Famed for its knife industry, Nontron commands excellent views over the valley of the river Bandiat. The town centres around a large open square with a fountain and displays a variety of architecture, from the colombage (half-timbered) buildings along the Rue Picaud to the Renaissance style of the Hotel d'Albret on the Rue Camille-Chabaneau. On Place Albert is the workshop and boutique of the famous Nontron knives and this can be visited throughout the year.
Explore the ancient city with its Gallo-Roman villa crowned by a glass roof by Jean Nouvel on one side of the town and the medieval and Renaissance district on the other. In the summer it is possible to do a tour of Roman or Medieval and Renaissance Perigueux with the tourist office. There is also a bike tour of the gardens and on Monday nights torchlit tours of the city.
Explore the Grotte de Villars caves
During a visit you will explore about 500m of this incredible underground network but in fact it extends over more than 13km and is the largest in the Perigord region.As you meander through the channel carved out by the river you can admire literally thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. Various chambers have also been hollowed out and at one of these you can enjoy a sound and light show where groups of stalactites and stalagmites are illuminated.
St Jean de Cole has been officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France (les plus beaux villages de France). A charming village with ochre coloured houses, perched on the River Cole and with it's own little river beach to enjoy. At the beginning of May the village holds an annual flower fair with more than one hundred exhibitors displaying and selling their products. This mass display of plants and flowers against the backdrop of this beautiful village is not to be missed.
Just 25 minutes drive from Maison de Lussas, this delightful small town on the banks of the River Dronne is known locally as the 'Venice of the Périgord'. On a walk you can see various examples of medieval and renaissance architecture; Brantôme also boasts a selection of good restaurants including the Michelin-starred Moulin de l'Abbaye.
Chateau de Puyguilhem
Built in the 16th century Puyguilhem is a fine example of a Renaissance castle. In a lovely setting, a walk around the grounds will reward you with a sweeping view of the open valley of meadows in front of the castle and oak forests typical of the perigord region to the rear.
Take a Cognac tour
of one – or more! – of the many cognac producers to learn the history of cognac, how it is made plus enjoy a tasting or two. It’s also worth asking the tourist office about tours of the surrounding vineyards and smaller producers where you can also buy direct. (1hr 30mins drive)
Explore the town of Cognac
On the banks of the Charente River, this famous town has lots to discover. Take a walk around the narrow streets of the old town with its mix of medieval timber worker's houses and wealthy merchant mansions. Then head to the river where the blackened chais (warehouses) that still store barrels of cognac sit, their discoloured state caused by the alcohol evaporating into the surrounding air. The locals call this ‘the angels taking their share’. Or take a cruise along the Charente on a gabarre: the traditional flat-bottomed oak boat that was once used to transport cognac, salt and other produce – a great way to see the town.
Vélorail du Périgord
Starting at Corgnac sur l'Isle, try these 5 passenger "bikes" that travel along the old railway track and experience a different view of the beautiful Périgord countryside passing valleys and streams on the 11km pedal-powered journey to Thiviers.
For anyone who enjoys a game of golf,
there is a course at Domaine de Saltgourde near Périgueux
Visit the Jardin Liliane in St Laurent sur Gorre, which is recognised by the ministry of culture as a remarkable garden. Tended just by Liliane herself, it has a slightly wild quality rather than the traditional formal French garden style. Maintained without the use of chemicals and with a very minimal amount of watering, many of the plants arrived by accident - seeded by the wind or birds, providing an interesting display of plant combinations. The garden is open daily during July and August, from 14.30 to 18.00 and on Sunday afternoons in September. Other local gardens include the Jardin Botanique d’Alaije in Brantôme or the Jardin des Moines in Pont-Coudé, Les Jardins d'Au Delà in Brantôme.
Thiviers and the history of Foie Gras
Known as the 'Foie Gras Capital of Green Perigord', Thiviers has a museum in the town dedicated to foie gras production. Visit on a Saturday and enjoy the lively market as well.
There are many churches and chapels to see
such as the Roman churches of Mareuil or Agonac, Villars, St Julien-de-Bourdeilles, etc. and the abbeys: Abbaye de Boschaud in Villars and the Abbaye Saint-Pierre in Brantôme.
At Hautefort (65km)
you will find the impressive Château of Hautefort which has beautiful formal gardens. Go on a guided tour around the castle and its gardens. Open to the public at weekends and bank holidays; in July and August there are evening shows every Wednesday (buy tickets in advance).
Take the children for a day out at the Parc Jacquou
a three-in-one amusement park. An animal farm, a funfair and a water paradise with swimming pools and toboggans. The park is located a few km's north of Le Bugue (1hr 30min drive), where you will also find a park with wild boar.
Spend a day near Thenon
(75km) in the park called L'Appel de la Fôret - a huge forest where you can climb trees, swing on the zipwires and walk along bridges that are suspended from ancient oak to ancient oak. Picnic areas are provided under the trees for a spot of lunch afterwards.
Have you visited Maison de Lussas?
Click here to suggest a Great Thing you've done nearby ...