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The town of Bergerac enjoys a picturesque setting on the banks of the Dordogne River and is the main draw of the area...
A thriving town since the 12th century when its unique river bridge made it a major crossroads, Bergerac has suffered a turbulent history but remained steadfast due to its healthy wine and tobacco industries, both celebrated in local museums.
Much of old Bergerac is preserved in the old town, signposted 'vieille ville', where 15th century medieval houses remain clustered around the ancient river port, making for a pleasant walk and interesting area to visit. Here you will find the Musse du Tabac within the 17th century Maison Peyrarrde, also the Maison de Vins de Bergerac, housed in a beautiful 12th century cloister and charting the history of wine in the region.
The cloister plays host to the occasional summer concert and in December an intimate Christmas market takes place here with locally produced goods of excellent quality, ideal for Christmas gifts. Whatever the season, the old town is also home to some lovely restaurants and pavement cafes, also some specialist boutique-style shops. Another of Bergerac's star attractions is the stunning Romanesque style St Jacques church with its impressive facade and beautiful interior.
In the newer part of town, amid some lovely 18th century architecture, market days (Wednesdays and Saturdays) bring the town to life, with an abundance of superb local produce including the special occasion wine Monbazillac. Wine connoisseurs will want to head direct to the vineyards of Monbazillac, Saussignac and Pecharmant, all particularly notable Bergerac wines.
Bergerac-Roumanière Airport (EGC) is the most obvious place for car hire in Bergerac, a charming part-medieval, riverside town and an ideal starting point for a magical driving tour of the Dordogne.
Making full use of Bergerac car hire, venture out of the town to explore the magnificent Dordogne countryside...
Near to Brantome, north of Bergerac, you will find the extraordinary prehistoric Grotte de Villars, a natural cave formed by an underground river. The incredible formations are enhanced by a remarkable sound and light show and pre-historic cave paintings date back 17,000 years. In this area also is the Parc Naturel Regional Perigord-Limousin, ideal for hiking and exploring the region's natural beauty.
To the east of Bergerac lies the lovely village of Bugue which boasts the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe, the Aquarium du Perigord Noir. 6,000 varieties of fish from sharks to piranhas reside there in three million litres of water.
North West of Bergerac you will find the friendly, spacious and shady 'Le Vieux Port' campsite at Montpon Menesterol. Camping is the perfect way to enjoy both the natural beauty of the region with its dramatic scenery and ancient castles and fortresses that stand over winding rivers and golden stone villages.
The entire area of the Dordogne is a treasure trove of medieval walled towns or bastides such as Bassac, Ialinde or Fonroque, founded by our own Edward I in 1284 with its original tower still standing proud overlooking a secluded valley. With opportunities for river trips, kayaking, cave exploration and much more, one visit to the Dordogne will leave you wanting more.