Day Trips, Cycling, Mountain Biking & Walking In The Dordogne

EXCIDEUIL

Excideuil - our local town - is full of charm with an attractive town square and a castle dating back to the 12th century. The castle, high on a rocky promontory, repelled Richard the Lionheart on three different occasions & is well worth a visit.

Every Thursday there is a bustling market in the town - one of the busiest in the region. There are plenty of places to stop for lunch or coffee at any time where you can relax & watch French life go by...

 

TOURTOIRAC & THE GROTTES

Tourtoirac is a pretty village on the edge of the river Auvezere where there are plenty of picnic spots on the banks of the river. This area has been inhabited since pre-historic times and inside the abbey is a small museum containing tools and weapons that have been found during excavations in the village.

Close to the village are the Grottes de Tourtoirac which were only discovered in 1995 and opened in 2010. Inside are an excellent collection of stalagmites and stalactites illuminated to reveal their beauty. The grotte also contains the quite rare tiny twisted stalactites known as excentriques.

 

HAUTEFORT

40km east of Périgueux, Hautefort has one of the most prestigious châteaux in Dordogne and indeed South-West France.

Overlooking the Auvézère Valley and Hautefort village it is a truly grand chateau with two wings each terminating in a round tower. The chateau is surrounded by impressive French style formal gardens.

The Chateau de Hautefort contains an impressive collection of 17th century paintings and tapestries.

 

BRANTOME

Sometimes known as the Venice of the Dordogne - 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 Benedictine Abbey on the river's edge is superb along with the old stone bridge, weir and pretty mill now turned into a splendid hotel and restaurant.

The Church of Saint Pierre is also worth admiring, with certain parts dating back to the 15th century (especially part of the cloisters) as is the bridge that crosses the river, and provides a good vantage point to admire the town.

Canoes can be hired at Brantome for a relaxing glide along the river (a favourite with adults and children). Brantôme market day is Friday.

 

ST JEAN DE COLE

St Jean de Cole has been officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France (les plus beaux villages de France). A charming village with ochre coloured half-timbered houses and lovely tiled roofs. The river Cole runs along one edge of the town and you can stop and admire it from the lovely little humpbacked bridge or the small river beach below.

The village square is flanked on one side by the XVth century Chateau de la Marthonie and on the other side by the Romanesque Byzantine church of St Jean Baptist built in the XIIth century and with a quite unusual rounded shape.

Why not sit and enjoy the view over a cup of coffee at the café in the square. A good time to visit the village is during the weekend closest to the 8 May when they hold their annual flower fair. More than a hundred exhibitors display and sell their products and the mass of plants and flowers against the backdrop of this beautiful village is not to be missed.

 

MONTIGNAC

This very pretty village on the Vézère River is most famous for being home to the Lascaux Caves (and Lascaux II caves). The Lascaux Caves really are worth a visit, the paintings are absolutely fabulous.

As well as the caves Montignac itself is well worth a visit. At at the end of July the town is host to the Festival of Folklore de Montignac.

The nearby villages of Saint Amand de Coly and Saint Leon sur Vezere are two of France's classified most beautiful villages and the charming Chateau de Losse is just 5 km away.

 

PERIGUEUX

Perigueux - the 'capital' of the Dordogne is set towards the north of the region. Many miles from the Dordogne River, it is actually found on the Isle River.

The rich history of the city has certainly left its mark. From Roman times, you can see the Vesone Tower and the remains of the amphitheatre, and the Chateau Barrière dates from the early middle ages. Saint-Etienne church (once a cathedral) dates largely from the 16th century when it was reconstructed, although parts of the earlier church on the same site can still be seen.

 

JUMILHAC

Just beyond Thiviers, you will find the delightful fairy tale castle of Chateau de Jumilhac.

Jumilhac is found in a picturesque setting very suited to the castle.
The especially noteworthy feature here is the roofs - an extravaganza of towers and turrets that has led Jumilhac to be described as having the most romantic roofs in France. The myriad of turrets are then further enhanced by splendid ironwork and lead creations.

The interior of the building follows much the same romantic theme, and features some ornately decorated rooms.

 

THIVIERS

Thiviers is a pretty, active town that has seemingly remained unchanged with the passing years. Above all, Thiviers prides itself on its local speciality - foie gras - and the other local products such as walnuts and truffles.

Indeed the town prides itself on being the 'Capital of the foie gras in Green Perigord'. To learn more visit the museum in the town dedicated to foie gras production. The museum is next to the tourist office on the edge of the towns main square - the Place Marechal Foch.

Thiviers has a lively market which takes place on a Saturday morning

 

Here we are only able to give you a taster of the wonderful towns & villages to visit. A little further afield you will find the beautiful towns of SARLAT, Les Eyzies, La Roque Gageac and Le Bugue – all worth a visit and all within 1hr 30mins of Le Tilleul...

Family Activities.

There are also no end of activities for people of all ages and all abilities in the area. Here are some of the most popular:

Canoeing:

Tourtoirac – Vert Auvezere Tél : 05 53 52 72 90. Abseiling and Caving also offered.

Brantome – Brantome Canoes Tel : 05 53 05 77 24. Also abseiling and ‘Stand-up’ Paddle !

Cycling:

Dordogne Cycle Hire ! contact Anna and Mike at Le Tilleuil

Velo-rail. The velo-rail is an old railway line where you can hire a pedal-car and pedal along the tracks….

Horse-riding:

Tourtoirac Angies Ranch. Angie takes hacks out in the local countryside – you’ll often hear them come past the house! Lempzours

Hippocamp A bit further away (30mins), great horses and ponies, and beautiful woodland hacks.

Plan d’eau:

Lake beach Nantheuil (20km) Ideal for families with smaller children – it tends not to get busy till after lunch, so good for a quiet paddle or a swim!

Rouffiac (30km) Base de loisirs de Rouffiac A bigger lake beach with water sports etc.

A bit further afield you’ll find La Roque Gageac where you can take a trip down the Dordogne river oin one of the flat bottom 'Gabare' boats.

At LE BUGUE

You’ll find the Jacqou Parc d’Attractions – a large theme park with rides, water slides etc.

The Village de Bournat a 1900 theme parc complete with original fairground rides and the large Aquarium (good for a rainy day as it’s mostly undercover). The Aquarium and the Village de Bournat are next door to each other, so can easily be visited in a day – they also border the river, where are some lovely picnic areas.

Restaurants

The local specialities are foie gras, duck, walnuts and goose – so not an area for light cuisine, but all types of delicious food can be found if you know where to look!

An endless choice – to name but a few

Tourtoirac

Le Relais d’Ans – typical French local menu, and pizzas.

Le Bistro de Passage – snacks and daily menu. Closed on Mondays

Excideuil

Kafe Kitsch Breakfast crumpets, coffee and light lunches.

Le Rustic Extensive menu and pizza with large outdoor seating area.

La Hostellerie Fin Chapon. A variety of menus from light meals to four course ‘a la carte’.

 

Many more possibilities exist in Thiviers, Brantome, St Jean de Cole, Montignac and Perigueux. We are happy to advise as best we can – vegetarian eating places a speciality!