Before we arrived in France, we made a list of sites we were interested in visiting. We had no formal plans, so each evening we would decide what to do the next day using our list as a guide. This spontaneous style worked well for us and our laid-back personalities. A couple of times we did have to make dinner reservations a day or two in advance, but that didn't cramp our style too much.
Using the above method, it was casually decided that day one would involve a visit to the Gardens of Marqueyssac located near the city of Vezac. I had looked at these gardens online and wanted to see them in person. They didn't disappoint.
Perched high above the valley, covering many acres, the 17th century Chateau and gardens is most famous for the perfectly groomed hedges near the front entrance.
As we walked along, there were tons of opportunities to gaze at the valley below.
We walked at least 3 miles through all kinds of vegetation and beautiful surroundings. It was a pleasant sunny day and not crowded. I've heard that July and August are the busiest times of year for tourism in this area. By going in June, we missed a lot of the crowds.
On the opposite end of the gardens from the entrance was a Belvedere (or outlook). The view was stunning, and it was a nice spot to rest after walking so long to get there.
We wound our way through the gardens for about 2 hours, finally ending up back at the entrance where there was an outdoor cafe...and randomly, a peacock. Cody and I were famished. We had skipped breakfast and it was afternoon. This garden cafe was our first meal in France. We sat outside with a pitcher of local wine between us content to rest and soak up the beautiful surroundings.
And for the sake of "keeping it real" let me tell you I made a huge mistake this day. I broke a cardinal rule of sight-seeing. I am still kicking myself about it, even as I type this. I wore shoes that were not completely broken in. And I walked for miles. My feet were blistered and ruined on the very first day in France! I had to deal with the consequences for the remainder of the trip. I was so irritated with myself.