Things to see & do
The tower is so delightful that many people spend most of their time swimming and sunbathing by the pool and relaxing or reading in the garden. But for those who want to explore there is lots to do.
for those who want to explore…
You can visit castles, prehistoric caves, vineyards and much more. Within a half hour radius there is golf, canoeing, cycling, and a plan d’eau (artificial lake). Flea markets (Brocantes, or Vide greniers) are fun – look out for notices by the roadsides.
Woodland Walks & Cycle Rides
The chestnut woodland and tiny roads around the tower are lovely walking country; there is a map of local walks in the centre of the village and other walking maps in the tower. Or you can hire a bike and cycle a little further afield.
Prehistoric life of the Dordogne
There are scores of fabulous caves, cave paintings, troglodyte homes, museums, and the world heritage site of Lascaux 2 for those interested in this fascinating era of early mankind’s history.
On the Water
Halfway down to Vergt is a ‘Plan d’eau’ – an artificial lake with little boats and picnic areas. For those who enjoy kayaking or canoeing, you can hire these on the Dordogne near Bergerac, or take a trip on a traditional river boat.
History of Dordogne
There are dozens of fabulous castles and other ancient buildings to visit: impressive fortresses; impossibly romantic Renaissance castles perched above the Dordogne; Josephine Baker’s Château des Milandes; or Montaigne’s Tower. During the summer, sons et lumières – look out for signs by the roadside.
There is a ‘ferme auberge’ close to the tower where you can book a meal of local food, and the local town of Vergt (8 km or 6 minutes by car) is well served with all amenities you could require, including three bakeries and several eateries. There is a good weekly local market every Friday plus an occasional Sunday, and night markets in the summer. In January there is a weekly truffle market. On the road to Périgord is a walnut oil producer – a must for summer salads. A visit to the truffle museum at Sorges to the north of Périgueux can be pleasantly combined with lunch at the Auberge de la Truffe followed by a visit to Limoges.
The twice-weekly food markets at Perigueux and Bergerac are amongst the best in the country. And there is a market on every day of the week somewhere in the region; the local one in Vergt is on Fridays. During the high season there are also night markets with music as well as delicious food and crafts. These are usually well advertised. In the winter there is an extra duck, goose and truffle marquee at the weekly Perigueux market.
There are a number of local festivals in our area. The nearby village of St Amand De Vergt has a lovely music festival in August, held in an ancient little church. And there are two particularly colourful local festivals: the strawberry festival in May, and the pumpkin festival in October.
The fête des fraises (strawberry festival) at Vergt in the last Sunday in May includes an excellent brocante and street market, a huge communal meal for around 600 people, traditional dancing, and of course the 3m diameter strawberry tart; each segment made by a different commune.
The fête des citrouilles (Pumpkin festival) in Saint-Maime-de-Péreyrol is on the second Sunday in October. There is a street market, cider press, portable bread oven, stonemasons, another huge communal meal, and of course hundreds of brightly coloured pumpkins and gourds of every shape and colour.
The Dordogne (Périgord) has long been renowned for its gastronomic delights: sun-ripened luscious fruit (we are in the heart of the French strawberry area), organic vegetables, dozens of cheeses, truffles, walnut oil, a myriad of duck products, vineyards, mouth-watering arrays of fresh bread and patisseries, and of course the famous food markets. With all this on hand, you can feast at every meal in the garden at the tower.
And to Drink…
Between the tower and Bergerac is a particularly good wine area called Pécharment famous for its red wines. Several vineyards offer free tastings. The white and rosé wines of Bergerac make delightful summer drinking and are available at markets and the local supermarkets. Château de Montbazillac perched above Bergerac is not only an interesting castle but produces the famous monbazillac dessert wine that accompanies foie gras so perfectly. Further afield are the famous vineyards of St Emilion. At nearby Villamblard there is a small distillery you can visit.