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Constant

Dordogne, France

Bergerac - A town walk walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

From the parking on the Rue Garrigat, walk towards the end of the old river bridge and continue along the Rue Hyppolyte Taine. In less than 100m turn right into the Rue Ancien Pont, immediately among very old buildings, many with features such as timber framing. Crossing to right and left are the Rue du Château and then Rue des Rois de France.

Next is a charming little square with fountain and palms, followed by the Maison Peyrarède, an elegant building of 1603 which houses the highly recommended tobacco museum.

1) After the Place du Feu, bear left to the Place du Dr. Cayla, quite a focal point in the old town. Bear right, turn right and then left to walk up the Rue des Fontaines, rising to the newer part of Bergerac, soon reaching the side of the covered market. Outdoor markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday. The open area, Place Louis de Labardonnie, beside the market hall, is only a part of the huge outdoor market; stalls surround also the Notre Dame Church on the far side. Although some of the buildings are obviously quite old, we are now very much in the modern shopping area, with attractive pedestrianised streets to the north and east of the market hall. This is a fine place to wander, with plenty of refreshment opportunities. Go straight on, the market on your left, and then turn right into the Rue du Mourier, a shopping street, then left into the Rue du Colonel Chadois.

2) Leave this area to the right, either along Rue Bourbarroud or the main Rue de Résistance. Both soon reach the main square, Place de la République, on either side of the impressive ‘Tribunal’ building. The vast square is well provided with trees, a bandstand and a fountain; unfortunately it is also well-provided with car parking and busy roads which do detract from its attraction for visitors.

3) From the fountain, start the return by heading along Rue de Résistance, to the right of the Tribunal building. You can’t fail to notice the shopping road has lost somewhat of its former elegance.

4) Reach the Eglise Notre Dame, a 19th century Gothic structure. Inside, there are two above average paintings in the east chapel and an Aubusson tapestry in the west chapel. For a small détour, follow the road on the right of the church to come into the Rue Sainte Cathérine, an old shopping street. Return to the church front, cross the road in front of it and go straight ahead along the Grand Rue, initially part of the pedestrianised shopping area, but soon heading back into the old town.

5) At the bottom of the Grand Rue is the church of St. Jacques. Approaching the church, to the left is the Rue St. Jâmes with half-timbered houses of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The compact church was a staging post on the well known pilgrims’ route to Santiago del Compostella in Northern Spain.

6) Beside the church is the top end of Place Pélissière, an attractive space created by the demolition of old (slum?) houses, now descending in terraces planted with shrubs and flowers. Here are many café/bars and restaurants open only in tourist season. To the right is the Costi Museum housed in a building with walls constructed of tiny hand-made bricks. Pass a fountain, then one of the seven former town water mills, with water still surging below. Carry on to the Place Dr. A. Cayla (again). In front of you you see a Protestant temple.

7) To the right is probably the prettiest part of the old town, Place de la Mirpe. A statue of Cyrano de Bergerac (who had little, if anything, to do with the town) looks over an array of small, all different, ancient houses which, collectively, form a stunning picture. At the far end, in a most beautiful building, the Town Museum of Bergerac has distinct sections, including barrel making and river boats. Just behind it, towards the river, there is an open air exhibit about the town water mills.

8) Return to the Place Dr. A. Cayla. Occupying the area on the right, besides the church and between the Place and the riverside, is the large Cloître des Récollets, a former monastery built in stages between the 12th and 17th centuries. Through the glass doors is a lovely, galleried court yard, a ready-made set for many an opera. The building also has a vaulted wine cellar and a magnificent great hall on the first floor. This is the home of the Bergerac Wine Society, an ancient body which oversees the activity of this great wine producing region, and houses the wine testing laboratory. At different times, parts of this building are open to visitors.

9) Continue down the Rue du Pont to the quay, where boat trips are available in season. On the right, at the bottom of the street is an unusual flood level gauge. Some power of imagination is needed to envisage the busy port activity which was for centuries a most important part of Bergerac life. Wine shipments to Britain, via Bordeaux, (Bristol was a major destination) were recorded as long ago as the 13th century. For end of walk refreshment, there are some inviting café/bars along the Quay. Otherwise, turn left to return past the end of the bridge to the Rue Albert Garrigat car parking.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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