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Arriving in Périgueux for the first time.

Arriving in Périgueux train station in the spitting mizzle and catching a taxi through the drab and run-down streets around the station created an unfavourable first impression on the place. This was compounded by the accommodation host being unable to meet us and let us into the flat we had rented. It was not his fault, however, his child needed to go to the hospital. We thus settled down on a bench by the grassy tree lined bank of the Dordogne river, the mizzle having ceased, broke out a bottle of Caol Isla 13-year-old whisky and played a game of chess. Across the water the hauntingly illuminated cathedral dominated the skyline, replete with bubbled towers reminiscent of Moscow.

Once checked in and settled, the negative view of Périgueux eased slightly, for the accommodation was a beautiful spacious two storey flat, full of ancient wooden beams and creaking staircases. The view looked directly onto the lazily plodding Dordogne waters and there were enough radiators in the place to roast a wildebeest.

We sallied forth into the wet to hunt for a restaurant. Reserving ahead has never been my forte and we were declined from the le Clin D'Oeil and ended up dining in Le Café de la Place, a modest, cosy, comfortable type of affair which served a delicious fois gras and rare steak. Bizarrely, they would not let you choose a wine from a wine list, instead insisting that you describe to them the type of wine you wished for (strong, tannin etc.), after which they poured an unknown red liquid into your glass and left. I prefer a wine list.

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