Rolling hills, vineyards, chateaux, beautiful markets and fabulous French food. Bergerac is just 1 hour and 40 minutes flying time from Southampton Airport, so it’s easy to get to, and the climate is much warmer than the UK.
Bergerac is in the South West of France, inland from Bordeaux, in a region known as ‘The Dordogne’.
Jan Halliday, Southampton Airport’s Director of Marketing & Communications recently paid a visit to Bergerac. These are her tried and tested tips for a trip to the region – with a few snapshots to give you a flavour of her favourite places to go.
Tried and tested – what to see, do, eat and drink in Bergerac
1. Knights in shining armour
The Dordogne is full of chateaux, or castles, many dating back to medieval times. The Chateau De Beynac is a wonderful place for little boys and big boys alike, who can check out the turrets, drawbridges, swords, secret spiral staircases and suits of armour.
Just over one hour’s drive to the east of Bergerac, in the direction of Sarlat, it is perched high on a hill with amazing views over the River Dordogne below.
2. Messing about on the river
The River ‘Dordogne’ means fast flowing river and heads down to the Atlantic Ocean. It is a wide river with ‘Gabares’ on it. These are wooden barges which were originally used to transport goods, but today act as tourist boats.
You can see these in Bergerac, and other places along the river but I would recommend having a trip on one at the lovely village of La Roque Gageac. This is close to the Chateau De Beynac, so would combine to make a good day trip.
3. Time for some wine
Bergerac is the centre of the wine growing region of the Dordogne. The region produces a range of white, red, rose, dry and sweet wines, so my top tip would be to start with a wine tasting visit to ‘La Maison des Vins’ next to the river in Bergerac.
Here you can decide which sort of wine you like best, and then pick up a free map called ‘carte touristique du vingnoble’ – which is the ‘wine route’. This map lists all the vineyards, colour-coded to the type of wine to take out the guess-work and shows which ones do wine tasting tours, which languages the owners speak, and what sort of wine they produce.
4. Pretty Périgueux
Périgueux is to the north east of Bergerac, and another place worthy of a day trip. It’s an ancient town with lovely cobbled streets, markets, street cafes and shops.
The cathedral is worth a visit with incredibly high ceilings inside. At the side of the main square is an ancient tower which you can climb using a spiral staircase, and gives a great view over the rooftops of this pretty town.
5. Brântome – off the beaten track
This little place is not as well known as Périgeaux or Bergerac, but is very beautiful.
Brântome is on an island surrounded by rivers which are ideal for kayaking and is known as ‘La Venise du Périgord’. There are also trips around the town by motorised pleasure boat with commentary in English. The Abbey is worth visiting at Brântome with its troglodyte caves where the monks originally worshipped.
6. My hidden gem for delicious food
‘Le Bristrot du Presbytere’ at Le Bourg Queyssac is about 30 minutes from Bergerac.
This restaurant is next to a cobbled square and a church, and the presbytery has been converted into a bistro. The food is great, it’s like eating in a family home, but the bistro is very difficult to find.
Address: Le Bourg, 24140 Queyssac.
Lunch is a fixed price set menu. It’s great quality and really good value.
7. Where to Stay in Bergerac
Chateau Des Vigiers, 20 minutes from Bergerac, a lovely 4 star chateau and golf/spa resort.
Lots of other accommodation at: www.bergerac-tourisme.com
Book now and fly to Bergerac from Southampton Airport with Flybe year round.
Finally, if you’re a window-seat person and love to look at the view outside the aircraft, you’ll enjoy the return flight view of La Rochelle, Ile De Re, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney.
Enjoy your trip to Bergerac!