Stroll the medieval streets.
Once again, in the evening sun, it was beautiful and warm as we strolled around searching for a bite to eat. We wandered quite a bit as the season hasn't started yet, but found the streets around our b&b were the nicest. The historic old quarter is not that big and can be walked in a short time.
Sit outside on Place de la Myrpe.
We sat out on the square in the evening sun whilst waiting for the owner. It really was beautiful, calm, no cars moving about, so very peaceful. Practically all the houses here date from the 16th c with half-timbered "bricou" frontages. A couple on the north side of the square were being renovated inside, which virtually means ripping the whole thing apart, just keeping the frontage, which of course are classed historic monuments, so untouchable today.
Recollets Convent (Maison des vins).
This converted convent was built between the 12th and 17th centuries and used by the "Recollets" order of Franciscans. It was used afterwards as a Protestant temple (now rehoused in the adjacent building). Now turned into the Wine museum of Bergerac it still retains a somewhat "olde worlde" look about it. In the centre of the building is the superb cloister with a century old Paulownia tree that had left a carpet of flowers for us to walk on. The museum and tastings are closed on Mondays, but the cloister remains open for anyone to walk around, we had the place to ourselves. Hours of entry vary depending on the month of the year but is free all the time. Closed the whole month in January and Mondays all year long.
Kayak Down the Dordogne
There are a number of places to pick up a kayak, Beynac is just one of them and you get a choice of how many how long a journey you want to do.
We chose a 15K trip which was great. The views are just breathtaking.
You wont be alone there are hundreds of people messing about on the water, but suggest you take a picnic and you can pull up on a bank at various points along the way and just chill for a while.
A day in the park
We found a couple of parks in Bergerac one was a good half an hours walk from the town centre but was worth the time just to sit by the pond and listen to the frogs, they where amazing, I have never heard such noisy little chaps in my life.
This sounds really baoring, but it was not , in fact it is really interesting. A must if the weather is bad as you can spend quite a long time there, over the three floors. Many artifacts, even some cigarette boxes that I remember from when I was younger!!!!
Aquarium du Perigord Noir
Both recreational and educational, this aquarium has 3000000 litres of water where in natural light you can watch 6000 plus fish. With more than 30 pools you make a voyage through 5 covered visiting areas. Outside there is a shop and a bar "Croc - o - Grill" and mini golf, picnic area. toilets,acces ramps for wheelchairs. Great family day out.
When in Bergerac you must take a trip on the river, it lasts about 1 hour, and if you do not speak French you are given a book in English to translate what the skipper is saying! Whilst on the trip you pass a area where many birds nest, we saw quite a few kites soaring over head as we understood they feed on dead fish in the river. There is supposedly woodpeckers, kingfishers and lots of other birds nesting there, great if you are a twitcher. A lovely way to spend a lazy afternoon especially if you get the weather like we did.
- Sailing and Boating
L'eglise Saint Jacques
Of Roman origin, the Saint Jacques church was historically a place of rest for pilgrims following the Santiago de Compostelle route.
The church was partially destroyed during the wars of religion; Louis XIV was ultimately responsible for its reconstruction. Only the clock tower above the balcony is original, but it is still an attractive building.
It's situated on the Place Pelissiere, so sitting out at one of the patios is a terrific way to enjoy a view of the church.
- Religious Travel
In winters past, the Dordogne's level would rise high enough to submerge substantial parts of the lower town. The worst of the floods, in 1783, actually washed away the bridge that was later replaced by the one in this photo.
The construction of dams has succeeded in preventing any recent floods. Today, the port is quite attractive, despite being bordered by a municipal parking lot.
- Historical Travel
The 19th-century Notre Dame Cathedral is located just on the northern outskirts of the pedestrianized vielle ville (old town) of Bergerac. The clock tower reaches 80 metres ~ making it an excellent point of reference throughout the town.
The inside isn't terribly remarkable ~ but it does cast a striking image against a clear sky.
- Religious Travel
La Place de la Mirpe
Bergerac has more than it's share of attractive, pedestrianized squares. La place de la Mirpe is yet another ~ this one home to a statue of Rostand's character Cyrano de Bergerac (no real connection to the town).
The square is surrounded by picturesque half-timbered houses.
Cloitre des Recollets
The cloister was built in 1630 and the Franciscan Recollets were first installed here with the intention of returning Bergerac to the Catholic path from which it had strayed.
The galleries date from the 16th to 18th centuries. . .there's a gorgeous Paulownia tree in the corner of the cloister.
Even if you're not interested in the Maison des Vins, a brief peek into the courtyard is worth the time.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Maison des Vins
The Maison des Vins is housed in a section of a 17th century cloister. The entryway into the cloister has wall displays that detail the history of wine in the region. You can follow the panels downstairs to a room where a short video loops (French and English versions are played). It is a short film, and has some beautiful scenes of the countryside, so it doesn't hurt to take a seat for ten minutes.
The next stage in the Maison des Vins (the whole "museum" is free), is a centre for testing your nose ~ you can play around with different stations to see how easily you identify about 25 scents (woods, fruits, etc.) that assist your wine tasting skill.
The self-guided tour ends in a shop with free tastings ~ there was no pressure to buy.
- Wine Tasting
- Museum Visits
La Place Pelissiere
This is the largest, and arguably the prettiest, square in Bergerac. There's a lovely fountain, a fantastic view of the Eglise Saint Jacques. . .and some lovely patios to sit at and enjoy your surroundings.
All of the streets that lead off from this square are attractive as well. . .with some beautiful older town homes (15th and 16th century).
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