It's the peace and quiet which attracted us here and we think our surrounding area is the prettiest, away from the forests we are amid the rolling countryside of vineyards and sunflower fields. The area is bright and open and gives a feeling of space and relaxation, with lovely walks directly from the property.
This area of the south-west Dordogne is know as the Perigord Purple and is well as well known medieval towns such as Bergerac, on the Dordogne river and with a lovely historic centre, this is a region to discover many small bastide villages and towns (bastides are medieval 'new towns' founded in the 12th-13th centuries) several of which are found in the southern Dordogne (with others further south in Lot-et-Garonne such as Villereal and Monflanquin).
Several villages here are classed among the 'most beautiful villages in France' such as Belves, a very attractive village with a great deal of character; Monpazier, among our favourite five villages in the whole of France and unmissable when you visit; and Limeuil is a pretty village on the confluence of the Vézère and Dordogne rivers.
Among the other popular towns and villages, Beaumont-du-Perigord is a small traditional bastide town; Cadouin is a very small village with an imposing abbey, listed as a UNESCO heritage site; to the south of Bergerac, Eymet is a traditional medieval bastide town; Issigeac is an unspoiled medieval village very well known for its Sunday market. Molieres is officially an 'unfinished' bastide but is still very pleasant to explore!Not far from Cadouin the small village of Montferrand-du-Perigord is a very small village on a steep hill in a scenic part of the Dordogne and Saint-Avit-Senieur is visited for its medieval abbey, a listed UNESCO heritage site. Villefranche-du-Perigord is a bastide town in the valleys to the south of the Dordogne.
The renowned wines of Monbazillac are produced just south of the Bergerac where you can visit the château of Monbazillac. The hilltop position and far reaching views make Chateau de Biron one of our favourite castles in Perigord Purple.
East from Bergerac, Le Bugue is a small town on the river well placed to explore the centre of the region and Tremolat is a picturesque village - the nearby Cirque de Tremolat has incomparable views across the Dordogne river. Slightly off the more popular tourist trails, Villamblard is a very traditional French town in the countryside north of Bergerac.
Published in The Times on the 9th April was the Essential guide to the Dordogne area. In deepest France, Anthony Peregrine knows where to go for castles, cave art and lunch...click below for the whole guide.
If you fancy exploring the local area, then you are in the best location to reach the wonderful Bastide villages and a good guide to exploring the local area is here:
Eymet is our local town, and it has been featured in the UK press many times as it is so popular and just a short drive away. Here is a short video of market day in the summer:
Eymet is a pretty bastide town 12km away with a good number of ancient houses and monuments to remind us of its history. It is an attractive and unspoiled town with a thriving central square, and it is in a pretty location on the banks of the Dropt river. There is a weekly market on Thursday.
Here is a really useful guide to the area mostly near us and to the east side of the Dordogne:
Wine and Gastronomy:
The Bordeaux wine region has 21 appellations. Visit some of the many local Caves and Chateau who offer free tastings and tours while you choose a bottle or two.
Not to be missed is the world famous St Emilion, just a short drive away. A designated world heritage site and is truly stunning. Explore characteristic narrow lanes lined with wine merchants, cafes, restaurants and interesting independent shops. A guided tour of the monolithic church is highly recommended.
Follow Rick Steins French Odyssey (Bordeaux to Bazas) trail across this region and encounter some of the best culinary experiences France has to offer.
Bergerac is a town on the northern bank of the Dordogne River and in the western part of the Dordogne department. It is one of the largest, most important towns in the region and has several highlights including an extensive medieval centre and a visit is highly recommended.
The first highlight of a trip to Bergerac is the chance to explore the old town - the area immediately north of the river - follow the signs to 'vieille ville' or just walk straight up from the main riverside car park. This part of the town has some lovely streets and squares to explore, and a good selection of boutiques.
There are a number of museums to visit such as the Tobacco museum and the National Wine and River Navigation Museum. There are organised boat trips up the river (start from the car-park at the bottom end of the old-town) to see the town and the nearby countryside from a different perspective.
About 3km north of the town centre and on the edge of Bergerac there is a large area called Pombonne Park. Here you will find trees and nature trails as well as a lake with a small sandy beach.
Duras (8 km)
A pretty town, Duras has one main sight that attracts visitors: the Chateau de Duras. There is also a medieval clock-tower, and a sprinkling of attractive houses to enjoy while exploring, and the impressive Maison des Vins commemorating the highly regarded wines of the region. The chocolate factory (pic below) has a shop there and it packed full of delights from shabby chic accessories to delicious treats !
Duras castle was originally built in the 12th century, the chateau de Duras was fortified in the early 14th century, then subsequently transformed in the 17th century into accommodation more suited to residential use, with many luxurious touches being added in the process. As with many French castles it suffered important damage at the time of the revolution, but the second half of the 20th century has seen the castle substantially renovated.
Issigeac is in the southern part of the Dordogne department to the east of Eymet and south-east of Bergerac. Until a few years ago Issigeac was one of the great undiscovered villages of the Dordogne region, truly a village that time forgot. That is no longer the case, and the weekly market each Sunday morning is one of the best in France and the village backdrop is truly stunning. The Issigeac market is one of the most popular places to buy and try many of the delicacies produced in the region.
Sainte Foy la Grande (13km)
Sainte Foy la Grande is a 13th century medieval town with half timbered houses, with a central square and a lovely church. There is a large market area which hosts a lively market on Saturday mornings. The Dordogne river runs through the town and is a lovely place for a walk or river trip. There is also a small river beach Plage des Bardoulets where young children can have a paddle. You are also able to see the remains of the original ramparts that once surrounded the town centre.
This is a small pilgrim village which hosts some interesting historical buildings. Take a walk through the village to see the church of Saint Andre which dates back to the 12th century. Just a few kilometres away is the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Ferme which is an imposing building dating back to the 12th century.
Les Jardins de Sardy (Velines 21km)
As you arrive in the Sardy estate the courtyard welcomes you with beautiful buildings and garden views. The views are beautiful with statues and ponds covered in lilies create a wonderful place to visit. There is a wonderful tea room overlooking the gardens and a gallery to visit with pictures of the gardens over the years.
Saint Emilion (45km)
Saint-Emilion is a UNESCO heritage site and is mainly known for its production of wonderful red wine, but it is also a lovely town. The history of the town dates back almost 2000 years when the vineyards were planted by the Romans. As you enter the town you will be met by medieval fortifications, with steep narrow streets to explore. There is also a church carved out of the local stone opening out onto a square, and you can climb the steps taking you 53m high inside the bell tower which hosts wonderful views over the town and surrounding countryside. You can also climb to the top of the Chateau de Roy.
You must not miss the underground part of the town, take a guided tour which will take you through the catacombs which were used in Christian burials and a monolithic church carved out of the stone. The tour takes around 45 minutes but is well recommended. There are also plenty of bars and cafes in the town too.
Bordeaux (60km) The city of Bordeaux, voted the best tourist destination in 2015, is just 1 hour!
The village itself is quite small but there are a few places of interest to visit. There is a Roman church and the archaeological base around the excavated Roman villa. These are both located in the centre of the village. You can see many mosaic remains and there is also a small museum.
Markets in and around Eymet
Latest info is here: Weekly Markets - The Local Buzz - in France - Find a market (thelocalbuzzmag.com)
Miramont-de-Guyenne: Friday - seasonal market only
Castillonnes: Friday - seasonal market only
Villereal: Wednesday - seasonal market only
Duras: Thursday - seasonal market only
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Dordognescrapbook