Out and About: Towns & Villages
Beaumont is a small town approximately 18 kilometres from Le Mas. It has a large church that is worth visiting as part of a tour of surrounding churches and abbeys (along with Montferand, St. Avit Riviere, Cadouin and Belves). It has a supermarket and a petrol station. The town has an excellent ironmongers on the narrow road straight from the village square (in case you need emergency supplies).
Markets are held in the Place Centrale in Beaumont on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Beaumont is also home to Chez Popaul, Les Voyageurs (see the food section).
Belves is approximately 12 kilometres from Le Mas. It is a beautiful town perched on a hilltop and quite distinct from other surrounding towns with its beautiful faded ochre colours and turrets, perhaps more reminiscent of town in Umbria. We particularly like the view as you drive into Belves from the Monpazier direction.
Belves has a supermarket, a selection of bread shops and butchers, several small bars, a weekly market (held on Saturday) and an outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts.
On the main road below Belves, on the junction with the back road to Domme, is a very good restaurant – Auberge de la Nauze.
Cadouin is a valley village about 14 kilometres from Le Mas. Cadouin is famous for its cloistered medieval Abbey which was home for many years to one of the shrouds of Christ. The main square has a couple of bars with outdoor seating and in another adjoining square there are a number of interesting galleries and atelier.
Just south of Monpazier, on the road to Villereal, is Chateau Biron. Biron was the home of Pierre de Gontaut, Lord of Biron. He was an ally of Edward 1, King of England and Duke of Aquitaine, the founder of Monpazier.
We strongly recommend you visit this beautiful chateau that sits in a stunning location. If you want to enter the chateau you may want to call in advance to check opening times, otherwise you can just turn up to wander around outside.
There is also a good cafe just outside the chateau’s high walls.
Domme is a stunning walled medieval town located on top of a steep hill overlooking the Dordogne valley and the mighty Dordogne River. On a clear day the views are breathtaking. During the summer time it is full of tourists but don’t let that put you off visiting this special French town, especially if you combine it with lunch at L’Esplanade (see the food section) which is situated on the cliff edge with fantastic views from its terrace. Be sure to eat outside if the weather is good or ask for a window table if not.
Issigeac is a pretty medieval town on our preferred route to Bergerac via Villereal. The square and church are worth a visit and the Sunday market is highly recommended.
Les Eyzies is home to some of the most significant archaeological finds (see the history section). It is an attractive, if a little too touristy, village at the foot of sheer cliffs. There is a Michelin rosetted restaurant here – which we have yet to visit!
Not far from here is the wonderful Chateau de Commarque. Another must see!
Monflanquin is a hilltop bastide town on the way to Villeneuve-sur-Lot. It has a fine central square which is unusually set on a slope.
Montferand du Perigord
A rural medieval hamlet on a hillside off the road between Beaumont and Cadouin. Lovely but very quiet with no shops, cafes or bars.
There is a very pretty little Roman chapel about a kilometre from the top of the road through the hamlet… Well worth a visit!
Known simply as Sarlat, this lovely Renaissance town grew up around a Benedictine abbey founded in the 9th century. Caught between French and English territory, it was almost left in ruins during the Hundred Years War and again during the Wars of Religion. Despite this. Sarlat retains a distinctive medieval flavour with its honey-coloured sandstone buildings and enticing streets. On Saturdays there is an excellent market. Depending on the season, foie gras, mushrooms, truffles, wonderful vegetables, breads and other delicious fayre are traded among a racket and press of vendors and visitors. Sarlat is definitely worth a visit. If you want to avoid the crowds, it best to go during the week, to catch the market and get a parking place…. go early. A good lunch afterwards at the L’Esplanade in Domme is thoroughly recommended.
A few kilometres north west of Sarlat is Chateau du Puymartin.
Our most convenient supermarket is the Carrefour in Siorac. There is also a pharmacy and two nine-hole golf courses!
Villereal is, along with Monpazier, one of the best preserved bastide towns in the regions. It is an attractive town and worth a stop for coffee if you are traveling south. There is a good restaurant, La Moderne and an excellent cheese and wine shop next door.It also has a larger supermarket (Intermarche) than Monpazier, Belves or Beaumont on the Castillones Road out of town plus a good DIY store next to it.