– Randonnée Nocturne –
W e’d been coming to the cabin for three, maybe four years before we were intro- duced to what has become something of a summer highlight and if we are there at the right time of the year we never miss it. It is the randonnée nocturne (night walk) – a tradition, it seems, particular to the Perigord and Dordogne region of France.
Tickets cost a few euros and come with instructions of where and when to meet. Last time it was by the boules court on the edge of the village, just a couple of miles from our cabin. A small gang of us decided to go together and we arrived, slightly before seven, to find a sizeable crowd of people of all ages already gathered. There were children in push chairs, grandparents in wheelchairs, dogs of every description. And what was striking was that it seemed everyone was local. This was not something promoted or organised for tourists. So we felt rather honoured to be there.
Someone gave a signal and the crowd moved off, guided by a handmade sign that pointed towards the woods. People started to string out, gaps opening up between the groups. The atmosphere was festive. There was much chat and banter. The route took