If you’ve been reading any of my posts about the Fête de Daglan — that wacky, four-day extravaganza of concerts, amusement-park rides and games, parades, and bike races — you’ll know that my No. 1 complaint is the noise that continues each night until 1 or 2 in the morning.
So it may not come as a complete surprise that the Radio Free Daglan gold medal for this year’s fête goes to: Being Somewhere Else at Night!
That’s right. This year my wife Jan and I decided well in advance that we didn’t want to spend the nights of the festival listening to the pounding rock and techno music up in the village square (approximately a 40-second stroll from our front steps), blasting through the sound system of the bumper-car ride. So we made plans to be somewhere else.
Before I reveal our alternate location (which comes highly recommended, by the way), here are a couple of key points:
- We don’t really hate the fête. There are lots of good things about the annual festival, including the (very loud) concerts at night. During our first year of living full-time in Daglan, for example, we went to the Friday-night dinner and concert, and had a lot of fun eating, drinking and dancing with a huge crowd. But four days is a touch long for any village’s festival, and the amusement-park rides plunked in Daglan’s main square are definitely too much. (There are lots of open fields around Daglan, in which the rides could be installed.)
- We only wanted to miss the loud nights. In planning our escape, we knew that we wanted to be somewhere relatively close, so that we could return home in the morning, feed and play with our cat Scooter, and have a “normal” lunch and afternoon. Then each evening, we were planning to drive away to our quiet haven.
The place we chose for our escape was a B & B home (chambres d’hôte, in French) called La Tour de Cause, located just south of Castelnaud and about eight kilometres north of Daglan. If you’re considering a visit to the area, La Tour de Cause would be an excellent choice. If you have no reason to visit the area, or already have your favourite B & B spot, you can stop reading now.
What follows is my description of the place and what we enjoyed about our stay, but — and let me be perfectly clear — it’s not an advertisement. (Radio Free Daglan offers only our honest opinions, good or bad. We accept no payment.)
In any case, before I show off La Tour de Cause in a few photos, let me give you a few reasons we had such a good stay for our three nights (Friday through Sunday nights):
- North American comfort, French character. The owners of La Tour de Cause, Caitlin and Albert, are from California, and they understand what a North American (or Briton) would want in a B & B. For example, the en suite bathrooms are generous in size, clearly designed for people who are larger than leprechauns. (By law, French hotel bathrooms must be designed in Ireland, by actual leprechauns. That’s why a Parisian hotel can seem a bit snug, if you’re taller than three feet.) Yet La Tour de Cause maintains all the charm of a French country home. Albert is an experienced builder and was in charge of all the works that went into turning a huge barn into five very spacious rooms.
- Great hospitality. Caitlin and Albert offer lovely, generous breakfasts, including fresh fruit and pastries from the area’s best bakery (in Castelnaud). Although they speak English (of course), they also know French, and have a great knowledge of what the GDA has to offer — from restaurants to tourist attractions to shops. We enjoyed our breakfast-time conversations with other guests, including couples from Paris, Périgueux (capital of the Dordogne), and Varese (in northern Italy). Throughout breakfast, both Caitlin and Albert were on hand to serve more coffee or fresh-squeezed orange juice while helping to keep the conversation flowing.
- A place to relax and enjoy. One night, Jan and I played boules on a large gravel surface that Caitlin and Albert had created just for that purpose. And several times, we enjoyed swimming in the home’s large pool, with great views of the forested landscape around them.
With that, now let’s take a photographic tour. Here’s the entrance to La Tour de Cause:
And here’s a look at the courtyard, showing the entrances to several of the rooms:
Here’s a look at the rear of the property, showing the steps that lead up to the lovely pool:
Finally, here’s a look at the pool area, surrounded by forested hills:
The bottom line? By all means, enjoy the Fête de Daglan for all four days. But if you live anywhere near the village square, this is a great time to get out of town.