For those who like to plan a visit, here is a sample of local attractions. There are brochures of these and more provided in each of the Gites. Some are open throughout the year but many have a restricted season of spring to autumn. The early months from April onwards usually provide pleasantly sunny weather for such visits.
The area boasts many places of interest, both to the locality and on a national scale. Archaeological sites compete with spectacular chateaux and a broad variety of ornamental gardens, each one markedly different from the next.
Prices for entrance to each are modest. Some offer guided tours while others allow exploration at your own pace with an information sheet/audio guide (both in English if required) to assist your visit.
Within daily travelling distance is the UNESCO World Heritage site Vallée de la Vézère with numerous prehistoric sites and caves near Les Eyzies.
- Lascaux II is an authentic reproduction cave with cave paintings which in the original (public access is not permitted) date from 15,000BC. Visit www.semitour.com
- Grotte de Villars is a natural rock formation with some of the most beautiful stalagtites and stalagmites. Visit www.grotte-villars.com
- La Roque St Christopheis a Middle Age cliff town built in the naturally occurring Abri or lateral recesses in the rock face. Visit www.roque-st-christophe.com
It is almost impossible to travel in the area without passing a chateau and many are open to the public and have an interesting history to disclose. Here is just a sample of those worthy of a viewing:
- Jumilhac Le Grand is probably the closest to ROUFFIAGUET and dates, in part, from the XIII Century. As well as daytime tours, an evening tour by candle light is offered, with the guides dressed in period costume. There are 2 pleasant short walks adjacent to the chateau. Visit www.best-of-perigord.tm.fr
- Pompadour is an elegant chateau in a central location within the charming town of the same name. As stated above, it is the home of the National Stud and its grounds are in the form of a race course and show jumping ground. There are often events organised for the equestrian fraternity. Visit www.pompadour.net
- Hautefort is probabLy the most spectacular of chateaux dating from the XVII century and includes parkland and formal gardens high above the picturesque village around its perimeter. Visit www.chateau-hautefort.com or www.best-of-perigord.tm.fr
Others of interest are Coussac-Bonneval (XII century), Excideuill (X century), Bourdeilles feudal fortress,Castelnaud feudal castle (XII century) with a museum of War in the Middle Ages, and Cammarque where the ruins of a village lay hidden by vegetation for 350 years. There is also some evidence of troglodyte dwellings in the rocks around this chateau.
Many of the Chateaux, as indicated above, have fine gardens of various types and all well worth a stroll around to supplement the visit. In addition, gardens form the centre of attraction at numerous locations and may provide inspiration for any keen gardeners searching for a different approach. Of particular note are:
- Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac which offer lovely walkways through spectacularly precise clipped hedges and more. Visit www.eyrignac.com
- Jardins de L’Imaginaire with architectural and water features to surprise and delight. Visit www.ot-terrasson.com
- Jardins de Marqueyssac which is perched on a hill top with a viewing platform and lovely shady walks through trimmed box hedges. Visit www.marqueyssac.com
And if the above isn’t enough, there are any number of other places of interest, such as the beautiful Medieval village of Segur-le-Chateau near Pompadour, St Jean de Cole which is en-route to Bourdeilles and Brantome(itself worth a visit situated on an island linked by five bridges), the truffel museum at Sorges and the velo-rail atCornac sur L’Isle.
Some of you will no doubt find that ROUFFIAGUET and the immediate area have all you need and that the time between meals is taken up with strolls to the lake, short drives to discover the local markets, valleys, quaint villages, reading in the shade or lounging by the pool. How many of these locations you will actually find time to visit remains to be seen, as it is amazing how relaxed you become after some sunshine in the tranquillity of the countryside! You will just have to come again to pick a few more off the list!