In this site you’ll find all sorts of information, particularly about things to do …. While comprehensive, it’s by no means complete, and it never will be, as there is loads more exploring to do be done, and nothing stays the same for long.
The big activities available to visitors to Sainte-Foy-La-Grande and
the immediate vicinity are primarily
Clearly, there are many others, but these are the main ones. Some are more seasonal than others.
We have an excellent working relationship with Chateau des Vigiers if you’re a golfer, and are pleased to extend to guests staying at Les Terraces a discount on green fees and other facilities. Please contact us for further information when you make your reservation.
They have an excellent spa, too, and we can heartily recommend a spa day there
If you fancy exploring the region from a different perspective then canoeing or kayaking may be more your thing. There is a canoeing base about a 1KM walk from Les Terraces. Canöe Port Sainte Foy offers trips of varying lengths (4-24KM) in canoes or kayaks for 1-3 people. The really keen can start just west of Bergerac and return to the canoeing base, or leave by kayak from the base and travel westwards down the river as far as Castillone la Bataille (a less-travelled section). Other drop-off locations and details can be found on their web site.
There are a number of companies offering either bicycle rentals &/or guided tours. As the Dordogne valley is pretty flat the cycling isn’t too terribly challenging, even for the unaccustomed!
Fishing is a popular pastime here …. you can see people fishing in the river right outside the house pretty much daily. In the summer the river levels mean that it is possible to wade out to nearly the middle of the Dordogne, while year-round people fish from the quais and banks. There are several fishing lakes within a 15-minute drive of Les Terraces.
Culture & History
Sainte-Foy-La-Grande lies in the middle of an area that contains in excess of 1500 castles, chateaux and medieval walled towns. The last battle of the 100 Years War was fought a few miles down the road in Castillon la Bataille and it is commemorated in a huge Son et Lumiere during the summer months.
There are some marvellous bastides and chateaux to visit. We particularly like the beautifully restored bastide town of Monpazier and the fortress village of Beynac (where Richard the Lionheart most definitely slept!), both of which are a bit of a drive from the house, but well worth the trip.
The south-west of France was rather popular with the Romans, and the area abounds with villas and the remains of administrative structures. Just a few kilometers from Les Terraces is the excellently preserved villa at Montcaret while further away, in the city of Périgueux, lies Vesunna with its excellent museum.
Bird-watching: The Dordogne (which runs in front of Les Terraces) has an excellent variety of bird-life. Guests often enjoy sitting on the terrace, binoculars in hand (one small pair provided, along with a handbook), or strolling along the banks of the river and noting the species that can be seen. In fact, one family even produced a lovely memento for us detailing every bird they saw during their stay.
Whether your pleasure lies in shopping for and preparing local produce “at home,” or going out to wine and dine (or both), we have you covered in SW France.
The region offers countless opportunities for wine-tasting, with St. Emilion, Montbazillac and Bergerac being the closest major appellations. Venturing slightly further afield will bring you to Entre-Deux-Mers, Graves and the Medoc. There are seemingly endless further appellations that can be explored, and we encourage you to be adventurous! A great way to start learning about, or furthering your knowledge of, wine is to do a vineyard tour, visit an excellent wine merchant that offers tastings, or to visit Bordeaux’ newest visitor attraction, la Cité du Vin.
Weekly farmers’ markets are a vital part of life in France. They are as much about socialising, catching up with friends and acquaintances as picking up supplies for next week’s meals. Residents of, and visitors to, Sainte-Foy-La-Grande are lucky enough to be able to enjoy a Saturday market widely accepted as one of France’s 100 best markets. In 2014 it also received the accolade of being France’s favourite market.
Be prepared to be assaulted by the scent of strawberries catching your nostrils from metres away, to taste morsels of raw black radish served with salted butter on home-made bread, marvel at the long line snaking around a corner for one vendor of nectarines, feast your eyes (and tastebuds) on magical seafood – razor clams, sea urchin, bulots, mussels and oysters; stalls selling saucisson , gleaming heaps of olives, tapenades, wicker baskets and so on. Because many markets cater to people who don’t drive and where little public transport exists – like buses – stalls selling felted wool slippers, mattresses, live plants and seedlings, underwear, knitwear and other clothes can be found interspersed among the food stalls, and others offering services such as roof cleaning, chair re-rushing, knife-sharpening. It is a grand mish-mash of offerings to say the least! Be warned, though – markets start and finish early, normally 08:30 to 12:00 in the winter months, and 08:00 to 13:00 in the height of the season. Arrive too late and you’ll miss it all!
There are also seasonal specialty markets – though none in Sainte-Foy-La-Grande. These are most often for winter perishables, such as truffles and ceps. Click here for a PDF of markets.
In the summer months, there is a series of weekly “Marches des Producteurs” which comprise the farmers who produce duck & foie gras, milk & cheese, vignerons, ostriculteurs & heliciculteurs (oyster-men and snail producers to the likes of you and me) etc, and live music. Trestle tables & chairs are set up under mulberry trees in a riverside car park about 300m from Les Terraces. Locals arrive early and reserve tables by placing table cloths on them, and stacking chairs against them for later. Queues snake around the tables for the more popular stalls (nothing’s expensive), and there’s lots of waving of hands and kissing of cheeks (bising) as people catch up with friends for a relaxed evening. Small children dance, unattended and safe, in front of the bandstand. La vie en rose!