This small town has interesting little streets, good shops and sunny café terraces plus an impressive château. Built in the 14th century as a fortress originally, it was later transformed into a stately home at the end of the 16th century. The view from the tower over the Dropt valley is splendid and they have special evening events in high summer with music, food and night walks.
There is a multitude of wine ‘domaines’ to visit in this region, close by in Margueron and Duras, all around Bergerac to the east and of course in Saint-Emilion and the Bordeaux vineyards to the west.
Château de Montaigne
This château-mansion, in the small village of Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne in the Dordogne département, was the home of the famous Renaissance philosopher and thinker Michel de Montaigne.
Summer lake swimming
The Lac de la Cadie (22km) near Castillon-la-Bataille is a 40 hectare lake, which is open for swimming in July and August. You can walk all the way around the lake, along the 3km path, and there is a snack bar or you can take a picnic to enjoy. There is carp in the lake, and fishing is permitted year round as long as you have a valid permit – ask at the tourist office how to obtain one.
Medieval bastide towns
Nearby Pellegrue is a bastide, and others in striking distance of the property and well worth a visit are Monségur, Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, Blasimon, Sauveterre-de-Guyenne and Libourne. Typical features are a grid pattern of streets circling a central square, arched arcades and a covered marketplace, and encircling walls with gateways.
Golf and spa
The famous golf course of Château des Vigiers is about 20km away, now with 27 holes, offering three different configurations of 18-holes, each with different challenges and gradients. There are also spa facilities on site for those who prefer some pampering!
A trip to Bergerac is a must
- the old centre is a beautiful jumble of cobbled streets, timbered houses, little shops and cafes overlooking the squares. Sit on the riverbank and watch the boats go by.
Cruise on the Dordogne
Take a cruise along the Dordogne on a ‘gabarre’, a traditional flat-bottomed boat, to see Bergerac from a different perspective.
Make a splash!
Take the children to the water park on the edge of Bergerac to cool off and work off some energy.
Activities for teens
Bergerac can offer go-karting, ten-pin bowling and mini-golf to keep older children and young adults entertained.
Canoeing and kayaking
This can be done nearby at Ste Foy la Grande, or further east around the very well-known and incredibly scenic section of the Dordogne around La Roque Gageac, Beynac and Domne. Paddle downstream and get brought back to your starting point by minibus.
Battle re-enactment at Castillon-la-Bataille
Every evening for about two weeks from late July to early August, the town of Castillon-la-Bataille hosts a historical re-enactment of the Battle of Castillon, which took place on 17th July 1453 and ended the Hundred Years War. Hundreds of volunteers in costume present a comprehensive retelling of the dramatic battle, and there is a medieval village with demonstrations, games for children, crafts, and food and local wines.
Do not miss the famous wine town of Saint-Emilion
It is the first wine growing area listed by UNESCO so it is definitely worth a visit. There is also a huge monolithic church carved out of limestone rock, as well as miles of underground tunnels and caves.
This bustling metropolitan city has plenty to see and do, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site with some wonderful architecture and impressive squares, several excellent museums, great shopping and gastronomy - and wine of course! Visit ‘La Cité du Vin’ for detailed information about wine routes in the area and to book tastings.
It is about a two hour drive to the 19th century seaside resorts of Arcachon or Lacanau, where you will have the choice of the ocean beaches, where the Atlantic rollers are great for surf sports, or the more sheltered beaches of the lakes and lagoons set just inland, or thirdly the tidal beaches of the Bay of Arcachon.
Activities in the Arcachon Bay
The Arcachon Bay is a superb place for enjoying the great outdoors with 220km of cycle paths to follow, trips out into the bay on traditional boats, and various sports on offer such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle. The Le Teich bird sanctuary is a bird watchers’ paradise.
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