That “shut down” French village: A new progress report

Over the past year or so, I’ve written a few times about the amazing work being done in the lovely village of La Roque-Gageac, which sits right on the Dordogne River not far from our village of Daglan. The project involves shutting down the village — closing the only road that runs alongside La Roque, and blocking all traffic — in order to widen the road dramatically and improve it.

Today we saw that substantial progress is being made.

The work actually began in the autumn of 2012, and included closing the road all through the 2012/2013 winter. Here’s what I first wrote about it in “Shutting down a French village,” on January 20, 2013:

For all its charm, and attraction to tourists, La Roque acts like a challenging bottleneck each summer, as cars, buses, trucks, and campers compete for space on the single narrow road — on which countless tourists are trying to walk without getting run over. (There are no sidewalks.)

And so, at a cost of more than 2 million euros, something is being done about the problem. At one end of the village is [a]sign, saying that the chantier or worksite is closed to the public.

On March 13 of last year, I wrote about the project again, in “Progress report on that ‘shut down’ French village, and added this:

Most of today was pretty miserable — cold and grey, although without any of the snow that’s been blanketing northern France. By the late afternoon, however, the sun was out, everything was looking better, and it was time for us to take a little drive.

So off we went to La Roque-Gageac, to see what progress has been made on widening the road that lies between the Dordogne River and the village’s storefronts. I wrote about the project on January 20, in a post called “Shutting down a French village.”

Here’s how the roadwork looked back then, in a photo taken from the southern edge of the village:

Stone is being put down between the road and the river.

Stone is being put down between the road and the river.

And here’s how the work looked this afternoon, in a photo taken from the other edge — the northern end — of La Roque:

It's all starting to take shape -- but there's lots more to do.

It’s all starting to take shape — but there’s lots more to do.

As you can see, the pilings are in place, but there’s lots of fill to be added, even before the final touches are put down. So don’t be planning to drive through this pretty village any time soon.

Now I’m happy to report that as of today (that is, January 28, 2014), it looks like most of the new limestone wall that extends the entire length of the village and runs up from the river to above the road level is just about done. Here’s how it looks now:

The limestone wall is nearing completion.

The limestone wall is nearing completion.

There is still no vehicular traffic allowed (other than work vehicles) but pedestrians can snake their way along the edge of village, protected by metal fences that you can see on the left of this photo. And here is how the whole road now appears, as we look from one end of the village to the other:

The road that runs through La Roque-Gageac.

The road that runs through La Roque-Gageac.

Finally, here’s a close-up photo of how the road is being widened, and what the limestone wall along the river will look like to pedestrians:

This shows how the road is being widened, from the stores over to the river walk.

This shows how the road is being widened, from the stores over to the river walk.

What remains? Obviously all the final stonework needs to be completed, the road needs to be paved properly, and all the planters and sidewalks and trimmings need to be added. Will all this be done by the start of tourist season this year? I’d say there’s a reasonable chance, but we’ll keep an eye on it.

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This entry was posted in Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Tourist attractions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to That “shut down” French village: A new progress report

  1. Keith says:

    |Good to see that you will be able to drive or walk through La Roque-Gageac without the danger of being run down. I have been in the GDA in the past 2 years. I will not be visiting this year but I will be in the future, all being well. Came across my bill from the La Petit Paris the other day & brought back a memory of a lovely lunch.

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