Self-catering holiday rentals in the Dordogne Valley. Gîtes and glamping nestled in 12 acres of woodland only 5km away from Sarlat-La-Canéda

Category: Things to do (Page 1 of 4)

Tour de France 2017

Once again the Tour de France will be passing very close by to La Blanquette!

This time it’s even closer – just 5km away through the centre of Sarlat. The last time it came to Sarlat was 1995, and before that in 1987 (above)!

It’s confirmed that July 10th will be a rest day for teams in Perigueux (expect to see training rides in the area!) and that stage 10 will traverse the Dordogne covering 178km on Tuesday 11th July.

A few rumours have been circling but the official route will not be released until some time in June. However the general route has been confirmed to be Perigueux-Montignac-Sarlat-Domme-Bergerac. Wherever the route is it will literally be a few kilometres away. We can’t wait to be there to support!

If you’re visiting with your bikes that week we can securely store them while you’re here; or you can hire our bikes and pedal down to the race!

Stay posted – as soon as we know the confirmed route it will be relayed here!

UPDATE: The detailed route has been officially published.

It will pass very close to La Blanquette, through the centre of Sarlat. It will then head South to Vitrac and cross the river for an exciting climb up to and through (yes through!) the Bastide of Domme.

There will be a Tour de France fan village in Sarlat with many events including local products for tasting and cycle memorabilia for sale. The Tour’s publicity caravan (pre-race parade) will pass through Sarlat just before 1.30pm, and the riders themselves just after 3pm. There will also be a huge 14 metre square big screen to enjoy the race before and after it passes through.

Allez allez allez!

Our Favourite Restaurants

Riverside Dining

Riverside Dining

All of these restaurants are either local (in the Sarlat area or within a very short drive from La Blanquette) or a little further out but well worth a visit. There are many, many great restaurants to be found in the Périgord but these are our particular favourites and the ones we go back to time and time again. French restaurants don’t always accommodate vegetarians and as we have vegetarians in the family we try to find those that have decent non-meaty options!

Further details are available by clicking on the restaurant where you will be taken to their own websites or a directory listing with their contact details.

Local – within about 5km

  1. Maison Dupéliac – (about a 25 minute walk) – New in 2014, we think that this is one of the best restaurants in the area, and it happens to be the nearest to La Blanquette! Great value traditional menu with a contemporary twist by chef Emmanuelle, and always a warm welcome from Catherine on arrival.

  2. Les Arcades – (about a 30 minute walk) – small hotel with newly renovated restaurant and outdoor bar and terrace area. Serves tasty traditional food.

  3. Le Glacier – (Sarlat centre) – nice inexpensive family run restaurant serving local dishes and also great pizzas and salads. We always get a warm welcome from the hosts Carlos, Bruno and Filhelmina

  4. La Petite Borie – (Sarlat centre) – another welcoming family run restaurant serving traditional Périgord fare and the fillet of beef with Sarladaise potatoes are amazing. Not a great menu for vegetarians.

  5. L’instant Delice – (Sarlat centre) – Italian style cooking with several vegetarian pasta options.

  6. Le Vin au 10 – (Sarlat centre) – a lovely wine bar and restaurant serving very good food.

  7. Le Bistrot – (Sarlat centre) – good mixed menu (including vegetarian) offering local dishes as well as other less traditional meals

  8. Le Regent – (Sarlat centre) – lovely food and good service in the heart of medieval Sarlat. Great fillet steak!

  9. Chez Le Gaulois – (Sarlat centre – Rue Tourny) – small restaurant serving simple and delicious rustic food. Specialises in raclette. Generous portions!

  10. Table de Mikey – (Temniac) – small rustic family run pizza and pasta restaurant, very friendly with lots of vegetarian options and good wine selection!

  11. La Grange – (Carsac) – pizzeria and brasserie in Carsac, perfect for Summer evenings after a day cycling the Voie-Verte and opposite a nice local Tabac bar (Le Bichon) with views over Carsac.

Short drive/cycle – up to 25km

  1. Le Roi Carotte – (just outside St-Julien-de-Lampon) – rustic traditional restaurant with a terrace overlooking the kitchen garden and smallholding (which provides the produce for the menu!)

  2. Sawadee – (Cénac-et-St-Julien) – delicious Thai specialities in a friendly unassuming restaurant. Will also cook vegetarian dishes that are not on the menu so always good to ask.

  3. Château de Beynac Restaurant des Remparts – (Beynac) – within the outer walls of this fantastic castle is a great traditional restaurant. The omelettes are delicious and huge!

  4. Pizzeria Des Templiers – (Domme) – lovely pizza restaurant built into the walls of the bastide at Domme. Just inside the main gatehouse :

    Pizzeria des Templiers

    Pizzeria des Templiers

Electric Bike Hire

Electric Bike Hire

Electric Bike Hire

If you would like to explore this beautiful part of France on two wheels but want to take it a little bit easy then our electric bikes are for you!

The bikes charge up on the downhills and then use the energy to give you a boost on the uphill and the flat.

As well as the nearby traffic-free Voie-Verte, there are many stunning routes around the beautiful towns and countryside of this part of France taking in a chateau or two. Or why not head to the banks of the Dordogne for a relaxing picnic in the sunshine. We can advise on routes.

The bike hire rates below include: a helmet, inner tube replacement kit, tool kit, pump and lock. One handlebar bag/a pair of panniers will be provided per group.

If you prefer conventional bikes, check out our standard bike hire here.

Contact for further info!


Electric Bike Hire Half a day (up to 4 hours) €30

Full day €35 (additional days charged at €30 per day)

Packed Lunch

Delicious and fresh packed lunch supplied with your bike. An example lunch consists of (per person): sandwich, piece of fruit, crisps, bar of chocolate and a soft drink. €10 per person

Château de Castelnaud


Having not already done so, as our godson and his brother were visiting we took the opportunity to go to the Château de Castelnaud, a perfect recommendation for younger visitors. Out of season the queues were a lot less busy too!

It’s a great afternoon, especially for younger tourists (and middle-aged boys!) This mediaeval fortress displays the art of warfare in the Middle Ages. There is a private collection of arms and armours inside; outside, you will find reconstructions of war machines, siege catapults all the actual size that the original ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ would have been! It really is a fantastic array of gory instruments of warfare, perfect for our younger students of ‘horrible histories’!

From the ramparts you will see the river winding through the Dordogne valley, and magnificent views of the châteaux of Beynac and Marqueyssac and the medieval village of La Roque-Gageac.

According to the website (which can be found here : Château de Castelnaud) the castle attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year, so we recommend an early visit in the morning or early afternoon (when everyone is lunching!) during the months of July and August. The village has many great restaurants, both on the banks of the Dordogne and half way up the short walk to the castle itself.

Another good idea (as the bridge at Castelnaud is a pickup point for our canoe trips) is to add an extra few hours on to your canoe paddle to visit the castle prior to your collection.

Photoworkshops – Digital Photography Courses in France


Nik recently spent two days on a photography workshop with Ian and Fenella Jackson of Photoworkshops, Aquitaine.

Nik spent her time learning about various aspects of photography to enhance the marketing of La Blanquette on one of their ‘Photography and Photoshop Day Courses for Gîte, Chambre d’Hôte and Hotel Owners

Areas covered by the workshop included a good mix of how to get the most of your camera equipment by learning new technical skills and gaining a deeper understanding of aspects such as exposure, lighting, colour balance, depth of field and perspective as well as learning how to enhance the images following capture.

Each day included visits to local markets and pretty medieval towns nearby in order to put into practice what has been learnt, and also studio time focussing on other useful skills for chambre d’hôte and hotel owners such as food photography.

The workshops are run in Ian and Fenella’s home in the beautiful South West France, (40km from Bergerac, 16km from Eymet – about 1 3/4 hours drive from La Blanquette) and they are wonderful and welcoming hosts.

Photoworkshops run different types and lengths of courses depending on what the student wants to achieve, including a Tour de France workshop, as it routes past their doorstep this year!

For more information visit their website and Facebook page :

Le Tour – La Route 2014!


The route has been announced but still lacks details of the exact roads and towns it passes through.

The great news is – on Friday the 25th July and Saturday 26th July Le Tour revisits the Dordogne department for the first time since 2006! And there will be two stages, a stage 19 finish in Bergerac, and a stage 20 time-trial from Bergerac to Perigueux! This TT (where you will be able to see every competitor ‘contre la montre’ racing against the clock) will most likely determine the eventual winner of the Maillot Jaune and will be an exciting penultimate day of the Tour.

Although stage 19 doesn’t pass the doorstep of La Blanquette the route does pass through Bergerac, which is only just over an hour’s drive away, or three hours relatively flat cycle along the Dordogne!

We are busy working out how we can get to sample the atmosphere at either or both of these stages. Most hotels near the route were booked out last year. Will we cycle or will we drive or get the train? Where will British corner be?! Decisions, decisions!

The exact routes for the two stages will be announced a month or two before the Tour, so we will keep you posted.

Links to Le Tour website : Stage 19 and Stage 20

Market Days in the Dordogne


When visiting the region a trip to a local market is not to be missed. Many regional products are available such as great cheeses and great wines which we can recommend, as well as the more typical Périgordine fare like truffles, walnuts and foie-gras. The markets are bigger in the Summer months but they can get particularly busy with tourists during July and August.

Markets can be found in the area on the following days :

  • Monday : Beynac (Jun-Sep), Les Eyzies (Apr-Oct), Montignac (Jul-Aug), Périgueux
  • Tuesday : Cénac, Le Bugue, Salignac (Apr-Sep), Périgueux
  • Wednesday : Sarlat, Bergerac, Cadouin, Montignac, Périgueux, Siorac, Hautefort, Ste. Nathalene (Jul-Aug)
  • Thursday : Domme, Lalinde, Meyrals (Summer), St Julien de Lampon, Terrasson, Périgueux
  • Friday : Le Buisson, La Roque Gageac (May-Sep), Périgueuex
  • Saturday : Sarlat, Belves, Bergerac, Le Bugue, Montignac, Périguex, Gourdon
  • Sunday : Calviac (Jun-Aug), Carsac (Jun-Sep), Daglan, Marquay (Jul-Aug), Rouffignac, St-Cyprien, St-Genies

Gouffre de Padirac


No, we didn’t know what a ‘gouffre’ was either! However, we were conscious that as residents of Perigord we had not visited any of the amazing caves that can be found in the region. As some friends were visiting late in the season we decided to visit Padirac, as through the Summer the majority of our guests had recommended it as their favourite of the abundant cave sites here.

We headed off to the ‘chasm’ of Padirac which is about an hour’s scenic drive. We were lucky to go late in the season as many of our guests experienced very long queues in the high season.

As can be seen in the picture above, you can take the lift or the stairs deep into the chasm, and then it’s a short underground wander to the next stage which is a boat trip through the underground river! The crystal clear cold waters take you to another section where you then take a guided walk through the amazing caverns further along the river, where the rooftops are covered with spectacular stalactites, and on the floor stalagmites and pools are formed by millions of years of erosion.

There are some steep sections on the short guided walk which some older visitors found tricky. After the walk you return to the boat and are taken back to your starting point.

Outside there are several restaurants and refreshment areas to refuel if you decide to take the stairs back up to the surface instead of the lift!

More details can be found on the Gouffre de Padirac website.

Martel and ‘Le Truffadou’


The picturesque town of Martel is about 45 minutes drive away in the Lot department. It’s an extremely pretty town and has much to offer within it’s compact cobbled centre – restaurants, some pretty bars, shops and boutiques.

One of it’s main attractions however is the ‘Truffadou’ – or the Haut-Quercy Tourist Train!

The station is a short walk from the centre of Martel and tickets are purchased in it’s new “hall voyageurs” where you can also purchase refreshments (however not beer or wine!).

During the years between the two wars the line was used to transport truffles coming from Martel’s market, one of the most important in France. The name of “Truffadou” derives from this time.

The vintage steam train takes you on a there-and-back journey of just under 20km total, stopping at the cliffside viewpoint of Briance, overlooking the Dordogne from between two hill tunnels! There is a small shop organised by the railway at this stop, selling refreshments and small gifts. (However not beer or wine!) It was an extremely hot day when we visited so were glad of a cool drink. On the return journey, the steam and smoke was quite stifling travelling through the tunnels.


Although interesting, we felt the trip was one for those who have a real interest in railways and steam travel in particular, however the views over the Dordogne at Briance were breathtaking.

On returning to Martel, we continued to cool down with a couple of ‘pressions’ at a lovely bar with a terrace on the corner of a pretty cobbled street. Even if you don’t take a trip on the train the town of Martel is a fabulous place to enjoy a few hours walking around and maybe a leisurely lunch.


More information on the “Truffadou” can be found on the Chemin de Fer Touristique du Haut Quercy website.

Bergerac Wine Tours


A little late in the season, but we managed to get ourselves on to one of the last tours of the year, and we were really pleased we were able to do so!

Bergerac Wine Tours pick you up and drop you off at a pre-arranged meeting point and then take you on an informative tour of some of the vineyards and chateaux in the Bergerac region, just over an hour away from La Blanquette. Our host for the day was Alex who is great fun and a really friendly character, and we were joined by two other wine-tourists who happened to be from the West Country back in the UK also!

Our first stop was Chateau Lestevenie, where we had a very informative introduction to grape cultivation from Humphrey the owner and ‘vigneron’! (Humphrey happened to come from Somerset in the West Country also!) We then tried some of their great wines and purchased several bottles including their amazing (and prestigious) Saussignac, a limited edition sweet wine made from the Semillon grape.


For something slightly different we then visited a local chocolatier, ‘Rody Chocolaterie’ to try some of his interesting con-choc-tions! After satisfying our cravings with tasting (and buying!) we then travelled to the hills above Eymet, with stunning views, where Alex and the team provided us with an amazing alfresco lunch (and more wine!)

Afterwards we went to a large Co-Op facility where local, smaller vignerons bring their grapes for wine production. After a more formal guided tasting a few more cases were purchased, including a fabulous sparkling rosé.

Needless to say, everyone was very chatty on the return journey!

We can thoroughly recommend this day out – Christelle, Alex and Jessica are fantastic hosts.

More information can be found at the following websites :

BERGERAC WINE TOURS (also on Twitter : @BergyWineTours)



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