184 Bergerac Luc.fauret.photographe Expireson 2025 01 01184 Bergerac Luc.fauret.photographe Expireson 2025 01 01
©184 Bergerac Luc.fauret.photographe Expireson 2025 01 01


Sweet life and sweet wine

A City of Art and History, Bergerac is a real treat for wine and architecture lovers who will get more than their cup full of half-timbered houses, medieval streets, historic alleys, fountains and lively squares.

Périgord Pourpre

Bergerac is at the heart of the Périgord Pourpre, one of the four regions that make up the historical and cultural region of Périgord. The choice of purple colour represents the famous wines of the region, the production of which dates back to the Roman conquest.

The city is located on the banks of the Dordogne river, a major trade route until the 19th century, where wooden barges used to carry up and down barrels of the good stuff for export out of the region.

Entente not so cordiale

Bergerac and the surrounding area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was originally founded around a castle built here in the 11th century and no longer in existence. It had massive strategic importance as it was once held the only bridge across the Dordogne River in the region.

In the 12th century, the second marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II Plantagenet, the future King of England, resulted in the Périgord region coming under Anglo-Angevin sovereignty. Subsequently, for several centuries, the Périgord was disputed by the French crown and the kingdom of England.

English domination of the Bergerac area changed religious attitudes too and the inhabitants tended towards Protestantism, which took root in the 16th century. The town was therefore opposed to Périgueux, which was a Catholic town and part of the French kingdom.

Although it changed hands many times between the English and French during the Hundred Years’ War, Bergerac still flourished throughout the Middle Ages, based largely on wine exportation.

Trade war

From the Middle Ages and for several centuries, Bergerac held the sole crossing point of the Dordogne River in the region.

The bridge, built in 1209, hence afforded Bergerac enormous strategic importance as a vital link for trade, commerce and pilgrimage routes between the two sides of the river.

In 1783, a flood swept away the bridge for good. It was replaced by the current stone and brick structure, built between 1822 and 1825.

Bergerac is back

The Wars of Religion proved Bergerac’s undoing, at least temporarily, because of the continuous persecution of the Protestants.

The 20th century brought industry as well as the tobacco and wine trade to Bergerac, re-establishing its importance for commerce.

The main highlight of the town today is the old town, towards the river, which has been carefully restored and is very attractive with some gorgeous medieval houses and streets to explore.

Vibrant and dynamic, Bergerac has entered the 21st century on the strength of its beautifully preserved environment and the heritage of an urban history that will soon be a thousand years old.

Gabare boats and River trade

Like the vital bridge that spanned the Dordogne river ensuring its Middle Ages strategic power base, Bergerac’s location on the banks of the Dordogne led to its development which is  historically linked to river trading.

For a long time, rivers were the fastest and safest way to move goods, thanks to the wooden barges called “gabares”.

On the way downstream, the boats transported the region’s wine production. On the way back from Bordeaux, thanks to the towpaths that bordered the river, they would carry salt and food to villages upstream.

River trade declined in the 19th century with the advent of the railways and disappeared completely in the first half of the 20th century.

A river of leisure

Today, you can take a leisurely trip on board a traditional gabare boat to see the beauty of the area from the vantage point of the river.

Departing from the famous Port des Gabariers, a 50-minute cruise tells the story of the city as well as the local hardships of the boatmen who worked the river.

In July and August, an exceptional 1hr30min cruise from the port of Creysse offers a special wine tasting experience in this stunningly beautiful natural environment.

Canoeing is also available on this stretch of the river to admire Bergerac and its beautifully restored waterfront.

Part of the Voie Verte, an 86 km cycling path runs here through the Périgord region towards Bordeaux. Dedicated cycling paths are an ideal way to discover the city and reconnect with nature.

We highly recommend a walk on the Quai Cyrano, a magnificent area combining traditional stone masonry of the 17th century with 21st century aesthetics. On site you can visit the Maison des Vins Bergerac Duras, the Cloister des Récollets and the Tourist Office for all the info you need.

For a great nose indicates a great man

Bergerac is also the name of the famous fictional character with an enormous nose, who used his wit as a weapon of seduction – Cyrano de Bergerac.

The playwright Edmond Rostand was inspired by a certain Hercule Savinien for his heroic and poignant character Cyrano in 1897.

Today, with two statues erected in his honour, the town of Bergerac pays tribute to this mythic hero to whom it owes much of its fame.

Not to be missed

Cloitre des Récollets – Cloister

Wooden galleries and columns, part of the “Maison du Vin” , the cloister was previously a monastery which played an important role in the Wars of Religion – the internal balcony is especially attractive A must-see in Bergerac’s historic quarter!

  • Length of visit: 45 minutes
  • Free self-guided tour
  • Accessibility for people with reduced mobility

Tobacco Museum

The Tobacco Museum is located in the Maison Peyrarède. The architecture of this 17th-century town house, built in the heart of Bergerac’s historic centre, bears witness to the transition from Renaissance to Classicism.

The museum’s collections, unique in Europe, tell the story of a plant with an exceptional destiny, which has left its mark on the agricultural landscape of the Bergerac region.

Tobacco is a plant that originated and was used in America over 3,000 years ago, before conquering Africa and then the rest of the world.

  • Length of visit: 60mn
  • Free visit, Guided tour
  • Accessibility for people with reduced mobility

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The vineyards of Bergerac

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