Highlights of Bergerac
If you are a wine tourist who wants a compact wine region crammed with a vast range of attractions, Dordogne river system, river boats, chateaux, historical wine villages, English Bastide towns, great markets and so much more, then the Bergerac wine region will appeal to you.
The region is dominated by the Dordogne River. In previous centuries it was the route by which wine was transported from the valley to the coastal port of Bordeaux. The flat-bottomed boats, used to carry wine and other essentials of life were called “gabarres”. And today replicas of these makeshift craft ply the river offering relaxing boat trips of round one hour from Port Bergerac.
Bergerac town, like so many other medieval towns, villages and bastides in the Bergerac region, is remarkably well-conserved. Bergerac is situated on the Dordogne River and its quays once bustled with the loading of wine barrels onto "garbares", flat-bottomed boats, for shipping to Bordeaux.
Meander from the port up through the old quarter of narrow streets, quaint alleys and squares past half-timbered houses and see the monuments included that of the Parisian novelist and playwright, Cyrano de Bergerac - an enjoyable couple of hours of exploring.
Classified as an historical monument from the 16th century, Chateau Monbazillac offers unique and original architecture, being a combination of the defensive style of the Middle Ages and the first signs of Renaissance art. Unlike other chateaux, it remains essentially as it did when constructed - undamaged and unimproved. The grounds and 2 lower floors are open to the public. Well worth a visit and an explore.
A charming medieval village constructed largely in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was designed as a fortified town - "Bastide". It is situated 6 kms to the south of Begerac and is often described as the village of stone and timber. Very original and a real trip back to the Middle Ages. On Sundays this peaceful village comes vibrantly alive with a colourful and busy street market - considered to be in the top 100 markets in France
We would have visited St. Emilion just for its superb Bordeaux wines, however this golden village is one of the most beautiful in France. Sitting in a natural amphitheatre, surrounded by its famous vines, it is a place to spend an enjoyable day. The four main sites can only be seen on tourist office guided tours so the office should be your first port of call.
This medieval village which is clustered around its abbey, is famous as the home of the controversial “holy shroud”. While the “shroud” was subject to wrangles as to ownership in the 1930s it was proved to be an 11th-century fake. Despite that the village with its winding medieval alleyways and lanes plus an impressive abbey is well worth a visit.