Bergerac (Dordogne), France August 2020 (Tour 3)

The drive from La Roque-Gageac to Bergerac was via a series of back roads through the gently rolling hills of the Dordogne countryside. It took us past a mix of vineyards and large fields of sunflowers and we arrived at Bergerac within 2 hours even allowing for a stop at a Leclerc supermarket for essentials – By ‘essentials’ I mean yet more Cremant for Vanya. She seems determined to try them all.

With a population of around 25,000 Bergerac is quite a large town by local standards but it is compact and easily explored on foot. The old town is delightful with its jumble of winding cobbled streets and timber framed houses some dating back to the 14th century.

My first thoughts as I entered Bergerac were not about the bridge (as Vanya would have you believe) but of Savinien “Cyrano de Bergerac” and I was keen to learn more about him. The fact is that while the town has adopted Cyrano (there are two statues here commemorating him), he grew up near Paris on an estate named after Bergerac and, so far as anyone can tell, he never visited Bergerac itself. The town adopted him in the late 19th century some time after Edmund Rostand’s play of the same name was run. Of his two statues, the one on Place Pelissiere is my favourite.

Also on and around Place Pelissiere is a huge selection of outdoor cafes and restaurants but the most significant building is the Church of St Jacques. Part of the church was built in 11th century but, after being damaged in the religious wars, it was largely rebuilt some 300 years later. I took a quick look inside but didn’t see anything of real interest. The most interesting part of the building is outside – a wooden perch high up on the steeple for the bell-ringers.

I cannot finish this short blog without writing a little about the local food and wine. We ate that evening at a small creperie in Bergerac, La Blanche Hermine, and it was the best galette ever. It was filled with ham, cheese, mushrooms and goodness knows what else and it was super. I would eat it again any day of the week. As for the wine, Bergerac is one of relatively few areas that produce similar quantities of red and white wines but my favourites from this area are the reds and I wasn’t disappointed on this occasion. I’ll certainly be taking a supply back to the UK (assuming Vanya leaves any room in the back of the Van).

We’ll stay here for a day or two but Vanya is already talking about a Cremant de Bordeaux. Any guesses as to where we’ll be heading next?

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