The 13th century bastide towns
were mostly built around the Lot valley and the Dordogne. They are generally buzzing places, with lively markets and little cafes, excellent restaurants and pretty shops all around. You will find many bastides including Villefranche-du-Périgord, Monpazier and Belvès.
Boat and horse drawn-carriage trips
Just 5km away, at Mazeyrolles, you can take a day trip on a coach pulled by horses, visit the Dordogne, stop for a gastronomical picnic in the woods, or enjoy a wine and foie gras tasting. There are also trips on a boat on the Dordogne river, combined with a lovely lunch in a restaurant and an afternoon with the coach and horses - magnifique!
There are plenty of these to visit along the Dordogne river, including the Chateau de Beynac, the Fortress of Castelnau and its medieval war museum, the garden of the Chateau de Marqueyssac that overlooks Laroque-Gageac and the Dordogne valley and the nearby Chateau de Biron, set in a beautiful village.
The famous town of Sarlat,
jewel of the Dordogne is about 50 minutes' drive away. If you like a bustling atmosphere head there on Saturday morning when the market is in full swing. Perhaps combine with a visit to the Lascaux caves a little further north to see the famous paintings?
The fortress of Bonaguil (22km)
Elevated above the oak woods it appears to have no strategic reason for being there except for our magical pleasure. You can enjoy a tasty meal followed by a long walk in the surrounding countryside. In summer this chateau is a venue for Theatre festivals and classical music concerts.
Go canoeing or kayaking
on either the Lot or the Dordogne. Usually you will get dropped off upstream and can enjoy a downstream paddle back to base. The gradients are generally very low here and suitable for all ages.
Children will love Parc-en-Ciel
in Lacapelle-Biron (26km) - 14 hectares of trees and fields where you'll find mini golf, a farm of baby animals, a snail museum, and an adventure playground through the trees with different courses suited to the age of the children.
Enjoy a day at Le Bugue
This small and attractive market town with little winding lanes and some lovely houses is about 45 minutes from the house by car. It has two specific attractions: an aquarium; and the 'Village du Bournat', a reconstitution of a 19th century village.
Visit the vineyards
around Puy l'Eveque (30km) and try the dark Cahors wine, a largely undiscovered great wine of the region. You will see many 'caves' selling the wine and most will offer the chance to taste it first. Don't forget to stop in the little villages en route as well - there are many dotted along the River Lot down to Cahors (50km)
can enjoy a game at 2 courses in Siorac (22km).
Views from the sky
The aeroclub in Belvès (30 minutes drive) offers plane trips above the famous sites and chateaux of the Dordogne.
Not to be missed
is a visit to the remote hamlet of Les Arques (35 minutes) in the Lot. Visit the Zadkine Museum, with exhibitions by the Russian sculptor who made this tiny village his home. Whilst there you must enjoy a delicious meal in the much-acclaimed 'La Recreation' restaurant converted from the old school house.
On Saturday morning, a farmers’ market is held on the top square of the medieval Bastide of Belvès, around and under the 15th century covered Halle. There, you can find many local and seasonal fruit and vegetables – strawberries, apricots, peaches, melons, grapes, etc..depending on the season. Asparagus, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and aubergines, green beans, etc. Everything grows well in south-west France. There are also local cheeses, honey, beers, wines and many other more local specialities. Markets like this with lovely food and atmosphere can be found in most villages around, and one could visit a different market in a different village every day. No need for supermarkets except for bananas! Also, on Wednesdays in July and August (up to first week of Sept really), there is a 'marché nocturne' or 'marché gourmand'. This is an evening affair (starting around 18:00) and it is a chance to go and eat alongside the locals and other tourists. Local producers will be there, cooking their products for you and also others cooking different dishes. The locals normally cook magret, foie gras, chips, snails, salads, cakes, fruit but there is also wine, beer, bread, cheese. Others will cook pizzas, quiches, curries, mussels. Tables, benches and chairs are set up for you, all you need to do is bring your plate, glass and cutlery to avoid wasting plastic disposable items. Choose your meal and find a seat, then enjoy the summer evening, food and atmosphere. In July and August, you can find an evening market somewhere in the area every day of the week.
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