A belvedere is a building or other structure that’s been placed to take advantage of a beautiful view. In Domme, just 10 kilometres or so from downtown Daglan, Le Belvedere is the place to be if you’re looking for a coffee, a kir, an ice cream sundae or a light meal — along with a terrific view.
Late Sunday afternoon, my wife Jan and I headed up to Domme for a drink and a big dose of scenery. And what a change from the autumn.
One Saturday last fall (fall means autumn, if you’re British), I thought that we should drive to Domme, enjoy the view, and have a coffee. Instead, we arrived at a virtual ghost town, with almost everything in the village shut down.
In fact, there were precisely three places open for business — a somewhat touristy shop that sells over-priced local products (like tins of foie gras); a dusty little convenience store; and a small café-cum-bakery with absolutely no view and not very good coffee. We wouldn’t have been surprised to see an old cowboy leaning against a stone wall, chewing a piece of straw, while tumbleweed rolled through the deserted streets.
But yesterday? Ah, that was quite a different story. We arrived at the peak of this hill-top village at just about 6:30, and the parking lot was almost completely full, there were tourists wandering through the streets, and Le Belvedere was open for business. Huzzah!
So here’s a look at the building itself, located near lots of parking, and at the edge of the hillside that drops down to the Dordogne Valley below:
We sat at a corner table on the terrace, had an espresso (moi) and a kir (Jan), and simply took in the great scenery and bright blue sky. Here’s the terrace some time after 6:30 p.m.:
And the views? Well, here’s a photo that I took on the promenade in front of Le Belvedere, looking back towards the village and showing some of the limestone cliff that descends from Domme:
And here’s a view looking outward from the promenade just below Le Belvedere, towards the fields and forests, a stretch of the Dordogne River, and the hills beyond:
As for today? Just as sunny as yesterday, but even warmer. So our lunch consisted of steaks that I cooked on the charcoal grill, accompanied by a lovely Tavel rosé.
And in an important sign that life in the GDA has transitioned from the quiet of winter to the bustle of summer (in other words, the start of the tourist season), the 8 à Huit convenience store in the heart of Daglan is open today. Yes, I know, it’s a Monday, when the store is usually closed. But not when there’s business to be had. Let The Season begin!