Places of Interest
Known as the Venice of the Perigord, Brantôme lies in the charming Vallée de la Dronne. Its old abbey and picturesque setting make it a delightful place to visit. The town has a nice mix of medieval and renaissance architecture to admire and is classed as one of 'les Plus Beaux Detours' in France.
The impressive castle of Bordeilles, with the village clustered below, stands imperiously above the River Dronne. It was here that the chronicler Brantôme was born in 1540. A tour of the château last approximately 1 hour.
A medieval village classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, St-Jean-de-Côle is well worth a visit. Although small, the narrow streets are lovely to explore, with many houses sporting bright window boxes. A hotel with bar, a café and a small restaurant give plenty of opportunity to stop and enjoy the surroundings. The village holds a flower festival, "Floralies", over a weekend every May, which is spectacular, even if one is not in the market to buy plants. Highly recommended.
A tour lasting about 1 hour follows galleries linking several chambers dug out by an underground river. Halfway through the tour, a sound and light show provides a spectacular overview of the main stages which led to the formation of the cave.
Like a fairytale castle, Jumilhac reaches to the sky with its pointing roof topped with iron finials decorated with human and fanciful figurines. The medieval structure and defensive situation of the château are obvious. The French-style hanging gardens are landscaped around a theme of gold an alchemy.
Périgueux is an ancient town built in the fertile valley of the River Isle. Its long history can be traced in its urban architecture and two distinctive districts, each of which is marked by the domes of its sanctuary: the Cité district overlooked by St Stephen's tiled roof, and the Puy St-Front district with the Byzantine silhouette of the present cathedral bristling with pinnacles. Périgueux's gastronomic specialties, with truffles and fois gras occupying prize position, have become famous around the world.
The ciy of Limoges is the administrative capital of Limousin. The site was chosen for its defensive position, with a ford across the Vienne and a two-stepped plateaux that could be put to defensive use. In the Gallo-Roman period, when the town was known as Augustorium, it spread out in an amphitheatre along the right bank of the river. In the Middle Ages, two separate rival townships developed: the Cité Épiscopale grouped around its cathedral built on a low shelf overlooking the Vienne, and the Château, the busy commercial town on the opposite slope in the shadow of the powerful abbey of St-Martial. The city's industrial rise is largely due to its porcelain and enamel works.
Originally a medieval fortress, the château was completely transformed during the classical period. As times and fashions changed, the fortress gradually turned into a place of leisure. The Château experienced its most sumptuous period in the 17th century. In its classicism, Hautefort more closely resembles a Loire château than the castles of the region. Its imposing, majestic form is a reflection of the power of the Lords of Hautefort.
Just 15 minutes away at Bussière-Galant, Espace Hermerline offers a wide range of adventure and leisure activities. The lake has a supervised swimming beech while the wider area is great for family walks, picnics and barbecues. For adventure, try out the massive zip-line over the lake, the bungee ejector, or the 'go-ape'-style tree-top assault
course. See the Space Hermeline website
(link above) for full details. Further activity
programmes are available for the area of
Activities include tree climbing,
waterskiing, sailing, archery,
rock climbing, ziplines,
This very pretty village on the Vézère River is most famous for being home to the Lascaux Caves. Both the caves and Montignac itself are well worth a visit.
Oradour-sur-Glane is a martyr village emblematic of the cruelty of Nazi terror. It remains as it stood on the day of its destruction as a reminder of that terrible period and in memeory of the 642 men, women and children who were massacred. A visit not to be take lightly. However, it can constitute an important educational visit with its excellent memorial centre.