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  • Countryside Bucolic backwaters
  • Country life Wine, woods and winding rivers

In the warm valleys of southwestern France, where the Dordogne, Isle and Lot rivers wriggle their way to the Atlantic, the lush landscape, sunny days and mild temperatures combine to produce perfect conditions for grapes and truffles.

Happily these are also ideal surroundings in which to linger and enjoy the world’s finest wines and the region’s gastronomic specialities. The names of the honey-coloured mediaeval towns, villages and châteaux of the Périgord are instantly recognisable to gourmets, from the vineyards of Bergerac and St-Émilion to the truffle stalls of Périgueux. Here, time is measured in vintages and happiness comes by the glass.

Do go/Don’t go

Spring is sunny but changeable, with May and June absolute perfection. Summer is busy but ideal for canoeing on the Dordogne. September and October see fine weather and the all-important grape harvest. Winters are usually wet and mild.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes The low-cost airlines fly to Bergerac airport, 5km southeast of the town centre. There are also regular flights to Bordeaux throughout the year.
  • Trains The high-speed TGV from Paris to Bordeaux takes three and a half hours. It’s eight hours from London via Eurostar. Bordeaux to Bergerac takes one hour.
  • Automobiles A car is indispensable for exploring the vineyards and countryside.
  • Taxis There’s no chance of hailing a cab out in the sticks. In Bergerac, call 05 53 23 32 32 to pre-book your ride. Or burn off those foie gras calories and hire bicycles from Apolo on 05 53 61 08 16.