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Friday, August 17, 2018

Our region  >  A picturesque region





The Castle:

When walking through Berbiguieres, you will first discover the sheer size of its castle, overseeing the village. Built in the 12th century & modified several times since then, the castle used to be an English fortification at the beginning of the ‘hundred years war’. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the lords of BERBIGUIERES were considered "noble and powerful". They had authority over the six parishes that constituted their land and a prison was built inside the castle itself.

The various wars over religion were not kind to the general state of the building and in the 17th century, it had to be refurbished.

The village, through the centuries, was built in the shape of a half-moon at the foot of the castle. The latter is not open to the public; however you can still walk under what remains of the fortifications and appreciate this magical place.

The village:

Huddled between Montaud (700 feet) and Cap del Pech, the village of BERBIGUIERES still appears today as a well preserved place full of history.The castle and its elegantly restored houses promise visitors both wonder and seduction. The town extends to the Dordogne River, Le Pont du Garrit (the original bridge built in 1892 and today property of the state) remained in use until the end of the 1980s & the only way to reach the right bank of the river to the town of SAINT CYPRIEN. It has been replaced by a new bridge, not as picturesque but more modern.

Historically, BERBIGUIERES was the centre of the lordship of the same name. It included six parishes: MARNAC, BERBIGUIERES, ALLAS (along the Dordogne River), CLADECH, SAINT GERMAIN, CARVES on the slopes. The village was the only one to officially have a castle.

The name of BERBIGUIERES is likely to come from "berbiguièra" meaning  fold in occitan. The slopes and the remains of huts built with dry stone found as well as the archives attest to this version. Sheep farming was a large part of agricultural resources at the time.

The Church

The ancient Church no longer exists. From Calhau Street, you will see the remains of what has certainly been the Church of the parish in the ramparts of the Castle. Marguerite of Brittany is thought to be buried there. The current church was blessed in 1738 after four years of work. Saint Denis is the patron of the parish and gave its name to one of the fountains.

There were once two cemeteries: one in the enclosure of the Castle and the cemetery "of the poor" which stood at the foot of the Castle alley.
The 19th century stained glass of the Church was an initiative from the Abbot Ginestet and supplemented by the generosity of the people.

The small heritage

The cross located at the entrance of the Castle Alley is a unique copy. Indeed its pyramidal basement is dated 1848 and is surmounted by a cross coming probably from the cemetery of the poor. The mention of the year 1789 make historians believe that this building was secularized during the various revolutions.

It is still the heart of the village & in the summer, people still gather there regularly in the evening when the temperature drops a little.

Fountains and washhouse: the Moulet fed the two fountains of the Castle (one is thought to have been built by the Templars) and the fountain and communal washhouse (18th century). Men and beasts used to share these water points.


Oaks: Green Oaks, Truffle Oaks,? hairy Oaks; Chestnut trees, Juniper ??genevrier??  constitute a landscape that can be described as Mediterranean. In the spring, enthusiasts can discover no less than 20 different species of orchids.




The Department of the Dordogne, particularly the locally knon as "black Perigord" or ‘Périgord Noir’, possesses the largest number of tourist resources, here are a just a few:

Leisure and culture:

Castles: Beynac, Castelnaud, Milandes, Fenelon, Hautefort, Biron…

??Paintings and ??Crystal Caves: Lascaux II, Les Eyzies, Domme, Rouffignac, Padirac, Proumessac, Font-de-Gaume, Les Combarelles, Maxange

Gardens: Eyrignac, Marqueyssac, Cadiot, the ’garden of the imaginary’ in Terrasson, the exotic garden of La Roque-Gageac…

Theme parks: Bird Park, Prehistoric Park

Museums: Prehistorical Museum at les Eyzies, Museum of Medieval War in Castelnaud, Tobacco Museum in Bergerac

Troglodyte sites: Tursac, Belvès…

Various conservation villages listed as "One of the 100 most beautiful villages of France": Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, St Amant de Coly, St Léon sur Vézère… That is five out of a hundred of these celebrated picturesque villages at short driving distances one from the other, thus making our Domaine the ideal location to visit them!

Bastides: Domme, Montpazier, Villefranche du Périgord, Eymet… They were medieval villages built to optimize trade, a must see.

Crafts: potters, painters, art jewellers, ceramists, basket makers, glassblowers, vitraillistes, sculptors, couteliers…
Cinema: Le Buisson de Cadouin, Sarlat…

Main local Markets: (one is held in a different place everyday from the spring until the autumn) In the towns of St Cyprien, Le Buisson de Cadouin, Le Bugue, Belvès, Sarlat (not to mention the night and gourmet markets). This is the only opportunity to access locally produced fruits & vegetables and also mingle with welcoming locals.


City of art and history - ancient medieval city where is found the largest number of conservation buildings per square mile.

You can visit the birthplace of M. de La Boétie, the Manor de Gisson, the Saint Sacerdos Cathedral, the gardens of Le Plantier, the castle of Temniac, the Place de le Liberté, the Church Sainte Marie, its medieval alleys and its numerous street animations during the summer.


  • Wines of Bergerac, Pécharmant,  Montbazillac, Domme
  • Liqueurs and spirits of the old distilleries
  • Walnuts, Strawberries (Mouthwatering varieties you can get from the market at reasonable prices such as Séraphine, Charlotte & Mara des Bois)
  • Truffles, Mushrooms, Fresh Asparagus
  • Goat Cheese of grandiose quality
  • Foie gras, confits, breasts of duck (for meat eaters)
  • The famous "potatoes to the Sarladaises"
  • The Anchaud of the Périgord
  • The Turin garlic
  • Milla, pies and walnut cakes

Sports and Recreation

Rivers Dordogne, Vézère, Auvézère where one can enjoy activities such as canoeing, swimming, fishing. There is even even a mini-cruise in a Gabarre on the Dordogne in Beynac…

Walks, hiking (trails), mountain biking, horseriding, climbing, tennis, golf in Siorac, route in the trees…

Tourist train with railcar expectancy, stroll in train, calèche…

Hot-air balloon flights, Microlites, Helicopter Tours; all will let you discover all the numerous beautiful stes in a relatively small region from the sky.

Many festivals:  

Fairs, street animations, feast of the scarecrow Meyrals, theatre, concerts, Occitan folk festivals, festivals, empty granaries, brocantes…Plesae consult the tourist office for more information & dates.


Practical information

Train Station: St Cyprien (4 miles)

Airports: Bergerac (34 miles), Brives la Gaillarde (36 miles)

Motorway Acess (Axis Paris-Toulouse): Souillac (30 miles)

Shopping centres: St Cyprien (3.5 miles), Siorac (4 miles), Le Bugue (10 mile), Sarlat (13 miles)

First Aid: Doctors, dentists, vets, pharmacies, ambulance & emergency services can all be found in St Cyprien (3.5 miles)

Hospitals: Sarlat (13 miles), Périgueux (32 miles)

Important Tip Shared by our British visitors: You can ask the NHS to provide you with a European health card for every person planning to visit us. It is free, it can be ordered online and takes less than a week to receive. It ensures that you will only be billed in the shape of an invoice which you have a few weeks to settle, 30% of all medical acts received in France and have 30% instead of 100% of the bill to claim when back in the UK.

To claim a refund, contact:

The Department for Work & Pensions
International Pension Centre
Tyneview Park
Whitley Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1BA.
Tel: 0191 218 1999 (Monday to Friday 08.00-17.00).