The Owner Recommends
Felibree Festival each July
Our region holds an annual Felibree festival on the first weekend in July which draws 25,000 visitors each year for a journey into the Dordogne’s romantic past and the Occitan language (langue d’Oc). It takes place in a different town every year and for 2013 Bergerac was chosen. Over the days 5th, 6th and 7th July the town was decorated with thousands of flowers hung from wires over the streets in the old historic centre of town. A truly colourful and spectacular event. Throughout this time visitors can discover traditional trades from the region where the langue d’Oc is spoken, such as basket-making and clog-making. Everywhere there are colourful traditional costumes and dancing in the streets which are decorated with thousands of intricate flower garlands. It is an event not to be missed.
Area of the Dordogne
Historically the department of the Dordogne was created in 1790 taking it’s name from the main river winding through the region. Before that time this same area was known as Perigord and is still known thus today. The Perigord is divided into four regions, and our area is called the Perigord Pourpre or Purple Perigord, taking its name from this wine-growing region. The pace of life here takes its rhythm from the river of the region as it gently winds its way to Bordeaux a fast and vibrant city 1 hour’s drive to the west, with it’s 18c architecture and excellent city shopping. However, here the countryside is picturesque, the traffic is minimal, and there are chateaux to visit, caves to explore and medieval walled towns and villages to visit.
Arrival of Spring
Spring arrives early here, with sunny mild days in March and April, gently easing into the long sunny and very warm days of May and June when the light evenings seem to stretch on for ever. Summer arrives in a blast of heat with rising temperatures allowing outdoor activities their full potential. Summer markets are everywhere and even the smallest of villages has an annual firework display (free). 3kms from Bellevue, Le Fleix has a spectacular firework display on the river bank during the first weekend in August. It is amazing!
A twenty minute drive from Bellevue, you can explore Bergerac with it’s timber framed houses, quaint old streets to wander through, enticing small restaurants and bars to discover, and the tobacco and wine museums. You can also take a boat trip on one of the traditional gabares, a flat bottomed craft used originally for trading up and down the river
France’s National Holiday
If you are lucky enough to be in France on Bastille Day (14th July) you will find celebrations all over the country. Locally both Bergerac and Ste Foy la Grande hold events during the day and when the evening draws in and the daylight fades to darkness, you are treated to spectacular firework displays on the river bank, a magical backdrop for the brilliant colours and patterns.
Lac de Gurson
The Lac de Gurson, our nearest leisure lake, is just 15kms away through wooded countryside. Here you can spend all day ‘on the beach’. It is a beautiful spot with sandy beach, and dedicated swimming area; together with a good number of small restaurants and bars for snacking and dining, an opportunity for horse riding and also an activity path around the lake for those who wish to keep fit. This is also a very pleasant route around the lake for a gentle walk!
Lazy Days for Wine Tasting
As already mentioned this is a wine producing area and opportunities for a ‘Degustation’ abound in the vicinity and are often difficult to resist! The ‘route des vins’ with local vignerons happy to discuss their wine and to let you taste, is on our doorstep. A little knowledge of the French language will make your visit more interesting, but is not always essential. We even have ‘English’ winemakers producing really good wine locally.
A visit to nearby Chateau Monbazillac built in 1550 to discover it’s history and at the end of the visit enjoy a relaxing wine tasting is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Monbazillac wine is golden, smooth with a heady aroma and is best enjoyed chilled as an aperitif or perhaps with a rather ‘wicked’ dessert.
Just 35kms through the local countryside this famous town is always worth a visit, not only for it’s wine but also for it’s steep narrow streets and medieval buildings. You can also take a ride on the little ‘train’ catching glimpses of famous wine chateaux you have only heard about or seen on the label of a wine bottle.
Spectactular Re-enactment of 100 Years War
Castillon-la-Bataille Is just half an hour’s drive to the west and every summer they re-enact the battle at the end of the 100 years war. This has become one of the most visited spectacles in the area during the months of July and August and a worthy contender for your ‘excursions’. Please note that this involves a late night!
Throughout the Summer
French markets are renowned for their fresh produce and most villages/towns have a weekly market, with our local market town of Ste Foy la Grande having one of the top 100 in France. For self-catering needs the produce is fresh, local and has endless possibilities for a picnic, BBQ, something cold and delicious or maybe a traditional meal. Accompanied by the local wines, this means preparing sumptuous and memorable meals is an effortless pleasure. Local activities in the area are numerous. Try your hand at canoeing, quad biking, jet skiing, go-karting, bowling, paintball, tennis, horse riding the list is endless.
Where to Eat Out in the Area
We can point you in the direction of numerous ‘eating places’ from the ‘good value’ lunch menu favoured by the local workers and those ‘in the know’ to the pizzeria, traditional French restaurants, cafes, local ferme auberge, and even a michelin starred establishment if you wish. Just ask.