The importance of vines and wine in this south-western part of the Dordogne has even influenced the name given to the area – Purple Périgord .
Here, the appellations are Bergerac, Montravel and Haut-Montravel, Pécharmant, Rosette and Saussignac. It is also the production area of Monbazillac, the famous sweet white wine, a cousin of Sauternes in Bordeaux and Jurançon in Béarn.
The eponymous Château is home to various pieces of ceremonial furniture attesting to the history of Protestantism in the region. You can visit it all year round, and the view from the terrace is superb!
Another historic château is that of Michel de Montaigne. The author of the Essays and Mayor of Bordeaux from 1581 to 1585, he enjoyed looking after his vineyard, which today still produces Bergerac and Montravel wines.
With its half-timbered houses and the very charming banks of the Dordogne River, Bergerac, the capital of Purple Périgord, is well worth a visit.
Also worth seeing is the Maison des Vins de Bergerac, set around the very beautiful Cloître des Recollets. For its instructive wine-tasting visits, it was the winner in the 2005 Best Of Wine Tourism Awards of the “Discovery of the Wine World” category.
Another astonishing place and another beautiful building: the Tobacco Museum. Unique in France, it retraces 3000 years of the history of this hugely important activity in the Guyenne of years gone by.
From the riverbanks of Bergerac, how about taking a boat trip on a gabarre (traditional flat-bottomed boat) during which you will hear all about the long history of boats which sailed down the river as far as the Port de la Lune*, loaded with walnuts, truffles and barrels of wine.
*The port of Bordeaux is thus named for its crescent moon shape