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 2 of 4)

Jardins d’Eau


Located in Saint Rome, just outside Carsac, in the direction of Gourdon (it’s well signposted) are the pretty Water Gardens.

The gardens slope down towards the Dordogne and we visited on a very hot day, fortunately the gardens are quite compact so not too much walking down and up hill was involved in the heat!

The gardens consist of many beautifully linked pools and ponds, some artificially created but all containing some amazing specimens of flora and fauna. The colours on show were breathtaking, and photographs do not do them justice!

Dogs are admitted on leads, and the whippets were particularly interested in the frogs and tadpoles that were abundant in the water!

There is a small gift shop where thankfully cold drinks were available. A short walk outside you can access the Dordogne itself so the hounds were able to have a dip and cool off too! The gardens didn’t take a great amount of time to visit so can be paired with an excursion elsewhere.

More details can be found on the Jardins d’Eau website.

Les Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac


All the signposts to the gardens from Sarlat take you via the pretty hilltop town of Salignac, however on the return journey we found it is a lot closer to La Blanquette through the local village of Sainte Nathalene!

The gardens occupy a hillside South West of Salignac, with a walking route around the outside of the Manoir’s gardens as well as a ‘curated’ pamphlet route through the beautiful gardens adjacent to the Manoir itself. We took the dogs, and this time did the walking route inside the main grounds and plan to do the longer route on our next visit. Dogs are admitted on leads inside the main gardens.

The curated route takes you through the various themed gardens of the 17th Century Manoir, including some fantastic topiary, a kitchen garden and our favourite, the flower garden of beautiful and colourfully striking wild sown blooms.

The Manoir itself is also a beautifully presented building with a tiny chapel and other annexes/outbuildings. Very few of the buildings can be viewed inside though as the owners still occupy the property. One of the refreshing things we noted was that the owner, Patrick Sermadiras De Pouzols De Lile, actually includes his mobile phone number in the garden’s literature if you have any questions or suggestions!

There is a gift shop and also a very nice restaurant with a terrace that looks out over one section of the gardens.

More details (and some better photos!) can be found on the Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac website.

Château des Milandes


Although we visited on a drizzly day, we really enjoyed spending a morning here. This 15th century château can be found just outside Castelnaud on the Southern side of the Dordogne. It is a very well kept château but it’s draw is that it was rented and subsequently owned by Josephine Baker, the famous American dancer who took Paris by storm in the early 20th century.

The castle dedicates itself to the history of her life, which was a very adventurous one – celebrated dancer, society girl, secret agent, civil rights activist and eventually bankrupted by her love of the chateau.

The grounds have stunning gardens and there is also a bird show daily. There is also a nice brasserie in the outbuildings. However the life of Ms Baker is the real attraction with many of her costumes on show as well as the story of her renovations of the estate and her amazing life.

More information on opening times and tariffs can be found on the Château des Milandes website.

Visit to Bordeaux and UBB Rugby


Having family and friends that have played for or supported Gloucester Rugby Club, we were excited to find out that Union Bordeaux Bègles Rugby were hosting them in an Amlin Challenge Cup European fixture, so we decided to meet up with family from home and attend the match.

It also gave us the opportunity to spend more time in a city that where have only before spent time in transit at the airport or the station. It’s about a three hour train journey to Bordeaux from us or a two hour drive. Its airport also has great connections within Europe and further afield. Outside of Bergerac or Brive it is the next most convenient airport for visitors to the Dordogne.

Bordeaux’s centre is very pretty with grand squares such as the Place de la Bourse close to Pont de Pierre, and we stayed a few kilometres South of there near the Gare de St Jean. It was then a pretty, leisurely walk along the left bank of the river towards the city centre.

We spent some time enjoying the shopping and also over a couple of days had some very good meals in a few of the many restaurants you can find on the main streets or down the side alleys. There was a great atmosphere in the evenings in the city and we found some very good bars ranging from the quaint and cosy Cafe Brun (with live music) through to ‘Le Frog et Rosbif’ where unsurprisingly we bumped into many Gloucester supporters.

The UBB Rugby Stadium was conveniently located a few minutes walk from one of Bordeaux’s efficient tram services (note: there is also a City Cycle scheme with cycle stations all over). The club had a very welcoming atmosphere, Gloucester came out eventual winners and we enjoyed chatting and enjoying a beer with Bordeaux fans and Cherry and Whites alike until the last tram took us back to the hotel!

We look forward to revisiting Bordeaux and exploring more of the city and its bars and restaurants, and it is worth spending an extra night or two if you are travelling through it to enjoy one of France’s largest cities.




About an hour’s leisurely drive from La Blanquette stands the imposing cliff-face village of Rocamadour. The buildings of Rocamadour rise in tiers up the side of a steep gorge running between rocky walls raching over 400 feet in height. Flights of steps ascend from the lower levels to the churches, a group of massive buildings half-way up the cliff, the most notable of which is Notre Dame with its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This time of year we found the the village basking in the low level sun, the majority of the buildings positioned on the south facing side of the cliff. Then on exploring the lower part of the village we found houses that appeared to be almost in constant shade, shadowed by the other side of the gorge even at midday. This gave the lower village an eerie feel as we then climbed back up to the warm sunlit centre with its churches and monuments. The steps zigzag up between the different levels of Rocamadour, also taking you through tunnels past the ‘chapelles’ and on to the more open ‘chemin’ which again zigzags its way up to the prominent clifftop château which was built to protect and preserve the sacred treasures of Rocamadour below it.

There are plenty of small boutiques, cafes and restaurants to enjoy when visiting. Our recommendation is to park at l’Hospitalet (which is also home to the Grotte des Merveilles) and enjoy the panoramic view of Rocamadour from one of the restaurants or the viewpoint there, then to follow the ‘Voie Santé’ down the hill and into the village to explore further, returning either by ascending to the Château and walking back to l’Hospitalet or along the Voie Santé once more.

From La Blanquette there is a beautiful circular road route to reach Rocamadour via Payrac, through the Ouysse valley; then return via Lacave (with its Grotte and another clifftop château) and then along the Dordogne back through Souillac.

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Le Tour – 2013


The route for next year’s tour has been announced and we’re already looking forward to the race which starts on June 29th in Corsica. Since the announcement of the route a lot has happened… everyone was wondering (and now it appears confirmed) whether Chris Froome will lead the Sky team with the current champion Wiggo taking a supporting role, Cav has left team Sky and seven years of Tour results have been wiped from the history books following the Lance Armstrong ban.

Unlike this year where we had a great day in Souillac watching stage 18, unfortunately next year the route is not coming that close to La Blanquette. The nearest stage will be stage 7 on July 5th with a finish at Albi (about 200km away). However we would still love to host cycling fans who may be travelling en-route to enjoy the stages in the South of France or simply over here enjoying the atmosphere in the land of Le Tour.

If you are a cycling fan looking for accommodation during the period of the Tour from 29th June to 21st July next year we are offering a special discount – 10% on all our rates. If you would like B&B, gite accommodation or even a stay in one of our luxurious glamping tents, when making your enquiry or booking simply mention ‘Wiggo – Le Patron du Peloton!’ and you will receive a 10% discount when making the final payment for your stay!

(If you’re bringing your bike we have secure storage for when you’re not on the road)

For more information on the 2013 Tour stages, visit the TdF website.

St Cyprien on Market Day


Sundays are market day in pretty Saint Cyprien, a picturesque town nestled on the hillside that slopes down to the Dordogne valley. The market stretches along the high street from the Mairie to just below the imposing ‘Eglise Abbatiale’ or Abbey-style church.

Unfortunately the day was a little rainy when we visited (as can be seen from the photo!) but there were still plenty of stalls of interest. Surprisingly there were a good selection of seafood stalls selling oysters and mussels as well as vendors selling traditional Périgordine fare.

St Cyprien is on the main route between Sarlat and Bergerac and is about a 30 minute drive from La Blanquette.



Walking/Cross-Country Cycle Trails (Randonnées) are abundant in the area, and there are many accessible only a few minutes from La Blanquette. There are some national GR trails (Grande Randonnée) such as the GR6 and GR64A within a short walk or cycle which have some amazing sights (such as the castle above in Carlux, dating from the 1200s, right on the GR6 trail). Also there are some lesser known trails and circuits (‘boucles’) in the Dordogne valley which provide many beautiful surprises along the way.

The trails are very well signed in the area, local trails with yellow or green capped posts and signs or the national GR routes with the red and white waymarkers. This makes them very easy to follow, even without a map (although one is recommended!)

There are of course our own short woodland walks as well – exploring the old stone dwellings, flora and fauna of La Blanquette.


La Roque Gageac


Just South of Sarlat past Vitrac on the banks of the Dordogne is the beautiful village of La Roque Gageac.

At the foot of a south-facing cliff, on a good day basked in sunshine, the creamy stone houses with their “lauze” stone slab or brown-tiled roofs are mirrored in the waters of the River Dordogne. The Westward drive towards La Roque Gageac really is breathtaking.

As you approach you can’t miss the troglodytic fort built in the cliff face that overlooks exotic gardens and the park. There are many small boutiques, restaurants and cafes, as well as the famous ‘Gabarre’ boat tours which can be taken from the quayside.

There are many short ‘boucles’ or walking tours around small cobbled paths of the village to enjoy all it has to offer, or it’s nice just to relax in one of the pavement cafes and watch the world go by. A visit to the village should not be missed.

Sarlat Rugby


With the relegation of C.A.Brive last season from the French Top 14 the nearest top-flight rugby teams are now Bordeaux, Toulouse or Agen, sadly all are about two hours drive away.

However, locally the Sarlat team (CASPN – Club  Athlétique  Sarlat  Périgord  Noir) are doing very well, and were promoted last season to Federale 2 in the French Rugby Federation and are consolidating their position very well in the top half of the table.

The stadium (Stade de Madrazes) is very close to La Blanquette, a few minutes drive or about 45 minutes walk and is on our side of the town. Home games are generally played on a Sunday, and adult tickets are about 7 Euros. It’s 2 Euros for a beer from the bar underneath the main stand.

There’s always a good family atmosphere at the matches and at the game we watched today the hosts beat Angouleme (who are currently the league leaders), it was a great effort by the Sarlat team.

More information and news on fixtures can be found on the rugby club’s website : CASPN

Allez Sarlat!

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