This is a stunning area of France, nestled in the North East side of the Dordogne, in the Perigord Vert region. That means it has fantastic warm sunny summers, without the dry, barren brown grass of the more southern regions of the Dordogne. Think ‘comfy picnics’, not sharp dry spikey grass stubs to sit on!
The house is near Jumilhac Le Grand, a small town with a truly stunning chateau…
The Jumilhac Chateau is open for tours in the afternoons. The seasonal opening times are on the door. In all honesty, the best views are from the outside, and possibly inside up until the point of paying!
We can thoroughly recommend the restaurant overlooking this chateau (to the right of this photo). You can sit and enjoy the view and a 3 course lunch for only 13 Euros.
Driving around the area is a joy, exploring the apple fields and valleys.
10 minutes from the gite, this gold panning tour is a great afternoon out with the kids. You get into the river and will probably come home with some gold (small flakes). Ask in the Jumilhac Tourist Office (on the square) to book.
St Yrieix La Perche (which is just across the border into Haute-Vienne department in the Limousin region) is a larger town nearby which has all the amenities you might want, from supermarkets, cafes, pubs, to many restaurants, to functional amenities like the tourist information office (which is useful) and hospital (which hopefully you will never need!)
St Yrieix has a large and beautiful medieval quarter which you will enjoy strolling around, as well as some interesting shops.
The area is known for its porcelain, so there are quite a few porcelain shops. There is also a porcelain village – a museum of the area’s history of porcelain.
In St Yrieix there is also a decent sized water park/pool to entertain the kids (and larger ones!) here.
In the summer months (July and August), St Yrieix holds a farmers market “Marche Nocturne”, where you can buy local produce and have it cooked for you. See also below “Segur le Chateau”. Both are nice; Segur is a slightly more idyllic setting.
North of the Gite
To the north of the Gite is Limoges. This is the nearest city with all the amenities of a city, including shops and nightlife.
Limoges city centre is worth a visit and a stroll around. The shops are good and the old section is beautiful. For other ideas and places to go in LImoges try here.
To the west of Limoges is Oradour Sur Glane.
Before you visit Oradour Sur Glane, it would be sensible to read up on the history starting here. You may decide it is not appropriate if you have younger people with you, because it is quite hard hitting and moving, but an interesting historical visit nonetheless.
30 minutes north-west of the gite is the Velo-Rail Bussiere Galant, which is a great day-out activity.
You cycle on a cart along an old disused railway line. We strongly recommend paying the approx. 4 Euros extra for electric-assisted carts! Details here.
If your family might like a day out at the zoo, the Pac Reynou might be worth and day out. Details here. About 30 minutes north of the gite.
South of the Gite
20 minutes south-east of the gite is Segur Le Chateau, a beautiful French village with a fantastic summer tradition of the outdoors Farmers Market.
Each Monday evening in July and August the village of Segur le Chateau hold a local Farmers Market with a difference. Next to the winding river and in the dappled shade you can buy meat and produce directly from the farmer, and eat it onsite. Once you have bought your venison steak, Ribeye, sausages etc, you take it to the communal village barbeque where one of the local men will cook it to your taste. There is also local wines and beer on sale. The children entertain themselves either in the river or on the bouncy castle. A very pleasant evening; thoroughly recommended.
1 hour south-west of the gite is the stunning village of Brantome.
Brantome is a stunning village, worth a visit. You can take the river cruise trip (the cruise boat is just visible in this photo above) for a few hours up and down the river. Or you can go for the canoeing option…
If you are going to canoe, we advise you book before the day, because they do get busy. There are 2 companies here and here. With either, you should book, and decide if you want to do the short or longer trip. If you have young or older people, or if you want a more relaxed trip, go with the shorter trip!
30 minutes south of the gite is the Hautefort Chateau, another stunning old French castle, brimming with history.
… Which has these beautiful gardens…
2 hours south of the gite is a great day-out combo including Rocamadour village and the monkey santuary “La Foret Des Singes” (website here), and you might squeeze in Padirac.
The caves and gondola ride of the Gouffre de Padirac are stunning. Their website is here. Imagine going down 200 metres underground (down steps or elevator lift if you prefer) and then going on this gondola ride, with a guided tour explaining it all…
About a 50 minute drive south from the farmhouse is the Grotte de Lascaux – the Lascaux cave – map here.
This is where, 17,000 years ago, your ancestors painted the cave with ancient art, of the animals they used and revered. It is a fascinating day out if you or any of your kids are into history or caveman times. It is quite exciting and well worth a visit. More information here.
While you are taking a day out at Lascaux, you might as well take a stroll around the pretty town of Montignac as well.
1 hour south of the gite, Perigueux town is beautiful. If you are travelling through either Bergerac or Bordeaux airport, if you can, it is worth taking a detour to visit Perigueux…