We often get asked what we enjoy the most about our local area, so we thought we’d write a seven day guide to our dream holiday in our area of the Dordogne…Hope it helps you plan your holiday.
Saturday, We arrive having stopped off at E.Leclerc on the way and stocked up with the basics for the week, plus a couple of pizzas to throw in the oven whilst we are unpacking. Evening swim ? Oh yes !!
Sunday has to be a visit to the morning market at Issigeac to wonder the streets admiring the local produce. We always buy a few treats, normally local delicacies such as olives, fois gras, some beef tomatoes etc. The children love the buskers and our daughter might buy a new skirt and our son a toy. In the afternoon we tend to go for a walk round the local area where we enjoy looking for wildlife and admiring the views, possibly even a game of hide and seek with the children.
Monday is funday ! We like to pop out and explore and our usual favourites are the stunning local bastide towns, or we might go further afield towards Beynac, Domme, Sarlat and Limeuil. There are some wonderful Chateaus and boat trips where you can take truly spectacular photos.
Tuesday would probably be a relaxing day. My wife and daughter might visit the Spa at the Chateaux des Vigiers where our guests can enjoy a two hour spa session for a reduced price of 15 Euros. Tuesday evening is the amazing night market at Eymet where the whole square is filled with market sellers, there is live music and a real party atmosphere to enjoy.
Wednesday is time to catch up on a good book and relax by the pool soaking up the sun whilst the children splash about. If we feel like going out then a short drive to the chocolate factory with their wonderful shop near Duras always goes down well and whilst there we’ll stop at the Carrefour butchers counter to buy some nice food for the BBQ tonight.
Thursday comes around quick and by now we’re thinking of buying some presents to take home, so we pop into the Duras to wonder the local market in the morning. Normally also we’d stop by the beautiful vineyards near us and buy a few bottles to take home, the Domaine du Grand Mayne and Domaine du Siorac are our favourites.
Friday is the last full day so we try to visit somewhere new and make some lovely memories to take back home. In the past we’ve enjoyed family days out in the Sarlat area, Archachon, Bordeaux, Lascaux and the Monpazier / Chateau de Biron area. There are superb restaurants in Bergerac, where we have enjoyed a wonderful last night dinner on the terrace.
Saturday always arrives too soon and we say goodbye hiding back a little tear until the next time.
Note to self: must remember to hire bikes next time and we MUST do that Dordogne canoeing adventure we’ve been promising ourselves for ages now.
Bike Hire. We are often asked about bike hire and we recommend this place: The Mountain Bike Hire Company. Not only are they based really close to us, but children's bikes are free if an adult bike is hired. If you are arriving by plane they can even meet you at the airport or deliver a bike to your location.
Our recommendations for eating out:
The best way to sample the fantastic local produce is to visit the local restaurants which are in abundance, they are good quality and value for money. In Eymet there are several good restaurants such as the La Creperie, La Bastide, La Cour d'Eymet and the Pizzeria. Pop down to Eymet, park up and take a wander through the square and see what takes your fancy.
The nearest Michelin star restaurant is just 5 miles away, you can read the superb reviews here:
There is a wonderful shabby chic cafe in Eymet run by a couple of British ladies, where you can get the best ever bacon rolls or speciality cakes and it comes highly recommended. They have a Facebook page and you can visit it by Clicking here:
Our worst kept secret ! Has to be Le Tuquet in Bouniagues and has the advantage of only being 3 miles away. It is a proper French restaurant where there is no menu, you turn up and pay a fixed price per head and you get as much fantastic food and wine as you could ever need. Our friends wrote this review: "You must go there at a lunchtime , good honest French food , lorry drivers and locals . Wine flows and as previously noted how do they do it for the price . I had my all birthday parties there before I left . My favourite place to eat, relaxed with no pretensions"
Bergerac is well worth visiting for dinner. It is a maze of cobbled streets with fascinating shops and restaurants. Eating out in Bergerac is not so much a special occasion but more a necessity. It is renowned for its dedication to gastronomy. Numerous restaurants, cafés and crêperies serve everything from flavoursome light meals to glorious presentations of several courses – accompanied, of course, by some of the world’s finest wines. Look out for Tourins – a local speciality soup, truffles and foie gras. The area is known for its wild boar, partridge, hare, quail, duck, geese and trout, all of which will feature on almost all restaurant menus. A few restaurants we would recommend are:
L'Imparfait which has a relaxed and authentic atmosphere within a medieval building. The food is traditional for the area and there is a large selection of good wines.
Le Vin'Quatre is a small, friendly place set just off the main street but is gaining a reputation for excellent food. Relaxed and fun, I couldn't think of a nicer place to spend the evening.
La Villa Laetitia is a typical French restaurant which is situated in the centre of Bergerac, with a cosy ambience that will make you feel like a guest in someone's dining room. The friendly staff serves quality food for a good price and they speak English. This is a very popular restaurant so you should book in advance.
There are enough local french markets to visit a different one each day. The most local (and also the best) are Issigeac and Eymet. They also have night time food markets where you can taste and try before you make your selection. They are normally packed events with a great buzzy atmosphere and live music.
Visit Sarlat, which is a truly gorgeous example of an old Dordogne town. Great little shops and restaurants together with beautiful architecture and history.
The Chateau de Beynac is really close and a fascinating place to visit. At the top of a cliff the stone chateau has been guarding the local area for almost a thousand years.
A must visit place whilst here is the Roque Saint Christophe where you can see the ancient dwellings carved out of the rock face.
There is also Jacquou Parc which has lots of attractions and a water park, it's a great place for 3 to 8 year olds, our children love it there.
A great way to see the best of the Dordogne valley is by boat. There are several companies that run trips, many of which are combined with a locally produced lunch and visits to special sites along the river. It is a glorious day out. The Gabarre de Bergerac is only 15 minutes away on the Quai Salvette and is one of the more traditional vessels.
If you are looking for a beach, why not try Limeuil which is not far and has the added bonus of it being "one of the most beautiful villages in France". The seven best beaches to visit are recommended as: 1) Étang de Nantheuil,Dordogne 2) Cabrerets, Lot 3) Lac du Causse, Corrèze 4) Saint-Julien-de-Lampon, Dordogne 5) Grand Étang de la Jemaye, Dordogne 6) Cabrerets, Lot 7) Treignac, Corrèze Best thing is to have a look on the internet.
The Château Monbazillac just 7 miles away is a stunning symbolic of the Bergerac region and has stood proudly since the end of the 16th century when the quality of its wines was well known far beyond the borders of Aquitaine.