Living in the Dordogne is a real blessing, we are surrounded by stunning landscapes from green undulating hills and woodland, to rivers and dramatic cliffs, medieval villages and castles and rich vineyards.
With lots of places to visit all year round one of our favourites is Les Etangs de la Jemaye. This a wonderful hidden gem that you would not realise is there as you enter from the road. There are six lakes interconnected and located in a magnificent ancient woodlands of the Double Forest. The monks who lived in the abbeys of the Double in the 15th century, created these ponds by deforesting the area. The water storage supplied by runoff water ended up creating the actual aquatic areas.
As we visited this time on an unseasonably warm and sunny day in January we had the place more or less to our selves and swimming or sunbathing on the white (there is a man made river beach to enjoy here at the height of the summer) was not on our agenda.
We headed off into the woodland along a marked trail enjoing the sights of natural habitat and some widldlife sighting while our new pup, Prune, sniffed and explored this wonderful new territory. You can walk on the hiking trails of 4.5 to 7 km around the pond or you can discover this are by mountain bike or on horseback. For those who want to get fit or push themselves a little more you can follow a fitness trail or do an orienteering course.
Over half way into our walk we were, uncharacteristically, for this area disturbed by a small pack of rather large stray dogs which sadly meant we had to cut our walk short and head poste haste back to our car. As the best period to watch birds is the winter season at the wildlife observation posts this was rather disappointing for us that we could not continue.
We do have to point out that this is definately not the norm for this regional park.
In the summer you can not only enjoy the woodland walks and swimming or water-sports on the lake but there is very good free parking and a cafe where you can get reasonably priced light bites to eat.
Although the nearby village of Jemaye is very small you can visit the romanesque Eglise St Vivian first built in the 12th century but added to as late as the 19th century.
On the route back to our gites we were very blessed to see a family of wild boar cross the road in front of our car and head into the forest land, fortunately we were not travelling at speed!
There are so many reasons to holiday in SW France, Le grand etang de la Jemaye is just one of them! And it is within easy driving distance from our gites.
Connect with us:
Facebook: domaine du sourire
email hello@domain du sourire.com