The Region

 

 As an Independent Property Finder my search area covers Southern Dordogne and the Northern part of Lot et Garonne – an area within a 50km radius of the ancient city of Bergerac. When moving to France, it is the French lifestyle that attracts most of us – beautiful unspoilt countryside, lots of sunshine, good food, excellent wine and more leisure time – all these things are available in abundance in this area!
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This region, known as Aquitaine, is one of the most beautiful areas of France with the green rolling countryside of the Lot in the south with its sunflower fields and fruit farms, the deep forests and dramatic limestone gorges through which the Dordogne river flows, in the East near Sarlat and Beynac, and the endless vineyards that cloak the hillsides around Bergerac, as far as the eye can see. This is one of the foremost wine-producing areas of France, Bergerac, Duras, Cahors, St. Emilion, Buzet and Bordeaux further to the West – these are just some of the  wonderful wines produced in this region and it is one of the many advantages for wine-lovers who choose to buy in this part of France!

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Aquitaine benefits from more than 2,000 hours of sunshine a year which not only helps to ripen the grapes in the vineyards, but the sunny climate is a vital factor in supporting the arable farms on the fertile soils of the Lot et Garonne. This truly is the “fruit basket” of France and when you visit any of the traditional weekly markets in the local towns, you will see a mouth-watering display of fruit and vegetables which is testimony to this. Along with the cheeses, the honey, the prunes, the strawberries the duck, goose, and Foie gras there are many regional delicacies to tempt you. The cuisine is very varied here and there is an emphasis and a pride in using fresh, locally produced ingredients. It makes cooking a pleasure and very easy to do, but if you don’t want to cook there is a wide choice of good restaurants to suit all pockets.

 

It is an area that offers something for everyone, a huge variety of landscapes an incredible variety of nature and wildlife, perfect for walking and cycling and enjoying the open air pursuits. Sport and leisure is a very important part of French life and every commune has a wide choice of sporting activities all the year round. If you have an interest in golf there is also a good choice of golf courses, for example Chateau Vigier, has an excellent course wonderfully located in the grounds of a beautiful chateau, with an excellent restaurant which you can enjoy at any time!

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However, there is also no shortage of culture in this area, it is a region steeped in history – the department of The Perigord is said to be ‘the land of a thousand and one Chateaux’ and wherever you turn there are fascinating Mediaeval or Renaissance Chateaux which are truly breathtaking, Montbazillac, Chateau Biron, Chateau Hautefort to name just a few. The many wonderful medieval bastide towns and villages of the Perigord are really worth a visit, such as Issigeac and Montpazier. Wandering through the narrow streets, with their ancient houses of golden, sun-kissed stone, with red pan-tiled roofs, so typical of this area, there are endless opportunities to discover the colourful history and architecture – which is why this area of France is home to so many artists.

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Music is very much part of the French culture and there are music concerts to enjoy all the year round to suit all tastes, Jazz, Rock, classical and in Bordeaux there is an annual programme of internationally renowned artists and ballets performed in the impressive Bordeaux Opera House. During the summer months many of the Jazz and Music Festivals are performed outside in the evenings often in the amazing surroundings of one of the ancient chateaux or on the banks of the river Dordogne on the quay of Bergerac.

 

You can also see the very latest films at cinemas in Castillonés, Miramont and Bergerac, as the French are very keen cinema-goers. Although only small local cinemas they show many films only weeks after being premiered in Paris or UK and many English films are shown to appeal to the growing number of English-speaking residents.

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If you are seeking the hustle and bustle of city life then Bergerac, Bordeaux, Perigueux and Marmande offer all the range of facilities that you might need, with hypermarkets, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres – all these cities are within 50km of Bergerac.

 

The area is also highly accessible the international airports at Bergerac, Limoges, Bordeaux  and Toulouse have regular international and UK flights all the year round with the budget airlines Ryan Air and Flybe. The motor-way and rail links are excellent with TGV access available.

 

The climate is a vital factor when choosing the right place to live and Aquitaine benefits from a  lovely  sunny climate. Spring comes early, in March and the warmer summer temperatures continue often right through to September/ October with average temperatures 26°C – 28°C in July/August, dropping to 9° or 10°C in January or February. Yes, we do have rain, but that is why we enjoy the green rolling countryside around us and the wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables that we can eat everyday of the year.  Even on the cold winter days you can benefit from warm sunshine over the midday period, we have had lunch sitting in the garden in December! Here in Southern Dordogne you avoid the fierce heat of the Languedoc and Provence, and the long, biting cold winters that are common in central France and the Alpine regions, the climate is varied, and you can enjoy the many colours of the changing seasons. This is hardly a scientific view, but since moving to France in 2005 there rarely seems to be a day when we haven’t seen some sunshine.

 

sunshinehoursBut if you are a person who needs statistics look at Click here there you will find all the information you need.  Or better still why don’t you come over and see for your self?

 

 

There are so many beautiful properties on the market in this area and many of them are in a lovely, quiet rural location, but this is not an area that is isolated or that closes down in the winter. It is a region full of thriving small market towns, and villages, they are dynamic growing, communities, offering commercial and social facilities all the year round and this may be one of the many reasons it is becoming a very popular area for overseas buyers seeking a property in France.