About Dordogne & Gironde


This pretty riverside town was the first-ever English governed Bastide in the Périgord, founded in 1261. Its position right on the bank of the River Dordogne made it a successful trading town, whilst nowadays this setting lends itself perfectly to activities such as canoeing and riverside walks. Welcome refreshment is available at several cafés and restaurants, and on Thursday morning the weekly market brings extra bustle to the main square and surrounding streets.

Straddling the River Dordogne, and surrounded by vineyards, Bergerac is one of the largest towns in the Dordogne. The town is bustling and the old quarter is a delight to explore on foot. Its narrow streets are lined with half timbered, red roofed buildings that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, many of which have been lovingly restored. The town is full of historical monuments, museums, markets and of course shops and restaurants.

South of Bergerac and sitting close to the River Dropt, Eymet is an attractive small town which originated as a bastide, one of the many towns and villages intended as part of France’s defence strategy against English invaders. Considering this, there is a certain irony that many British ex-pats have made a home here in recent decades and you will hear plenty of English accents in the local shops and restaurants. It is well worth a visit to stroll from the riverside through its network of ancient streets, all leading to the beautiful arcaded central square, lined with timbered medieval stone houses, shops, restaurants and cafés. Don’t miss the weekly market on Thursday, when the village comes alive.

Although a small village, Prats-du-Périgord has a few points of interest. At the centre is the church, which has an unusual flat bell-tower (known as a ‘bell-wall’ in French) over 20 metres in height. There is also a ‘lavoir’ (wash-house), a château on the hill overlooking the village, and a Nordic walking park with marked routes of differing lengths to follow. There is a café-bar where you can enjoy a drink with the locals. The village is well placed to make the most of the Dordogne region, and also the Lot to the south.

A sizeable bastide (fortified) town, Sainte-Foy-la-Grande has a good number of amenities, shops and supermarkets to offer. In early August, the town holds an all-day festival beside the river, ‘Fête de la Rivière et du Vin’; as the name suggests, the day features wine tastings but also lots of activities for all ages including games, demonstrations and workshops, pony rides, a food market, and culminating in live music and fireworks.

Nearby, Duras is a draw with excellent wines to sample and an impressive chateau to visit, whose tower affords a splendid view over the Dropt valley. Keen golfers can try the famous course at Château des Vigiers about 20km away, whilst less keen party members may prefer the on site spa facilities!

This bijoux town, which commands excellent views over the valley of the River Bandiat, lies in an area known as the 'Green Périgord', with a varied landscape and unspoilt nature. The town centres around a large open square with a fountain, and displays a variety of architecture from colombage (half-timbered) buildings to Renaissance style. Nontron is famous for knife making and has a strong arts and crafts scene.

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