Things to see and do in Bergerac, France

  • City Breaks
  • France
  • 5 min read
Things to see and do in Bergerac, France

Discover beautiful architecture and sumptuous wines in one of the Dordogne’s most picturesque towns.

If you have a nose for wine, art and history, you must visit Bergerac, capital of the Périgord Pourpre region in the delightful Dordogne, one of the most perennially popular areas of France. Let us guide you round the town made famous by the lovelorn literary hero Cyrano de Bergerac.

There are plenty of things to do in Bergerac, from unique museums to wine tours. It is also an ideal base to explore the surrounding region, full of beautiful vineyards, rolling hills and idyllic riverside villages.

Driving to Bergerac from Calais

It is around a nine hour drive (including tolls) from LeShuttle's Calais Terminal to Bergerac, via Rouen, Le Mans and Poitiers. 

Five half-timbered old houses with coloured shuttered windows and chimneys with a cloudy blue sky above.

Visit Bergerac Old Town

Your starting point is the old bridge, or ‘Vieux Pont’.

Wander over the bridge, turn left and in a few steps you will find yourself in the old town or ‘Vieille ville’, the medieval heart of Bergerac. Cafés, restaurants, fountains, statues and all manner of shops and boutiques populate this charming enclave of narrow cobbled streets.

Place Pelissiere

The main town square, Place Pelissiere, is a lovely spot to sip a coffee or have a bite to eat. Watch the world go by at one of the open-air cafés that line the square, next to Saint-Jacques church and one of the statues of Cyrano de Bergerac.

St. Jacques church and bell tower

Saint-Jacques is the Romanesque church on the Place Pelissiere. Originally dating from the 12th century, it is notable for being one of the churches on the Way of Saint James (‘the Camino’), the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. It was the town church of Bergerac until the larger Eglise Notre Dame was built in 1865. 

Colourful blue and white garlands hang between old buildings as people stroll down a pedestrianized street in Bergerac France.

Place de la Myrpe

A short stroll downhill from the Place Pelissiere and you will come to the pretty Place de la Myrpe. Of all the half-timbered houses for which Bergerac is renowned, there is one in this square which is the most photographed. Away from the bustle (everything’s relative) of the Place Pelissiere, this is a tranquil little spot to grab some shade, especially in summer.

The Tobacco Museum

You don’t need to be a smoker to enjoy a visit to the Musée du Tabac. Housed in another of Bergerac’s most historic buildings, the Château Henri IV, the tobacco museum provides a fascinating insight into the history of global tobacco production, as well as its impact on society, politics, economics, art and culture.

The collections include rare artefacts, telling the story of the Dordogne’s links to the tobacco crop, and also has a machine that sculpts pipe bowls. The Musée du Tabac has reduced opening hours over the winter months, and is closed on Mondays.

Le Cloître des Récollets

Nestled within another square off the atmospheric old town’s streets is the Le Cloître des Récollets, or Récollets Cloister. This series of brick and timber monastic buildings are worth a visit in themselves, but there is an added bonus in that they are now home to the Maison des Vins (Wine Museum).

Here you can learn about the 13 appellations that make up Bergerac wine, guess the wine flavours in a special sensory space and, of course, taste a few varieties at the ‘vinothèque’. We think the monks would approve! 

A classic French chateau stands at the end of a wide drive, flanked by rows of purple and yellow flowers. Cloudless blue sky.

Château de Monbazillac

For those with a taste for wine and architecture there are further delights just a few minutes drive south from Bergerac. The Château de Monbazillac is a 16th century castle in the Renaissance style, enjoying sweeping views across the fertile Dordogne valley and featuring some finely decorated rooms and artworks.

It is probably for its sweet dessert wines that the Monbazillac region is best known, and there is a treat in the basement of the Château with an extensive wine cellar, small museum and wine tasting room. The castle is open to the public but check seasonal opening times.

Statues of Cyrano de Bergerac

Thanks to the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand, and countless portrayals on stage and screen, Cyrano de Bergerac has become world famous. A soldier poet, Cyrano uses his lyrical gifts to woo the beautiful Roxane for his friend Christian, but with tragic consequences.

Even though the real-life novelist and playwright Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac is never thought to have visited Bergerac, the locals don’t seem to mind. There are two statues of Cyrano de Bergerac in the town, one in the Place de la Myrpe and a later, more photo worthy one in the Place Pelissiere.

Statue of soldier with large nose, holding his hat, looking upward in front of buildings, one of which is a ‘Foie Gras’ shop.

Lac de Pombonne

The Pombonne Lake is one of the town’s best kept secrets. Situated in the north east of the modern part of Bergerac, the lake is perfect for a dip on a hot day, and there is also a small beach and lakeside restaurant. You’ll really feel like a Bergerac local if you spend an afternoon here.

Gabares de Bergerac

Bergerac is on the banks of the Dordogne and the river has played an important part in the history of the town. A river cruise in one of the traditional flat bottomed boats or ‘gabares’ is a relaxing way of seeing the town and surrounding countryside. Audio guides highlight interesting facts about the sights and wildlife you will pass as you meander slowly down the river on your 50-minute trip. The gabares leave from the small jetty by the ‘Vieux Pont’. 

Visit the vineyards of Bergerac

The Bergerac region is noted for its wines, and there are numerous wine tours available. Whether booking an organised private tour or calling in spontaneously at a vineyard, you will be guaranteed a warm welcome at any of the wonderful wineries in the area. You will soon become an expert in the sweet dessert wines of Monbazillac and Saussignac and the elegant reds of Pecharmant. Get some tips on French wine tasting.

Rows and rows of vines stretching out as far as the horizon, against a beautiful sunset.

Explore Bergerac with LeShuttle

It is easy to be seduced by the charms of Bergerac. And it’s even easier to get you to France on LeShuttle via a 35 minute crossing from Folkestone to Calais - book your tickets today.

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