Jumhilhac le Grand and Beyond ..
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A trip through Jumilhac-le Grand, St Yrieix La Perche, Thiviers, Périgueux, Bergerac, Bastides, St Jean de Côle, Brantome, Hautefort, Montignac, Sarlat, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, Rocamadour.
The department of the Dordogne, renamed under Napoleon, more or less follows the boundaries of the old Périgord. The department is, roughly, diamond-shaped, with its capital Périgueux at the centre. Though the landscape is infinitely varied, it has throughout a gentleness, a lack of true wildness, that makes the Dordogne accessible and enjoyable. Its agriculture is distinctive with the cultivation of walnuts and the elusive truffle, and the rearing of poultry, especially ducks and geese. Thus, the cuisine, heavily reliant as it is on fresh local produce, is amongst the finest in France. It is a region of chateaux, no other corner of France has such a wealth of medieval and Renaissance domestic and military architecture. Likewise, the proliferation of caves and grottoes has given the Dordogne the greatest concentration of prehistoric sites in the world, as well as caverns of outstanding beauty and drama.
The following towns and villages give but a brief glimpse of the wonders of what the region of the Dordogne has to offer. To see and experience it all would take many visits to this very beautiful part of France.
Being located in the Pérgord Vert , we're just 15kms from the Haute Vienne. This area is well worthy of mention, as the landscape and feel off the countryside is much the same as found in the Dorodgne, with a richness and diversity in its culture, food and people.
Jumilhac Le Grand and St Yrieix La Perche are really 'local'. Jumilhac being just 10 minute's away. Have a nice lunch in the Lou Boueiradour restaurant and visit the Chateau in the afternoon. St Yrieix is just 30 minute's away with nice shops to browse around with some Limoges china outlets. Go to the lakeside for lunch.
From our village of St Priest Les Fougères, with its ease of access to the RN21, you can enjoy 'easy' days with a trip to Thiviers combined with St Jean de Côle and Brantome. Visit the Grotte de Villars and the Chateau Puyguilhem between St Jean de Côle and Brantôme. Périgueux is just an hour away, making a lovely Saturday morning outing.
The Lascaux caves at Montignac are just 45 minute's away. Lascaux 4 was opened by President Hollande 15th December 2016. This is a spectacular project with state-of-the-art technology, visit http://projet-lascaux.com/en/lascaux-4. You can book tickets in advance on http://reserver.lascaux.fr or on the day at the new site. The site is in English and clearly sets out how to book. There are many pre-historic places to see in the area and we always recommend that people plan for a day out. After Montignac take in La Roque St -Christophe and Les Eyzies and on the way back the spectacular Chateau at Hautefort. If you run out of time plan a visit for another day. The Chateau at Hautefort is a comfortable half an hour drive and the little town of Hautefort is interesting with restaurants offering good value lunch time menus.
To visit Sarlat, La Roque Gageac and any area along the Dordogne River plan to leave early in order to pack-in a good day's sightseeing.
Jumilhac le Grand Just ten minute's away, on the D79, a spectacular Château, open to the public. A good bar and restaurant in the square. Children are made welcome and the prices are reasonable. A very pleasant location for dinner on a warm summer's evening. Children can play safely in the square.
St Yrieix La Perche, 15 kms from Jumilhac Le Grand, is well worth a visit. It has a large market every second and fourth Friday of the month and for those people interested in farming, just outside the town there is a large livestock market, held on the same days. There are shops in the town selling Limoges china at very reasonable prices. Good every day pieces, as well as gift items. On the route to Limoges there is a lovely recreational lake and a nice restaurant on the lake side.
AND BEYOND .
Thiviers, just 15 kms away, south, has three good-size supermarkets. It's known as the Foie-Gras Capital and has an excellent authentic market every Saturday morning. Well worth a visit.
Périgueux, the capital of the Dordogne, is 50 kms south and a lovely old medieval town, with a Cathedral and cobble-stoned, winding alleys, lovely shops and a big market every Wednesday, and a wonderful food market on a Saturday morning.
Bergerac Continuing south from Périgueux on the N21 one arrives at Bergerac on the River Dordogne.
From Bergerac follow the Dordogne Valley
Bastide Towns Whilst in this area don't forget to visit some of the famous Bastide towns of Beaumont, Issigeac and Monpazier.
St-Jean-de-Côle is one of the loveliest villages in the Dordogne. Its main square is surrounded by half-timbered houses, a covered marketplace, a 12th-century church and the Chateau de la Marthonie
Brantôme is known as as the Venice of the Dordogne, the River Dronne encircling the small town, linked to the outside world by five bridges. Excellent restaurants. Lovely market on Fridays and in the summer always painting exhibitions in the Abbey. A fun place for children, too, with canoe hire. Don't forget to visit St Jean de Côle en route there or coming back, one of the beautiful villages of France.
Hautefort The Chateau here is one of the most prestigious in South West France and is a listed historical monument. Its dominant position is on the site of a former roman camp.
Montignac on the Vezere, a 45 minute drive away, has canoe hire and is where the famous Lascaux Caves are located. In July and August it is advisable to book the tour of the caves as soon as you arrive, as you may have to wait several hours to get a tour in your own language.
Sarlat, Domme, Rocacmadour and La Roque-Gageac,are located in the area of the Dordogne River and well worthy of a day-out.
On to Bordeaux. Plan to leave early in order to pack-in a good day's sightseeing.
There are any number of caves, châteaux, lakes and authentic old market towns to visit. In the summer months nearly always one or more of the local villages will be holding their fête days. These are important events for village life and are taken very seriously. A lot of work and planning go into making them a fun day for all.
Here in St Priest Les Fougères our fete day is August 15th held each year on the village green to which everyone is invited and made to feel very welcome. It’s a fun day. A chance to meet and mix with the local people and an opportunity to participate in a very authentic village event.
Look out too for posters, when driving around, advertising 'Brocante and/or Vide Grenier' days. For the bric-a-brac enthusiast or collector these are events not to be missed. Very often unusual items turn up at bargain prices.
During the summer months in nearly all the villages and towns there are tourist information offices (Syndicat d'Initiative). The staff manning them are always very helpful and are usually English speakers. Here you will find brochures describing local places of interest and details of any upcoming events.
Likewise in our self-catering holiday cottage and at our bed and breakfast we keep for guest’s use and reference a wide range of leaflets, pamphlets and brochures. There are any number of excellent reference books obtainable about the Dordogne. The one we have found to be particularly informative is by Stephen Brooke with excellent photographs called ‘The Dordogne’, published by George Philip.
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