Whether you want to plan a quality evening for your partner and children or you’re in the midst of organising a huge family gathering - here’s how to plan a memorable get together in France:Read More
Filtering by Tag: Dordogne
I’ll never tire of time spent with family, breathing in the fresh Dordogne air, surrounded by the stunning natural sights of the region and with a spread of local dishes in front of us to devour! What more could you want? If you’ve been dreaming of doing the same, here’s a look at where you can settle down and do just that. The perfect way to spend a weekend at one of our properties:
Picnic at La Roque Gageac
Pack the wicker baskets and slather on the sunscreen for a lazy afternoon at this stunning family picnic spot. Just across the river from the village of La Roque Gagaec, park under the trees in the nearby orchard and set yourself down by the river. If you want to make the most of it, pack some colouring pencils and sketchbooks and challenge any young artists to capture the views.
Picnic at Castelnaud
Look across to the imposing Château Castelnaud and imagine the medieval drama which will have taken place in its surroundings. The picnic spot at Castelnaud is located in the grounds of the Walnut Museum. Follow signs to the castle and continue up the steep, winding road to the museum.
Picking one favourite is just too tricky, but you’ll find plenty of charming street cafes in which to spend hours amid the medieval architecture and relaxed French atmosphere. Take a walk through Sarlat, Domme, or Bergerac and look out for the tables and chairs signalling a quiet spot for al-fresco dining.
Château des Milandes
The beautiful gardens of Château des Milandes are another beautiful place to picnic in peace. Take in the calming scent of the lavender borders or sit beneath the shade of the yew trees. The Château is also known for its kids’ workshops, previously offering sessions in falconry, exotic bird feeding, and how to be a Muskateer!
Picnic at Cingle De Trémolat
Another lovely green spot to picnic is situated in the woods overlooking Cingle de Trémolat. There’s something about the vast French countryside that invigorates the soul! Pick a Tuesday if you wish to stock up on fresh nibbles from Cingle de Trémolat on the way.
Michelin-starred dining at La Tour des Vents
For awe-inspiring views of the Monbazillac vineyards (and amazing food) head to La Tour des Vents. Located on the highest point of Bergerac’s southern hills, you are in for a treat here as you enjoy the panoramic landscapes which stretch for miles and miles. There’s a children’s menu too, so little ones needn’t miss out on the chance to play eye spy out in the sunshine.
Just 10 minutes from our La Verger property, the postcard perfect surroundings of Château Monbazillac are an ideal place to have a family picnic. If you did want to soak up some history while you’re there, you can take a guided tour or explore the castle at your own pace. Wine lovers will be particularly impressed with the Château’s wine cellar featuring a wall of 6,000 bottles of Monbazillac!
Eating at your Villa
We’ve ensured that each of our properties are a tranquil home-from-home in wonderful surroundings - designed for loafing (and lunching) in peace with the people you love. Whether you decide to gorge on fresh fruit by the pool or cook a family feast together and enjoy it on the patio – our villas and cottages are the perfect base to have a stay where you do nothing but delight in food, glorious food.
Hands-up who thought luxury went out the window when children came along? Nappy stops, grubby tops, crumbs everywhere… day-to-day glamour might be out the window most of the time, but I’m a big believer that we can still enjoy grown-up luxury post-babies. And a luxury French escape is the perfect way to experience it – even with the kids along for the ride. Here’s how…
Pick your accommodation wisely
Get your accommodation right and you’ll up level your holiday experience from day one! I get such a thrill from stepping foot in a beautiful family holiday villa (yes, even if it’s our own – we adore them even after numerous stays!). Attention to detail is crucial; elegant colour palettes, sumptuous furnishings, artistic flair. We take pride in making every French Loaf property an aesthetic gem yet a home away from home. Plus, each of our French family villas is stocked to provide everything you’ll need to ensure big and little kids are comfortable and safe. No need to pack an extra suitcase for all the baby equipment; the right property allows you to travel light – a luxury in itself!
Fine dine, alfresco
I think missing out on all those fine dining experiences you enjoy pre-child has to be up on the parenthood ‘cons’ for most couples. Though we think luxury dining experiences don’t need to be reserved for adults-only. Treat the whole family to fine dining on holiday (maybe pack some in meal entertainment just in case?) and enjoy the fun of traditional cuisine and new wines! Worried about the noise of young ones amongst the more distinguished crowd? Take a seat outside. Here you can enjoy the views of rural French landscapes or historic city quirks, and expect your children to be a little calmer out in the open air. If they’re not? Being outdoors among the background noise of birdsong or street bustle, you’ll feel slightly less pressure to shush them!
If a fancy-pants restaurant doesn’t appeal, there’s always a decadent family picnic to try. Explore the stunning scenery of Dordogne, pop down a cashmere throw, and settle down with a fresh French loaf and accoutrements.
Treat yourself to the extras
A holiday is a perfect excuse to treat yourself to the luxuries you toy over back home. Remove the pressures of the daily grind and book yourself a team of professionals to cater to your families’ whims. At French Loaf, we know how hard you work outside of your holiday periods, which means we want you to feel completely indulged and rewarded on your stay with us – it doesn’t matter if you’re booking a weekend break or a week-long holiday. You can spoil yourself with everything from a ready-filled fridge (hurray, for no dreaded ‘food shop’) or personal chef, to in-villa beauty treatments and housekeeping.
Enjoy the luxury of quiet
Peace. It’s such a luxury as a parent, isn’t it? Of course, a family holiday isn’t complete without the clamber of sweaty headed children and the squeals of swimming pool escapades… but sometimes, silence is bliss! And it shouldn’t be limited to post-bedtime hours. Enjoy the luxury of quiet by booking professional childcare (which we can connect you with) to use how you wish. Stay home and lounge around the pool while they’re entertained indoors or head off for a leisurely lunch with your partner. Yes, luxury can be achieved with little ones in tow – but isn’t it marvellous when we get a little grown-up luxury time too?
The Dordogne may be awash with enchanting historic towns and picturesque château, but for those who’ve yet to shed their childlike sense of adventure - it’s all about the great outdoors! Here’s a look at the regions finest thrill-seeking spots, ideal for when you want a break from lazy days loafing:
Balloon flights over Périgord
Described as the ‘most beautiful village in France’ by Raymond Poincaré (the 58th Prime Minister of France), Périgord is a spectacular cliff top village surrounded by giant oak trees, the glistening Dordogne river, and thriving vineyards. So, what better way to soak up the views than from above, where you can see Périgord in full glory?
Canoe rides through the Vézère Valley
Glide upon the waters and uncover the beauty of the river Vézère which joins the river Dordogne in Limeuil. Canoe rides here flow leisurely through the Périgord region so explorers can admire ‘The Valley of Mankind’ (La Vallée de l’Homme) which features overhanging cliffside chateaux and is a tranquil way to step back in time (while satisfying any need to keep active).
Explore La Grotte de Villars
Nothing beats the awe that lights up little faces as you uncover a mesmerising natural treasure like La Grotte de Villars. These prehistoric caves are packed with stalactites, stalagmites, gourdes and draperies. And they’re also home to authentic cave paintings dating back to more than 19,000 years ago.
Treetop acrobatics in Route de Périgueux
Clip on a harness and take to the treetops, if you’re feeling brave enough. The Périgord region has several sky-high forest adventures to choose from. Expect rope bridges, zip-lines, and Tarzan jumps to test the agility and daring of the whole family. And if you’re feeling especially brave, there’s the Airparc Périgord which is the only adventure course in the area to cross over the water.
Historic boat rides down La Roque-Gageac
Adventurous in spirit but not feeling the urge to swing from the treetops? (No judgment here). Consider a ride upon the historic Gabares. These replica flat-bottomed boats have been created in the style of the ships used since the Middle Ages on the River Dordogne. Loaf in the open air as you’re taken on an hour-long guided tour.
Natural waterslides at Monceaux Sur Dordogne
Not many families holidaying in Dordogne will discover the unique opportunities that await at Monceaux Sur Dordogne – the region’s natural outdoor waterslides! This rather damp, but unforgettable, day out will take you on a waterfall adventure across forest streams and up and down cascades. Life-jackets and safety helmets are provided (and compulsory) but it’s not an activity for little ones, or the faint hearted.
Bergerac Aqua Park
Expect a chorus of cheers when you suggest an afternoon at the water park local to our properties. Bergerac Aqua Park is located on the route towards Bordeaux, near the big Leclerc. It covers 2 hectares of land and has pools, slides, plenty of space to sunbathe, as well as ping pong and beach volley facilities. If the children are old enough to venture off on their own, there’s a jacuzzi for the grown-ups too.
The Prehistoric Park
Situated in the heart of the Vezere Valley, this park aims to recreate scenes of prehistoric life. Walk around this outdoor museum and you’ll find scenes depicting both Neanderthal living and examples of how our direct ancestors – Cro-Magnon man would have lived. The park offers a kid’s booklet with prehistoric puzzles to solve as they walk round but if that’s not their thing, there’s plenty of space to simply roam through the woodland looking out for prehistoric creatures.
Dordogne valley rambling
Get lost off the beaten tracks as you uncover Dordogne on foot (with a picnic safely packed on back, of course). The region has many different rambling trails to try. Pass by everything from medieval ruins and prehistoric caves to tranquil woodland glens, and delight in the simple joys of watching your kids running wild amid nature. It’s what family holidays in France are made for.
If you thought our French holiday home rentals were suited purely to those who want a lazy break away, think again. While I relish the chance to escape and do nothing much but soak up the sunshine, what I love about the Dordogne is there’s so much to uncover! No matter how ready-to-relax we’re feeling, it’s hard to resist a venture to take in the historic charm of the region. Here’s a look at the gems worth considering on your trip:
Bergerac Old Town
Situated on the northern bank of Dordogne River, look out for the signs for ‘Vieille Ville’ if you want to discover the old town of Bergerac. Here you will find both the 12th Century Old Cloister, Maison de Vins de Bergerac (home to the Bergerac wine exhibition!) and the half-timbered Medieval designs on Rue St Clar. Each ready to take you straight back to a time long gone.
If walking through the Medieval street warrens of Bergerac isn’t your thing, make sure you seek out the beauty of Monpazier. This stunning French town was founded by Edward I in 1284; Monpazier is home to a mix of Medieval, Classical, and Bourgeoise architecture and has a historic market hall complete with the original weighing and measuring equipment used on it's establishment. Step inside and vividly imagine the olden hustle and bustle, order a coffee and watch the world go by.
Hanging Gardens Of Jardins De Marqueyssac
Chateau de Marqueyssac was built in the 17th century at Vezac, Dordogne. But it wasn’t until the 1860’s that new owner, Julien de Cervel, chose to plant and carve thousands of boxwood trees – creating an eccentric landscape of rounded hedges. History books say the garden lost its appeal during the centuries (read: lost its attentive gardeners!) and it wasn’t until the 90s it was restored with a water feature. It is simply stunning and a must for any green fingered enthusiasts.
13th Century Hilltop Domme
History buffs and avid ramblers, make a point of visiting the enchanting fortified town of Domme with its cliffside promenade and breath-taking views across the Dordogne valley. You’ll also find a 17th century covered market hall and historic wall carvings at the gate towers. An interesting spot for history-reluctant youngsters who love graffiti at home!
More ancient wall art can be found at the famous Lascaux caves. These Palaeolithic cave paintings are thought to be around 20,000 years old. Featuring large animals once found in the Dordogne region. A true bucket list visit.
Château de Bridoire
Located in the heart of the vineyards of Monbazillac, Château de Bridoire is 12 km south of Bergerac and only 20 minutes from our beautiful La Verger villa. The château is open for visitors in which you can wander the historic furnished receptions rooms, preserved kitchens (complete with gleaming copper pans) and vast living room with knights in armour! In the château’s garden, discover the medieval games which both children and grown-ups will love. Or immerse yourself in the labyrinth forest, a two-hour walk with puzzles and conundrums along the way – a favourite spot my boys never tire of.
Nestled at the foot of a ragged cliff, picturesque La Roque-Gageac looks like a model village from a far. Arguably one of the most beautiful villages in France, you’ll be able to capture postcard perfect holiday snaps as you stroll the line of golden yellow houses upon the river. One of the best ways to see this town is by boat or canoe. A brilliant family day out and if you take a picnic you can stop along the way and enjoy the views. Look up the cliffside and see the troglodyte fort if you want to go further back in time!
Issigeac is another medieval highlight. Always particularly popular on a Sunday morning, this village hosts one of the best markets in the area, especially for fresh produce. So take your wicker baskets! In July and August, there is also a Marché nocturne (their fabulous night market) held every Thursday from 7pm. And if that’s not enough, Issigeac is home to the Foire aux Paniers et à la Vannerie (a willow weaving festival held in July, where you can buy baskets, gorgeous ornaments, and plants for the garden) and Medieval Day (August) a parade where locals dress in medieval clothing and entertain the crowds with the likes of jugglers and street theatre.
Château de Castelnaud
Find a spot to perch and take in the grandeur of Château de Castelnaud, Dordogne’s most famous Chateau. If you’ve got the kids in tow, they’ll love to pretend they’re Knights & Crusaders as you march around the defences and see the replica trebuchets which are often in demonstration firing various items from cabbages to balls.
Another glorious stop-off just a few kilometres north of the River Dordogne is Sarlat-la-Canéda (or just Sarlat if you’re a local). Wander the winding Rue des Consuls, pass the south-eastern Cathedral, and enjoy the Place de Payrou. Time your visit nicely and there’s no better spot for a breakfast coffee; as early morning sunshine hits the yellow sandstone buildings expect to see the town at its finest. It’s the perfect illustration of Dordogne’s enchanting history – and a great example of why we love it here!