As one of the Dordogne’s most popular towns with British expats, what makes Bergerac so special? Karen Tait finds out…
With a local airport offering UK flights, Bergerac has long been a firm favourite with British househunters. Set within the ever-popular department of Dordogne, the town is large enough to offer a good range of amenities but small enough to feel friendly and welcoming.
Located on the banks of the River Dordogne, Bergerac has a picturesque ‘vieille ville’ with half-timbered buildings, pretty squares, cafés and restuarants and independent shops. The newer part of town has further stores and a Saturday market is held around the church. One of Dordogne’s three sub- prefectures, Bergerac is the second-most populated town after prefecture Périgueux.
Although it’s said he never actually visited the town, Bergerac’s most famous ‘inhabitant’ was the playwright and inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s play, Cyrano de Bergerac. You’ll find two statues of Cyrano, on Place de la Myrpe and Place Pelissière.
The local economy is largely based around tourism and wine, making it even more appealing for British expats, especially those seeking an income from holiday accommodation. As a second-home base, it’s ideal for exploring the rest of the Dordogne and further afield.
You can find out more about Bergerac’s 13 appellations of wine at the Maison des Vins de Bergerac in the old town, which has a beautiful 12th- century cloister. There’s also a tobacco museum, once an important industry here. Then wander down to the river for a leisurely trip on a traditional flat-bottomed ‘gabare’ boat.
Bergerac sits among a landscape of vineyards and river valleys, dotted with some of southwest France’s prettiest villages such as Monbazillac with its impressive château. Other nearby châteaux include Bridoire, Lanquias and Duras.
Despite being at the heart of a rural region, Bergerac is well connected, with regular train services to Bordeaux, around 1hr15 away, with its larger airport. Brive airport is also relatively close by. With all this to recommend it, you might expect Bergerac to be pricey when it comes to property.
However, you’d be in for a pleasant surprise, as with an average property value of €1,430/m² it remains affordable, slightly less than the overall Dordogne average of €1,490/m² and considerably below Périgueux’s average price of €1,780/m³.
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Lead photo credit : © dvdbramhall- Flickr
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