landscapes. Including ideas for great days out, locals recommendations and travel tips to avoid the crowds and save money, FootprintFrance Dordogne gives an insight into a region that will have you reaching for your passport today.
The Discovery of France. A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War. by Graham Robb
Illuminating, engrossing and full of surprises, The Discovery of France is a literary exploration of a country few will recognize; from maps and migration to magic, language and landscape, it’s a book that reveals the ‘real’ past of France to tell the whole story – and history – of this remarkable nation. ‘With gloriously apposite facts and an abundance of quirky anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of people, places and customs, Robb, on brilliant form, takes us on a stunning journey through the historical landscape of France’ Independent ‘Certain books strain the patience of those close to you. How many times can you demand: “Look at this! Can you imagine? Did you know that?” without actually handing over the volume? This is such a book’ Mail on Sunday ‘An extraordinary journey of discovery that will delight even the most indolent armchair traveller’ Daily Telegraph
A Brief History of the Hundred Years War: The English in France, 1337-1453 by Desmond Seward
For over a hundred years England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. France was a large, unwieldy kingdom, England was small and poor, but for the most part she dominated the war, sacking towns and castles and winning battles - including such glorious victories as Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, but then the English run of success began to fail, and in four short years she lost Normandy and finally her last stronghold in Guyenne. The protagonists of the Hundred Year War are among the most colourful in European history: for the English, Edward III, the Black Prince and Henry V, later immortalized by Shakespeare; for the French, the splendid but inept John II, who died a prisoner in London, Charles V, who very nearly overcame England and the enigmatic Charles VII, who did at last drive the English out. Desmond Seward's account traces the changes that led to France's final victory and brings to life all the intrigue and colour of the last chivalric combats as they gave way to a more brutal modern warfare.
A Concise History of France by Roger Price
This book provides a clear and well-informed guide to French history from the emergence of a strong state in the Ile-de-France in the early middle ages, to the trente glorieuses following the Second World War and the Mitterrand presidency. As such, it provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive study of French history available. Among the book's central themes are the relationship between state and society, the impact of war and such crucial questions as who possessed political power, how this power was used, in whose interests, and with what consequences. Roger Price examines the role of leading figures including Philip Augustus, Henri IV, Louis XIV, the two Napoleans, Clemenceau and De Gaulle as well as the lives of ordinary people. A rich entertaining guide for the student and general reader.
A Traveller’s History of France, by Robert Cole
The Traveller's History series is designed for the traveller who feels they need more historical background information on the country in which they are staying than can be found in an ordinary guidebook. For those who want to look deeper and discover more about the roots of France, its history and culture, in an enjoyable read, this is the book to choose. Designed for easy reference it is the key to unlocking the secrets of France. If you want to find about the mysterious Merovingian kings or the results of the last election; if you want to know when Chartres cathedral was built or how Napoleon rose to power or when and where Princess Diana died - you'll find it all in A Traveller's History of France. 'Undoubtedly the best way to prepare for a trip to France is to bone up on some history. The Traveller's History of France by Robert Cole is concise and gives the essential facts in a very readable form.' The Independent 'This little book is a very good idea indeed, a running commentary on the complexities, triumphs and tragedies of French history from the Lascaux Caves to the Pompidou centre. A must for tourists who want to know what happened where.' The Birmingham Post 'A brilliant idea from Gloucestershire publishers Windrush: a series of books which give a potted history of European countries. Ostensibly aimed at holidaymakers, the first on France, is an excellent introduction for anyone who wants an idiot's guide to a history that has so often intertwined with our own.' The Oxford Times
Cave Art: A Guide to the Decorated Ice Age Caves of Europe by Paul G. Bahn
The decorated Ice Age caves are some of mankind's greatest artistic achievements, and there is no substitute for seeing the caves themselves. There you can see the art – paintings, engravings, bas-reliefs or drawings – in its original, natural setting, and stand where the artists did 30,000–10,000 years ago.
For speleologists and holidaymakers alike – indeed anyone who wants to add a visit to a cave to their itinerary – here is an essential handbook. The first guide to all the decorated Ice Age caves in Europe that are open to the public, Cave Art covers more than 50 caves in England, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, as well as relevant museums and centres.
This second edition has been fully revised and includes three additional caves and four new facsimiles.
The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World’s First Artists by Gregory Curtis
The Cave Painters is an introduction to the spectacular cave paintings of France and Spain. From the individuals who rediscovered them, through theories about their origins, and to descriptions of their splendour and mystery.Gregory Curtis makes us see the astonishing sophistication and power of the paintings and tells us what is known about their creators, the Cro-Magnon people of some 40,000 years ago. He takes us through various theories—that the art was part of fertility or hunting rituals, or used for religious purposes, or was clan mythology—examining the ways interpretations have changed over time. Rich in detail, personalities, and history, The Cave Painters is above all permeated with awe for those distant humans who developed—perhaps for the first time—both the ability for abstract thought and a profound and beautiful way to express it.
Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker
Captain Bruno Courreges goes by the grand title of Chief of Police, though in truth he's the only municipal policeman on staff in the small town of St Denis in the beautiful Perigord region of south west France. Bruno sees his job as protecting St Denis from its enemies, and these include the capital's bureaucrats and their EU counterparts in Brussels. Today is market day in the ancient town. Inspectors from Brussels have been swooping on France's markets, attempting to enforce EU hygiene rules. The locals call the Brussels' bureaucrats 'Gestapo' and Bruno supports their resistance. What's more, here in what was Vichy France, words like 'Gestapo' and 'resistance' still carry a profound resonance. When an old man, head of an immigrant North African family, is found murdered, suspicion falls on the son of the local doctor, found in flagrante playing sex games surrounded by Nazi paraphernalia. But Bruno isn't convinced, and suspects this crime may have its roots in that most tortured period of recent French history - the Second World War, a time of terror and betrayal that set brother against brother.
A Castle in the Backyard by Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden
"A Castle in the Backyard" chronicles the French adventures of American couple Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden, who in 1985 embarked upon a dream. After falling in love with a small stone house set beneath a medieval castle in Perigord, they bought the tranquil getaway located in one of the most beautiful river valleys in Europe. In this delightful memoir Betsy and Michael offer an intimate glimpse of a region little known to Americans - the Dordogne valley, its castles and prehistoric art, its walking trails and earthy cuisine, its people and traditions - and describe the charms and mishaps of setting up housekeeping thousands of miles from home. Insightful and poignant, this memoir chronicles the transformation of Perigord as development poses a challenge to its graceful way of life, and evokes the personal exuberance of starting over, even in mid-life.
Many types of maps are availablle for this region but I recommend those produced by the Institute Geographique Nationale (IGN).
They have two series of walking maps which are suitable for our canoeing needs.
The Top25 series is at a scale of 4cm to the km and the Top100 series is at a scale of 1cm to the km.
For the 7 Day Perigord Trip, and the 12 Days 3 Rivers Trip:
TOP100 IGN 154 Brive la Gaillarde/Figeac covers both trips.
For the 6 Day Cele Trip, and the 12 Days 3 Rivers Trip:
TOP100 IGN 154 Brive la Gaillarde/Figeac covers both trips.
For the 12 Day Ardeche/Tarn Trip, 8 Day Ardeche and the 6 Day Tarn:
These maps are available to buy online at IGN and at the usual online book shops.
For the 8 & 4 Day Belgium Ardennes Trip
Below are described some books for the trips to the Perigord and the Cele (including the 12 Day 3 Rivers trip).
Books for the Ardeche/Tarn Trip and those for the Belgium Ardennes Trip can be found in the brochures, which may be downloaded.