Summer 2022 - Dordogne France

Sacha Barbato on 01 August 2022
To say that the last few years (prior to 2022) have been difficult for anyone working in travel / tourism, is putting it mildly. After 2 years of cancellations, refunds and hardly anyone being able to travel, it has been followed by a surge in people booking flights and holidays!

With very little time off, a holiday was well needed, and we returned to a part of France that we love and have visited before. Périgord region in the SW of France – just east of Bergerac.

Despite the news reports of overcrowded airports and long airport delays .. we experienced none of this.

Either driving from the UK or as we did, flying and hiring a car from the airport, a car is probably essential. It means you can explore vineyards, sights and the markets easily. We stayed near the town of Bergerac and driving through the countryside here it sometimes feels like the villages have been deserted. You get the feeling that the countryside here may not have changed much in the last 100 years. It probably has not!

One popular (if a bit touristy) excursion is a day canoeing down the Dordogne. Lots of companies offer it but we went with Canoe Détente and you can choose between 2-4-6 hr average durations. You park, are driven to the start point, which depends on the distance you choose and slowly canoe downstream. The water is clear and you can stop to picnic and swim, taking as long as you want to get back. Along the way you pass beautiful scenery, castles set into the rocks and peaceful spots to stop. Note, it can get busy with lots of others doing the same.. but does not detract from the day and great fun for kids of all ages. Lots of wildlife to look out for along the way. I saw Kingfishers, Peregrines, Egrets, Black Kites and Grey Wagtails .. no binoculars needed as you slowly drift past many of the birds.

During the day it was so hot that most of the time was spent by the pool. We did take time out to visit some of the markets. Bergerac town has a good Saturday market with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and cheeses being sold. Why do the vegetables taste so much better here!?

Evenings eating outdoors in the local restaurants .. with great wine but book early as many of the restaurants were busy each night.

Whilst the rest of the family relaxed by the pool, or in the case of the two teenagers… slept until late morning, I went out to look for birds and butterflies in the valleys around our villa. Highlights were scarce Black Woodpeckers, displaying Honey Buzzards, Golden orioles, Pied and Spotted flycatchers. The large number and variety of butterflies here is quite spectacular too – Meadow Frittilary, Dryad, Swallowtail .. just some of the many species I recorded each morning.

We loved our holiday so much that we are already booked to go back next year. Although we will be combining it with a few days surfing and staying by the coast near Bordeaux.

A Summer holiday in Southern Europe .... something we will never get tired of!