Bergerac in the Dordogne, Aquitaine, is famous for its wine and fabulous gastronomy, rolling hills and fields of sunflowers, castles and pretty villages. With a pleasant climate year round and fabulously sunny summer months, it’s the perfect holiday destination for those who love to experience the best of authentic France in the most gorgeous surroundings.
Here’s why we at French Connections love Bergerac…
The Old Town of Bergerac
On the banks of the Dordogne, Bergerac’s medieval old town is a jumble of narrow and winding cobbled streets that slope down to the river. Take a wander here and you can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Half-timbered houses, pretty boutiques and galleries, shaded squares lined with bars and cafés – it’s the perfect French town for a relaxing break.
Wine and Dine
Aquitaine is one of the richest agricultural areas in France and is renowned for its cuisine. Head to Bergerac market (Wednesday and Saturday mornings) for a terrific choice of fresh food – perfect for self-catering holidays.
Spoil yourself with a meal in one of the many excellent restaurants. You’ll see a lot of duck and goose on menus, and plums and walnuts are grown liberally in the Dordogne, so expect to see them in both sweet and savoury dishes. Try Landes Pastis while you are here (a divine apple tart and one of the region’s most popular dishes).
It goes without saying that the region produces some wonderful cheeses, such as Cabécou, a small round tasty goat’s cheese. Bergerac is also a wine lover’s paradise. Regional cheese with a regional wine and a hunk of French crusty bread is mandatory when you holiday in Bergerac and it couldn’t get any better than here!
Wine O’Clock in Bergerac
Two of the best places for a tasting are the Chateau de Monbazillac and the Wine Centre in the town.
Around 10km from the centre of town the 16th century Chateau of Monbazillac is fairy-tale pretty. Owned by the Monbazillac Cooperative it’s a great place to spend a half day touring the grounds and interior which is beautifully furnished. Afterwards enjoy a wine tasting and the wine shop – delicious!
The Wine Centre is located in the Récollets Cloisters in Bergerac. It’s a magnificent group of monastic buildings from the 17th century. There’s an exhibition about the Bergerac vineyards, film and tasting experience. Concerts are regularly held in these lovely surroundings – check the website for details: www.vins-bergeracduras.fr/en
Must see’s in Bergerac
When French King Louis XIII entered Bergerac in 1621, he stayed in the 16th-century Maison Peyrarède. The house, with its cantilevered tower and Renaissance mullioned windows, is now the home of the Musée du Tabac. It might surprise you to know that Bergerac has one of the last tobacco plantations in Europe. This quirky museum - which in no way promotes tobacco, presents its history dating back more than 3000 years when the plant was first cultivated. There’s a fascinating collection of ivory, bronze and copper pipes and other smoking paraphernalia.
For something really different, seek out the Grottes de Maxange. Discovered by accident in 2000, during dynamiting in an adjacent quarry, the caves are extraordinary. Off the beaten track, hidden in the hills upriver from Bergerac they have masses and masses of crystals covering almost every surface, it is eerily beautiful.
Take me to the river
During the summer months you really would be missing out if you came to Bergerac and didn’t take a trip on the river. Rent a canoe or kayak to discover the beauty of the surrounding landscape from the water. Or, for something more relaxing, take a pleasure boat ride on a traditional gabare (a traditional flat bottomed wooden boat). Enjoy a swim in the lake, try water skiing, charter a pedal boat, a picnic on the river banks… the potential for fun is endless for water babies!
Find out more about what to see and do on the Bergerac Tourism website
French Connections has hundreds of fabulous holiday homes in and around Bergerac, click here to see a terrific selection.