Last Wednesday evening, a balmy 31 degrees C with light winds and the good people at Perigord Montgolfieres were inflating balloons in the grounds of Chateau Monrecour.
Karen and I took a much anticipated flight across the Dordogne Valley to Beynac and south of Sarlat towards Domme.
A stunning venue from which to take off, Monrecour dates from the XVth century and was completely renovated in 1912. It boasts wonderful views from Saint Vincent de Cosse across to the Dordogne river and on to the Chateau at Beynac. It also has a fine restaurant and is only ten minutes drive from here at Le Banquet.
That's us there, all teeth and smiles moments before the balloon basket 'righted' itself and we floated up and away from the chateau.
Riding the thermals...
Our Pilot, Thibault, skirted the tops of trees, descending into small 'spinney' pockets before rapidly ascending in upward currents of warm air to as much as 750 metres where the views became positively 'big sky' as the Dordogne fell away.
And on to Beynac, whose magnificent Chateau with nine centuries of history was one the home of Richard the Lionheart.
We continued weaving across the valley.....
guided by our pilot 'ace', Thibault.
We made our descent and Thibault picked a landing spot in a field just ouside of Sarlat la Caneda. I'm actually amazed with the precision that an air balloon can be set down. So we landed neatly although with a bit of a bump and the journey was over!