Tourism

Suggested tour routes

The following will each take between ½ a day and a whole day, depending on lunch and how much time you spend wandering around etc. The order of the list is NOT an order of preference.

For more information about each town/village, chateau, cave etc please look at the relevant pages.

I have given a rough indication as to whether these are to the north, centre or south of the area covered by this website.

Belves / Cadouin / St Avit Senieur (north )

Also in this area and worth a visit: Urval

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Driving Tour of Chateaux and Bastides in north Lot and Garonne

If you are in a hurry and wish to take a driving tour of many of the bastides and chateaux in the north Lot and Garonne Area here is a proposed route.

This is a circular tour which can be started at any point. It could be done by bike or car and the number of days it takes will depend on how much time you with to devote to each town/village/chateaux. The tour could be started at any point. The route has been taken from the booklet Panorama 47, Vivre en Lot et Garonne which can be picked up from tourist offices and provides more detail.

Monflanquin

Perched 180meters high this bastide is one of the best in the area.

To see: Musee des Bastides, Maison du Prince Noir, 13th century church, colombage houses (timbered houses). On the outskirts of the village you can see the lavoir, the original communal washing area.

Leave by the D 124 passing by the Pech de Cailladelles view point.

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Caves and grottes: caves to visit in south Dordogne and north lot et Garonne

There are a great deal of caves in the Dordogne region - some interesting because of their prehistoric paintings, others because of their interesting rock formations. Some of those in the 'south of the Dordogne' region are listed below:

Domme (Highly Recommended)

Entered directly from the town centre, the caves at Domme are the largest in 'Perigord Noir'. They are also very worth a visit, with a succession of 'rooms' containing fabulous rock formations.

Les Grottes de Lastournelle, near Pujols

Smaller that the caves at Domme, there are seven interlocking caverns to discover. These caves are 10km south of Villeneuve-sur-Lot on the D118, at Sainte-Colombe-de-Villeneuve, not far from Pujols.

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Dordogne River and Dordogne Valley and the rivers of Lot et Garonne

The region here is crossed by the Dordogne river to the north and the Lot to the south, with the much smaller Dropt and Lède rivers flowing through the centre of the area.

DORDOGNE

river dordogne near la roque gageac

The Dordogne River is very accessible in most parts of our region. Reasonably slow flowing by this point, it lends itself well to various activities. These include:

Boat trips: From Bergerac, Beynac and La Roque Gageac it is possible to take an organised ride upstream on a boat ('gabarre').

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Ancient and medieval architecture: dolmen, pigeonniers and colombage in Dordogne and Lot et Garonne

Dolmen

Dolmen near Beaumont du Perigord

There are various dolmen in the area. Interesting to see (but not often renovated into luxurious accommodation!) Along with prehistoric cave paintings they provide a fascinating glimpse of life in another time.

Pigeonniers

Pigeonnier near Villereal

There are many pigeonniers in the north of Lot et Garonne, some remarkably elaborate. The common feature is the 'legs' that support the building, constructed in such a way that rats and vermin can not enter. This one is very close to Villereal.

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Lot et Garonne markets and market days

The local markets in France are still packed with the freshest and tastiest produce and the work of local artisans. The weekly market is still a must for locals and tourists alike. In this area there is at least one market in one of the local towns every day of the week.

Issigeac is one of my favourites. It is a thriving market summer and winter alike, always very colourful and it brings alive this beautiful little medieval village which can be a little too quiet on other days

Villereal is one of the busiest markets with lots of stalls to keep everyone interested.

As a plant lover I find Castillones and Monflanquin often have interesting finds though sadly Monflanquin market seems to be shrinking as strange town planning rules seem to be turning trade away from the town centre.

All these markets are in the morning unlesss otherwise stated.

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Gardens to visit in south Dordogne and north Lot et Garonne

The enthusiasm that the British have had for gardening for the last 40 years is only recently coming to be shared by the French. In the area south of the dordogne there are not many gardens to visit (though the gardens north of the dordogne are not far to travel. Here are a few in our area:

Les Jardins de l'Albarède

Though the area gardened is not huge the garden is delightful and the potagèr made me dash home with new inspiration to get ours started properly. There are quite a lot of unusual plants in both the garden and the potager. There is also a woodland walk and a pretty garden. I only found this garden recently but look forward to visiting it each season.

Situated close to Domme at St Cybranet

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Museums in the Lot and Garonne and Dordogne Region

Apiculture Museum,  Beaumont

Learn all about honey, pollen and royal jelly production in a lovely shady spot. Beehive products can be bought here.

Abris Troglodytiques, Belves

Underneath the main square at Belves are a number of original troglodyte dwellings. Tours are organised by the tourist information office just off the main square. The dwellings are fascinating, well worth a visit.

La Maison des Vins de Bergerac

This is house in a 17th century convent originally used by monks sent to Bergerac to revive the Catholic faith in the area. A beautiful cloisters often used for exhibitions and concerts in Bergerac, including free jazz performances at 5pm every Wednesday, in the summer.

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Cycling holidays in south west France - Dordogne and lot et Garonne

Cycling is a pleasure across the whole south Dordogne and north Lot and Garonne region of south-west France (with the possible exception of the main road along the Dordogne River during the summer months, which you may find too busy). See further down this page for a couple of my personal favourite routes.

Because the roads are quiet, and there are miles of unexplored back roads, this region of south-west France lends itself very well to cycling for visitors. And there are no mountains! There are hills, but these are mostly gentle, or short enough to push your bike up. And plenty of sunflowers to look at on the way...and the pleasures of approaching Chateau Bonaguil or Chateau Biron on your bike will help distract you from the hill you are cycling up...

sunflowers, view when cycling in Dordone, south-west France

In the region you could consider either taking an organised cycling holiday, or 'doing it yourself':

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Canoeing on the Dordogne River

Canoeing along the Dordogne River is one our favourite activities, that we try to fit in once or twice a year.

canoe on the dordogne river

Canoeing past Beynac on the Dordogne River

Your canoe slowly drifts passed Beynac, La Roque-Gageac and the other villages and towns dotted along the Dordogne river, seeing quiet sections of the river that can not be seen in any other way. Perfectly suitable for children as well (although perhaps not for babies and infants less than about three years old), and the canoes only cost a few euros to hire.

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Activities for children and kids in Lot et Garonne

Particular tourist attractions for children in this region of southern Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne include:

Parc Walibi, Agen

This is a very large amusement park near Agen. Slightly outside my defined area, really, but such a big hit with children that I thought I'd better include it anyway. The park offers roller coasters (including one which loops the loop), water slides and rides, pirate boats and the usual show.  Parc Walibi is closed November - April, and has different opening hours according to the date at other times - you can check these at their website.

Visit the Parc Walibi website

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Holiday activities and things to do in Lot et Garonne

There are many opportunities for day-trips and places to visit all across the southern dordogne region. The below are some of the more popular outdoor pursuits with visitors to the region: Walking, Golf and horse riding, with contact details for some of the local enterprises are below see separate section for Lot et garonne cycling holidays):

Walking in Lot-et-Garonne and Dordogne

The whole area described in 'south of the dordogne' is a pleasure for walking in and around. In Lot-et-Garonne the roads are quiet, there are often no 'gift shops' in a town, and the towns are less crowded. A perfect place for walking.

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Route des Métiers d'Art en Périgord

The Route des Metiers is a route around the whole of Perigord visiting some of the many arts and crafts type producers and shops in the area. The area covered by this site includes several in our local towns you might find interesting:

Beaumont

Papier d'art - handmade paper for fine art
Moulin de Larroque, 40 Ave de Cahors, Couze St Front

'Green' wood - unique sculptures turned from wood
11, Rue Foussal, Beaumont du Périgord

Jacques Beal - sculptures in both wood and metal
16 Av de Rhinau, Beaumont du Périgord

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Restaurants in south Dordogne and north Lot and Garonne

There is a strong gastronomic tradition in this area, below we have listed only those restaurants we can personally recommend or which have been recommended to us.Note however these change very often, new restaurants open and others get sold - don't hold us responsible please, but equally please let us know in the comments box if you have found a local restaurant we have missed.

Beaumont restaurants

Chez Claudette

This restauant does a great value 4 course lunch menu plus wine plus coffee all for 11 euros. The food is well cooked and of good quality, better than the usual 'cheap and cheerful' restaurants in the area.

Tel: 05 53 23 95 23

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Wine and wine tasting near Bergerac and southern Dordogne

Most wine regions have a 'wine cooperative' in or near the town, which will offer wine tasting and buying without the need to summon up the courage to knock on the door of a chateau at the end of a long driveway, and without the fear that you will feel pressured into buying anything. These also sell the cheaper local wine 'en vrac' (usually in 5 or 10 litre plastic boxes) - as drunk by the locals, or for home bottling, - and in wine boxes. Ask at the appropriate tourist office.

St Emilion

St Emilion deserves special mention, being listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The village itself is very, very attractive. The area around St Emilion is less exciting unless you like looking at vineyards, so I think it is best to visit from the 'south of the Dordogne' region as a day out, which is why it is included here. It is found about 45 minutes drive from Bergerac on the road to Bordeaux.

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Bastide towns in Lot et Garonne, France

A Brief History Lesson of the Bastide Towns of Lot et Garonne

Deep in the heart of the middle ages, life was pretty rough in South-West France. In an effort to bring a bit of stability to the area, 'new towns' were planned and built.

These towns were built around a strict grid layout, and also usually fortified, and aimed to bring a bit of stability and security to the inhabitants while also adding to the strength of the respective sides (English and French) in the region.

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