The Périgord region is steeped in history, and offers a wide variety of historical and gastronomical adventures for visitors to the area. Situated between the historical market towns of Bergerac and Perigueux, and only just over an hour away from Bordeaux, the medieval towns and villages of Sarlat, Monpazier and Issigeac, Le Manoir is an ideal base from which to explore this land of 1001 châteaux.
The Bastides towns and villages were built in the middle ages to encourage the population to gather in market towns in rural areas. They were often fortified to keep the enemy out so that commerce could flourish within the safety of the walls. For example, Monpazier, founded in 1284 by Edward 1st of England, is still very much intact today and well worth a visit. Some of the villages are on the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostelle.
In these truer-than-life medieval surroundings, the Saturday morning markets bring life and colour to the streets even in winter when the foie gras, or truffle season is at its height. There are 35 markets in different villages all over the Dordogne that are exclusively for local producers.
Land of 1001 Chateaux
The feudal castles and Renaissance palaces have had a turbulent history. The English ruled Aquitaine for 300 years until the 100-years war resulted in the French winning back their land.
Many of the chateaux, including Biron, Beynac, Castelnaud, were fortified to protect them from invasion.
The Maison Forte de Reignac is the most unusual, secret and extraordinary chateau in France. It was built into the rock and dates back 20,000 years. It appears to rise from the rock, and conceals enormous subterranean vaults. Within, there is a chapel, a prison cell, dungeons, kitchens, and cellars
Purple Périgord: The Purple Périgord owes its name to its vineyards, and is centred around Bergerac, where 14th-century architecture still stands in the old quarter along with shops and restaurants. In this region you will find delicious wines, such as that made at the Châteaux de Monbazillac, Pécharment and Montravel. The vineyards cover more than 12,000 hectares, and with the mild temperatures and fertile hillsides, the vineyards have all the characteristics needed for great wines: the chalky soil of the uplands of the Dordogne River’s left bank; and the sand and gravel soil of the right bank.
There are also lovely bastde villages; Monpazier (a "Plus Beaux Village"), Trémolat, Cadouin, Villefranche, Limeuil and Beaumont-de-Périgord. A visit to Issigeac on Sunday morning for the farmers market will provide a spectacular sensory & visual experience and walk around the winding narrow streets. These fortified villages reflect the turbulent years gone by.
Black Périgord: In the South-East of the department Périgord Noir is recognized worldwide for its wealth of prehistoric remains. It is home to some of the richest sites in Europe for vestiges of Paleolithic occupation, caves, and rock dwellings. Fifteen of these painted or carved caves are classified as Unesco World Heritage
Green Périgord: To the North, this is an area of lush vegetation, lakes and rivers, gentle landscapes, stunning natural scenery, and Romanesque churches. The villages of Brantôme and Saint-Jean-de-Cole are worth visiting
White Périgord: The White Périgord gets its name from the chalky soils and white local stone. Two thousand years of history are encapsulated in Perigueux, the capital of the department with its Gallo Roman remains. The white stone from its quarries was used to build the castles and medieval villages, and is still quarried today.
Bordeaux: Like a tiny Paris with its magnificent architecture on the river banks & palatial houses, wonderful restaurants & parks. However Bordeaux has something more…Its wines, some of the best in the world.
Saint Émilion: A picturesque village in stone, high on a hill surrounded by its vineyards also & home to many famous wines.
The Coast: Pyla, Cap Ferret, Archachon
Pyla has the largest sand dune in Europe, and the beaches of Archachon and Cap Ferret are sandy and stretch for miles.There are lots of great fish restaurants serving the days catch. Not to be missed is the climb up the 258 steps to the top of Cap Ferret lighthouse; there, you can take in the whole of the Arcachon Basin, the Great Dune of Pyla and the Atlantic Ocean. Well worth spending a night athough a day trip is possible….2 to 3 hours drive, depending on the season.
There is so much to see from the Dordogne river itself. There are trips in the traditional flat bottomed boats called Gabarre or canoes can be rented from various places along the river..this is great fun!
There are also several golf courses in the area. The nearest, Château les Merles is only 20 minutes away. Perigueux, 30 minutes , Chateaux le Vigiers 45 minutes.
There are some excellent restaurants nearby, and we will be pleased to recommend one and reserve a table for you.
*Please ask if you'd like us to prepare a picnic for you.