A French market town
Discover an effortlessly gorgeous French market town in the heart of the Dordogne that relishes its proximity to Bordeaux, yet offers something altogether more laid-back. Bergerac has no fewer than 12 recognised wine appellations to its name, not to mention a tobacco industry that still thrives to this day.
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Bergerac’s bustling food markets are superior even by French standards. The Friday farmers’ market at the Place de la Madeleine is where locals go to do their weekly food shop, and Place Doublet’s organic Tuesday market is a good bet for gastronomic souvenirs. The Old Town has a few select boutiques hidden away down back alleys, as well as some fascinating craft stores – Arts Terres (24 rue Neuve d'Argenson) is a highly browsable collection of pottery and ceramics that’s certainly worth a look in. For a more modern shopping experience, you’ll need to head out to a hypermarket such as E-Leclerc (Route de Bordeaux) or Carrefour (Route de Castillon).
Food & Drink
Foie gras, duck conserve, walnuts and truffles are all Bergerac specialities. You can watch these ingredients being prepared at La Table du Marché (21 place Louis de la Bardonnie), a delectable bistro with an open kitchen. Le Repaire de Savinien (15 rue Mounet-Sully), near the Notre Dame church, is one of the city’s classiest restaurants, serving traditionally French cuisine based around seasonal ingredients. Le Vin’Quatre (14 rue Saint-Clar) offers modern combinations at wallet-friendly prices, while La Flambée (49 avenue Marceau-Feyry) specialises in fresh fish prepared to perfection. If you’re craving pasta and pizza, then La Mama (Place Malbec) is an informal Italian that’s excellent value for money.
Mai des Arts
This spring celebration of the arts encompasses street theatre, dance and staged shows as well as a series of exhibitions. Professionals and amateurs showcase their work in Bergerac’s historic centre during a day-long exposition, which gives members of the public the chance to meet and talk to their favourite artists.
Les Tables de Roxane et Cyrano
During this weekend gastronomic festival, the historic centre of Bergerac is taken over by a lively food market. Mingle with restaurateurs, producers and winegrowers while enjoying a programme of free live music.
Les Mercredis du Jazz
Every Wednesday during the summer months, Bergerac’s Place de la Myrpe hosts a concert featuring local jazz artists. Classical, manouche and contemporary styles are all well represented.
Festival L’été Musical
Bergerac’s long-running summer music festival brings together musical talent from almost every genre. A cappella singers join jazz artists, classical orchestras and funk bands in a series of performances that take place around the Old Town.
Issigeac Medieval Day
The pretty little town of Issigeac, just outside Bergerac, celebrates its medieval heritage with a day of historical entertainment. Expect traditional costumes, street theatre, live performances and displays of medieval crafts, music and arts.
The elegant Renaissance city of Bergerac is the wine capital of the Dordogne region, and many of the best hotels here have vineyard views. Château Les Farcies Du Pech (Les Farcies Nord) overlooks the Pécharmant vineyards and combines oodles of traditional charm with B&B prices. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, however, then restored period townhouse Maison d'Hôtes Le Clos d'Argenson (99 rue Neuve d'Argenson) is located in the city centre and has its own pool, billiard room and library. A cheap and cheerful option is the Ibis Budget Bergerac (ZI La Cavaille Nord Route de Bordeaux), a 10-minute journey from the centre of Bergerac.