From the moment I set foot in the beautiful French village of Duras, I fell madly in love. Something magical came over me — as though I had been there in another life. After traveling through many different areas in France (and in the southwest itself), no other place has managed to woo me as the convivial little town I now refer to as ‘my heart’s home’.
Driving into Duras just a little over two weeks ago, was like coming home again. I can’t lie. I was overcome with emotion and tried (unsuccessfully) to choke back tears of gratitude, excitement and pure love. As we approached the castle, which to me is the very heart of the village (next to Chez Régine), those tears turned into a big, happy smile. There it was again, standing majestically in all its glory, welcoming our family like an old friend.
We rented a gorgeous apartment in the center of town and it was just perfect in every way. Beautifully decorated, charmingly French and full of little details that made it feel like home right from the very start. The boulangerie was just a few steps away, which meant that for breakfast we had the freshest pastries to go with our coffees at Régine’s, a family run café. Every morning Régine greeted us with a warm smile and in the afternoons and evenings (yes, we were there quite a lot), one of the other members of the family always made us feel welcome.
There is also a great butcher’s shop in town run by a very friendly couple. I bought some wonderful terrines there for our apéro, thick sausages flavored with piment d’espelette and smoky slabs of bacon. Oh and I shouldn’t forget to mention the local wine bar where hubby and I enjoyed many an afternoon sampling the owner’s wines (produced approximately five minutes away!) with sumptuous boards of charcuterie. This year we especially loved dining at La Terrasse. In fact, it has probably become our favorite restaurant. The weekday menu du jour was always a winner and the carafes of silky, local merlot flowed freely — as did our spirits everytime we floated out after an amazing meal. One particularly memorable feast was the ossobucco which was cooked to perfection and served with tender gnocchi. I’m not ashamed to say I made noises of intense pleasure with every mouthful. It was that good! We loved the place so much that we decided to have our final holiday meal there. I had the magret de canard stuffed with foie gras and hubby the entrecôte. Both as swoon worthy as all the other meals we enjoyed at La Terrasse.
It isn’t just the wonderful atmosphere, places and people (so many familiar faces) that make Duras a beloved village. To me, or should I say ‘us’, Duras is so much more than that. It’s the place we know will become our home one day. Holidays, no matter how lovely, are no longer enough. And leaving, even from the first visit, has never been easy.
Last Saturday we didn’t say good-bye. Instead we said à très bientôt Duras!