Are you planning to travel from Bordeaux to The Halcyon Golf and Spa Retreat? If you decide to drive direct, the journey is beautiful with scenic countryside to admire and will take you around three and a half hours. If you have some more time on your hands and fancy making a sight-seeing road trip of the journey, there are some fantastic places to stop at and visit along the way.
Here, we have put together a suggested itinerary with an overnight stop off midway so that you can take your time and make the most of your journey.
1st Stop – 50 minutes drive
A little town small enough to explore on foot in just a few hours, Saint Émilion, is a UNESCO world heritage site dating back 2000 years. Explore this walled town with steep and narrow streets, beautiful buildings and many open squares. There is also a monolithic church to visit, a cave to explore where a famous hermit once resided and an underground pottery museum containing pottery from 2000 years ago!
2nd Stop – 1-hour drive
Take a stroll through the old town, and you’ll be greeted with cobbled streets and medieval architecture. We recommend taking a trip to the Musée de la Ville, where you will learn some of the town’s history and be invited to sample some of the region’s wine.
3rd Stop – 15 minutes
Château de Monbazillac
If you take a short 15-minute detour out of Bergerac to visit 16th-century castle Monbazillac, it will be worth it. Its mix of medieval defensive fortifications and renaissance splendour make it unique.
What makes it even more unique, though, is that it is set amongst the renowned vineyard of the same name and affords stunning views across the Dordogne Valley. Take a tour of the entire castle and finish the afternoon with a complimentary wine tasting.
Finish your day back in Bergerac at one of its many boutique hotels so that you can relax and prepare for day two of your road trip…
4th Stop – 52 minutes
Start your morning by exploring the vibrant historic city of Périgeaux, capital of the Dordogne region, with its extensive Roman Remains and its majestic cathedral that sits atop a hill.
We recommend a trip to the Vesunna Museum, a museum of both art and archaeology. You’ll be invited to see the ruins of a Roman-Gallo house and learn all about the Roman period of this location’s rich history.
5th Stop – 30 minutes
Classed as one of “Les Plux Beaux Détours” – (most beautiful detours) in France, Brantôme is a small island encircled by the river Dronne.
Visit the Benedictine Abbey on the water’s edge, supposedly founded in 769 by Charlemagne. Behind it, you can explore a series of caves in which the monks settled during the 8th century that are intricately carved with religious depictions. Finally, meander along the pathway beside the old stone bridge, and you’ll come across the weir and a pretty mill that is now a gorgeous little hotel and restaurant.
The “Grand Jardín des Moines” is also to visit, which initially belonged to the Abbey but are now beautifully preserved public gardens.
If you have the weather for it, take a walk along the edge of the river, or you could even hire canoes to explore the area with a relaxing glide along the water.
6th Stop – 45 minutes drive
Château de Jumilhac
Featured in our previous blog (Land of a thousand lakes and castles), Château de Jumilhac is not to be missed. Parts of this castle date back to the 12th century, but many have been destroyed and rebuilt during its history. One of its most exciting owners was the first count of Jumilhac, an alchemist, something that was forbidden during the time. You’ll find many clues to the count’s interest, including ornate angels carved into the roof and chimneys that most probably were used as part of the alchemist’s oven.
The last leg of the journey is a car ride of around 1 hour 20 minutes of rolling countryside and greenery.
Turn up the music and enjoy the scenic roads before you reach our resort to enjoy the rest of your holiday!
These are just a few of the many wonderful places to be explored on your trip to France. We’ll be posting more travel suggestions in the future so that you never have to miss an experience.