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The Dordogne River cuts through the picturesque village of Bergerac, famed for its wine and its food. Edmond Rostand also put the village on the map thanks to his play Cyrano de Bergerac, and there are two statues of the man in honour of this. Still, the main reason for visiting Bergerac is to explore the rest of the Dordogne area, which is home to more than 1,500 castles, ancient walled towns, beautiful gardens and stone villages. Most visitors opt to explore by car, as the scenery throughout Dordogne is something out of a fairy tale.
Who to Book With
Car rental offices can be found in downtown Bergerac, at the railway station and at the Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport. Booking online ahead of time is highly recommended, as this will ensure the lowest rates possible. Car hire in Bergerac is supplied by well-known companies such as Avis, Europcar and Hertz.
Best time to go
The summer is the best time to visit Bergerac and to drive around the Dordogne department, but this is also the busiest time of the year here. The temperature is lovely in the summer, rarely getting hotter than 27°C. April, November and December are the wettest months, while May and September are also pleasant times to visit.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents need to be shown upon vehicle collection:
- A valid EU driving license or an International driving permit
- Some other form of identification
- The credit card used to make the booking
- Booking confirmation
Driving is the best way to get around Bergerac and its surrounding area. In fact, Bergerac is very vehicle friendly, with plenty of free places to park both in and near the downtown core. There are also adequate underground and multi-level car parks around, and the streets are rarely congested.
A self-drive vehicle is needed to truly discover Bergerac, although local buses are reliable and reach most areas of the village. Buses also run to outlaying areas, yet having your own car makes taking daytrips much more comfortable and convenient, as there is much to see in the Dordogne.
Bergerac has a SNCF railway station, with trains on the Bordeaux-Sarlat-la-Canéda line stopping here. Trains leave the station regularly between 07:30 and 23:30, with the ride to Bordeaux costing around €18. Tickets can be booked online or right at the train station, which can be found at the north end of the downtown area.
Taxis are plentiful and can be found outside of the railway station or on main roads throughout the village. Hotels can also ring up a taxi to pick you up. There are also plenty of taxis waiting at Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport.
There are three local Les Transports Urbains Bergeracois (TUB) bus lines that run through the city, with Line 1 running from north to south, Line 2 from east to west and Line 3 serving the west end of Bergerac. Bus stops are clearly marked and have shelters, and tickets can be bought from the bus driver or at the Bergerac Tourist Office on rue Neuve d'Argenson. A single fare costs €1.80, while a book of 10 tickets is a better deal at €6.50.
There is much to see throughout the Dordogne, and Bergerac is a fabulous place to start any sightseeing tour. The village’s surroundings are picture-perfect, with stunning landscapes, castles, gardens and vineyards, as well as legendary stone villages and Roman ruins. Bergerac is right at the southwest end of the department, making it easy to also explore Gironde, home to the city of Bordeaux and the beach resort of Arcachon. Don’t forget your camera, as driving around Bergerac is like something right out of a movie.
Château de Beynac - This is the most impressive castle in the area as well as being the best preserved. Built in the 12th century on the north bank of the Dordogne River atop a limestone cliff, the castle dominates the town. It has been listed as a monument historique, and visitors may recognise it from films such as Chocolat, Ever After and Les Visiteurs.
Château de Losse - Found in Périgord around 45 miles northeast of Bergerac, has been unaltered since the 16th century. This medieval fortress is listed as a French Historical House, and both the castle and gardens are truly magnificent.
The Bergerac Wine Route - This is a beautiful drive and a great way to explore the area surrounding Bergerac while visiting its vineyards and tasting its impeccable wine. Discover rolling hills, plateaus and stone villages while stopping in at some of the region’s best vineyards. Wines available in the area include Bergerac AOC, Pécharmant AOC and Saussignac AOC, among others. There are actually 144 wineries along this beautiful route, so don’t drink too much!