La Mamine

Self catering holiday rental cottage with private swimming pool

 

"The Dordogne at its best"

 

USEFUL LINKS

Travelling

Where We Are

THE DORDOGNE


Innumerable books exist on this most beautiful part of southwest France but they are no substitute for experiencing its delights yourself. The region is incomparably rich in all the ingredients for a good holiday - uncluttered landscapes, quiet roads, gorgeous views at every turn, good regional food and a wealth of sites to visit as well as numerous activities for the energetic young and old alike.
So far as prehistory is concerned, the Vézère valley in particular has such exceptional sites as Lascaux, Le Roc St Christophe, Le Moustier and La Madeleine. If archaeology is any guide, this region has been continuously inhabited by mankind for tens of thousands of years and the evidence is there to discover for yourself in the great cave sites, the castles, bastides, massive churches and ancient towns and villages built of honey-coloured stone.
What follows is a snapshot of some of the most lovely, not to be missed, parts of the Périgord.


PERIGUEUX is the capital city of the department. The oldest traces of settlement here date back to prehistoric times but it was the Romans who overlaid their own structure and organisation on the ancient land previously dominated by Gallic tribes. During the Roman period of relative peace and prosperity beautiful villas were constructed and an amphitheatre which could probably seat 20,000 people. All that remains of it now are a few walls preserved in a lovely park. The Gallo-Roman museum displays the remains of frescoes, mosaic floors, colonnades and the hypocaust heating system. After the Romans the city experienced turbulent times, in common with the rest of Europe and went through centures of wars in one name or another. However even through this upheaval some splendid edifices were constructed such as the Cathedral St Front and in fact the St Front district, being well protected behind its ramparts has preserved its mediaeval buildings and it is a must to wander into the maze of streets to find wonderful stone carved facades, gothic arches and massive ancient studded wooden doors. The City now is rather sophisticated and has managed to combine the mediaeval magnificence with a modern boulevard well endowed with designer shops and wonderful cafés and restaurants spilling out into a series of intimate squares.


SARLAT is a most remarkable town. It is amazing that so many buildings and monuments are still intact considering the violent times it has witnessed since a Benedictine Abbey was founded here in 830AD. The town boasts the highest concentration of mediaeval, renaissance and 17th century facades of any town in France; A stroll through the narrow lanes behind the modern main street, transports you to another era. It is effectively an open air museum and every Saturday has an enormous, colourful and very lively market which is concentrated in the main square and then straggles its way through the winding cobbled streets. The local produce on sale such as foie gras, truffles, walnuts, cheeses and wines provides a good slice of the town’s revenue in exactly the same way as it would have done at the height of its prosperity during the 13th and 14th centuries. Add to that the fact that the town centre features in many a period film or television drama and you’ll not be surprised if occasionally you bump into a musketeer! Whilst it is great fun to visit the market and sample the local specialities, the town warrants a second visit not on a market day so that you can explore the lanes and courtyards in a more leisurely manner.


BERGERAC lies on the banks of the river Dordogne in the middle of a small alluvial plain. The town was first built in the Middle Ages and during the 12th century a bridge was constructed spanning the Dordogne and turning Bergerac into an important commercial port. The river, in those days, was the most important trade thoroughfare and even as late as the 18th and 19th centuries, Bergerac was considered to be one of France’s major ports. It’s prosperity was built on the transportation of tobacco, wooden barrels and wine. There are some very acceptable red wines, notably Pécharmant and perhaps the most celebrated white wine is the sweet Monbazillac, produced just a few kilometres away and which provides an excellent accompaniement to the foie gras just as much as the dessert. The original old town of course is situated on the edge of the embankment where the ancient cobbled streets weave back up the hill towards the modern day centre. Although the centre is naturally where the shops are, don’t miss wandering through the old part where the streets are lined with half-timbered houses and the squares are graced by the old Récollets monastery which houses the Wine Board of the Bergerac Region and the Museum of Wine, Lighterage and Coopery occupies both floors of a half-timbered house at one end the Place de la Myrpe.


So much for the three main cities of the region but on gentle trips around the countryside you will find such gems as Beynac, La Roque Gageac, Trémolat, Limeuil, Cadouin and too many more to list here. Each with it’s own treasures to discover and all of which had some important part to play in the long and often turbulent history of this most gorgeous part of France.

 
     

 

Home   /    Availability   /   Booking Form   /  Booking Conditions   /    Prices & Things   /    Contact Us