Le Beau Ciel Gite

Nearby Towns & Villages

Eymet

Eymet is an unspoilt rural town perfect for lovers of architecture and history alike. In a region with a reputation for gastronomy, offering fine wines, country produce, and other culinary delights.   Eymet is situated on the river Dropt, in the southern part of the Perigord and the western region of the “Bastide Country”. The area offers a multitude of things for nature lovers, lovers of fine wine and food and those who want to soak in the atmosphere of the old buildings and history.   An area faithful to its roots; the countryside fashioned by man since ancient times. The calm and tranquillity invites you take a stroll and discover the rich heritage. Eymet itself, with its 750 year-old keep which dominates the red roofs of the bastide, is the economic heart of the area. It combines all the amenities of the modern world with the charms of the past.

Marmande

Marmande was a bastide founded about 1195 on the site of a more ancient town by Richard Cœur de Lion, who granted it a liberal measure of self-government. Its position on the banks of the Garonne made it an important place of toll. It soon passed into the hands of the counts of Toulouse, and was three times besieged and taken during the Albigensian Crusade, its capture by Amaury de Montfort in 1219 being followed by a massacre of the inhabitants. It was united to the French crown under Louis IX. A short occupation by the English in 1447, an unsuccessful siege by Henry IV in 1577 and its resistance of a month to a division of Wellington’s army in 1814 are some important events in its subsequent history. Apart from the administrative offices, the most notable building is the church of Notre-Dame, which dates from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The windows of the nave, the altarpiece of the 18th century, and in particular, the Renaissance cloister adjoining the south side, are some of its most interesting features.

Bergerac

Bergerac is found on the northern bank of the Dordogne River, in the western part of the Dordogne department. It is one of the largest, most important towns in the region and a visit is highly recommended. The highlight of a trip to Bergerac is the old town, the area immediately north of the river, follow the signs to ‘vieille ville’ or just walk straight up from the main riverside car park. This part of the town has some lovely streets and squares to explore, and a good selection of boutiques.  The main square, Place Pelissiere, slopes gently upwards from the river area. At the top is the lovely St Jacques church which formed part of the Saint Jacques de Compostella pilgrimage. Much of it was destroyed in the Wars of Religion but its attractive bell-tower and balcony are original. Next to the church is one of Bergerac’s statues of Cyrano de Bergerac… although much is made of the ‘Cyrano connection’ the reality is that there is almost no connection at all between the town and the famous character. At the lower end of Place Pelissiere is a fountain where locals once did their washing and all around the square are lots of cafes. It is a superb spot to stop and have lunch.  At the top of the square take a look at the houses of Rue St James. These not only house some lovely shops but there is an excellent 14th century building and no 26 has some odd sculptures set into its walls.  There is another square nearby, the Place de la Mirpe, which has another of Cyrano de Bergerac’s statues and lots of trees making this a lovely shady spot in the height of summer. Take time to admire the buildings around the edge of the square. Many of them are really lovely.  Wandering around Bergerac there are many attractive, medieval, half-timbered buildings, there are some particularly good examples on La rue Saint Clar many of which have the upper storey overhanging slightly the lower part of the building.
There are several other restaurants scattered around in ‘old-town’ Bergerac among the attractive medieval half-timbered streets, and some open-air cafes where you can pass a pleasant hour or two people-watching, before taking a stroll along the banks of the Dordogne River.  Nearby, the Recollets convent is a beautiful building built in 1630. It has a lovely inner courtyard surrounded by wooden galleries. In the summer it is a lovely spot sometimes used for concerts and near to Christmas there is a Christmas fair here. Throughout the year it is linked to the Maison des Vins de Bergerac. There is an excellent exhibition of the 13 wine appellations of Bergerac. Wine tasting is available and there is an interactive display where you can amuse yourself identifying the various smells in a glass of wine.  Also not to be missed in Bergerac is the National Tobacco Museum. This is situated in the Maison Peyrarede which is one of Bergerac‘s most impressive buildings. It was built in 1604 and has one of those lovely corner turrets that you occasionally see on buildings in this area, and Renaissance mullion windows. Louis XIII spent a night in this privately owned hotel. The Tobacco museum includes an impressive display of pipes and retraces 3000 years of history. Tobacco is still an important crop in the region, and you will probably see the bright green broad leaves of the tobacco plant as you tour around.  Another museum is the National Wine and River Navigation Museum, two activities which led to the wealth of Bergerac. Up from the old town, there is a newer, more modern centre to Bergerac, with more conventional streets and a larger range of ‘modern’ shops.  The market, held on a Saturday, is at the upper end of the town and sprawls over a large number of the side streets. It is one of the largest and most colourful markets in the Dordogne, and is the best day to visit Bergerac.  When you have explored Bergerac you can take an organised boat trip up the river (start from the car-park at the bottom end of the old-town) to see the town and the nearby countryside from a different perspective.

Issegiac

Issigeac is on a site occupied since the 6th century by a monastery (and with prehistoric habitations much earlier still), the Issigeac that we can see today dates largely from the 13th-16th centuries. Firstly property of the Lords of Bergerac, then later the Bishops of Sarlat, the town had a tumultuous middle ages, with much involvement and damage during the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion. Until a few years ago Issigeac was one of the great undiscovered villages of the Dordogne region – truly a village that time forgot. That is no longer the case, and the weekly market (Sunday morning) now attracts very many people, but the village has retained a great deal of its charm despite the arrival of tourism – and outside high season for tourists, the village is still very much a sleepy quiet little town.  Issigeac lacks a central focus, but is rather a warren of medieval houses and streets to be explored at your leisure, admiring the details on the houses, and the numerous half-timbered properties.  There are grander buildings – the Chateau of the Eveques of Sarlat at the bottom of the village (also now houses the Issigeac tourist office) is a very impressive stone building – largely a 17th century reconstruction of the earlier chateau that stood here and was damaged during the wars that ravaged the region. Likewise the (almost adjacent) gothic church of Saint Felicien and the fine Maison des Dimes (high-roofed stone house opposite the entrance to the office de tourism).  But it is the medieval houses and streets, half-timbered and often with raised balconies, that are the great pleasure of exploring Issigeac. One particular highlight is the house ‘Maison des Tètes’ where 600 year old carved wooden heads adorn the outside of the building (follow the ‘main street’ straight up from the church – the house is at the point where the road turns to the right). Peer into the beautiful but derelict courtyard of this house with its garden and raised balconies – this was once the town dyeing workshop, where dyes and tints were added to local cloth. There are a couple of small bars, estate agents and shops in the town but otherwise not a great deal in the way of facilities. The Sunday market, although open all year, is of a completely different character during the summer months, when it takes over the town. In winter it is often just a handful of stalls. The Issigeac market is a popular place to buy and try many of the delicacies produced in the region.  A visit to Issigeac is highly recommended!

Duras

Duras is typically French and unspoilt, it has a weekly street market with stalls selling colourful local produce.  There are shops for everything with pavement bars in the square and an ancient chateau with a fascinating museum of French life in the past.  Throughout the summer season there are many events that take place such as the Duras wine festival, an antique fair and a spectacular firework extravaganza set to music with the chateau as its backdrop.  All around are family run vineyards, where you can visit to taste and buy their wines.