The tourist season is approaching as fast as Usain Bolt heads into the corner turn in the 200 metres. Easter is almost upon us; every tree, shrub and plant in the Greater Daglan Area seems to be blooming; and the temperature hit 27 yesterday afternoon (that’s 81 degrees American). So I decided it was about time that I checked out the progress being made in La Roque-Gageac.
Just to refresh you, the village of La Roque lies about 14 kilometres from Daglan, and it’s so picturesque that it draws tourists like a sliced melon attracts wasps.
Unfortunately, it has also constituted one of the Dordogne Valley’s worst traffic bottlenecks, as its single narrow road is pinched between the Dordogne River on one side and a long row of shops, hotels and restaurants on the other. Every summer, the sight of huge camper vans trying to squeeze through crowds of pedestrians was commonplace — at times amusing, at times scary.
Then in 2012, along came a major construction project to widen the road with landfill; add proper sidewalks; and create a walkway along the river. I’ve written about this multi-year project several times (most recently on January 28 of this year). So the question now is: When will traffic again be allowed to flow through La Roque-Gageac, and what can tourists expect?
As you can see from the photo below, the road as of yesterday afternoon was pretty darn barré:
But there’s been lots of progress since January of this year, and things are looking good. For example, check out the new limestone wall that rises up from the Dordogne River, for the whole length of the village:
As for the road that runs through the village, it’s been paved at least once with asphalt, although I expect it will need a final skim-coat to make it really smooth. Here it is:
The stone sidewalks in front of the various stores and hotels seem to be pretty much complete as well, although I believe that trees are to be put in planters along the way. Here’s one view:
And here’s another view:
And finally, the pedestrian walkway along the river looks pretty much completed, although there are gaps in the stone wall that are now protected with fencing; I’m assuming that some sort of railings will be installed, to minimize the number of toddlers toppling into the river. Here’s how it looked yesterday afternoon:
There was no one to ask about construction when I visited the village yesterday, but my somewhat educated guess (Hey — I did start university by studying engineering!) is that everything will be done by mid-May. (And just to be clear, I finished university with a major in print journalism, having left calculus behind.)