In yesterday’s posting, I promised that I would reveal “the mystery of La Roque-Gageac,” and here at Radio Free Daglan we keep our promises.
I am aware that most, if not all, readers weren’t aware of any particular mystery about this lovely village in the GDA, about 13 kilometres or eight miles from Daglan if you travel up to Castelnaud and then over the river.
On January 20 of this year, I posted “Shutting down a French village,” in which I related how the single road running between the village and the Dordogne River had been completely closed to traffic, to allow for some major construction work.
Then on March 13, I posted “Progress report on that ‘shut down’ French village.” It explained that a pedestrian walkway was being built on landfill along the river, and that work was continuing — in other words, the road was still closed to traffic. Eventually the work stopped (for the season) and the road re-opened. But clearly, the project was nowhere near complete.
Which brings us to the mystery: Exactly how will this all look when the work is done, and why would La Roque’s civic officials want a walkway only along the river — when all the shops, hotels and restaurants are on the village side of the road?
The answer was made clear when I visited La Roque-Gageac on my bike on Monday (a trip I described in yesterday’s posting, “Monsieur Soleil’s encore, plus some river views”). Before I reveal all, however, let’s start with a quick look at the village itself, huddled mostly along the base of a high limestone cliff. I took this photo as I was entering the village from the west:
In this next photo, you can see that there is no construction equipment in sight, but you’ll also see that the “walkway” doesn’t look very finished. The base is just crushed stone, so there won’t be any in-line skating taking place here:
In this next photo, you’ll get a closer view of the walkway. But if you look closely at the centre of the picture, you might see two metal poles that appear to be holding up a large poster of some sort — and that’s what explained everything.
What’s new is that some official (finally) had the bright idea of putting up artist’s renderings of what the finished road would look like, and how things would work for vehicular traffic and pedestrians. So these three remaining photos are not of “real life,” but rather they’re photos that I took of the drawings that are now posted along the walkway.
And as you’ll see below, the eventual plan is not only to have a pedestrian walkway along the river (a good place for tourists to stroll, without getting run over in traffic) but also to have an attractive sidewalk with planters long the village side of the road (a good place for tourists to stroll, and then pop into a shop or restaurant). Have a look:
And here’s another view of the road, which shows the sidewalk on the village side a bit more clearly:
And finally, here’s a drawing of how the area around some shops will be treated, with paving stones, planters, and even some seating:
So there you have it. To me, it looks good, and seems to be following the same style or design that is being used on the main commercial street leading into Sarlat (a project which seems to be taking forever, by the way).
Clearly the additional work in La Roque will not be done in this tourist season, so we can look forward to considerably more disruption to traffic in the future, probably starting this coming autumn.
A note on RFD photography: Yesterday, one of our readers complimented Radio Free Daglan’s photographs, and asked what kind of camera we use (“we” being my wife Jan, the Chief Photographer, and yours truly, the Assistant Chief Photographer). The answer is that we’re still using an old Fujifilm FinePix F40fd, which was first released back in the spring of 2007. It’s certainly been knocked about, dropped and scuffed, and these days the shutter often has to be teased open with a fingernail. But to paraphrase an old Timex commercial, “It takes a licking, and keeps on clicking.”
Meanwhile, one of these days we may switch to the new Fujifilm FinePix S4300 we bought recently. Apparently, it offers the luxury of 14 megapixels of resolution and 26 x optical zoom. But switching will have to wait, until I can figure out the instructions.