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As we are in the north eastern most part of the Dordogne, Manzac Ferme is an ideal base to visit a wealth of locations in not only the Dordogne, but also the Limousin and Poitou-Charentes regions as well. Angoulême, Limoges and Perigueux are each approximately one hour away by car.

There are medieval villages, world heritage listed towns and stunning examples of classic French chateauxs within easy reach of Manzac. Some of our favourite destinations in the surrounding area for whiling away a day or three are listed below - see the end of the page for a map of some of our nearby sights.

Nontron Town

NONTRON: is a lovely town, famous for its knife manufacturing, and is well worth a slow walk round. There is a classical street market on Saturday morning’s when the town centre is alive with people. Read more about Nontron on Laurence's blog (click to open in a new window)

PIEGUT - PLUVIERS: possibly most famous these days for its bustling street market on Wednesday’s, but its medieval tower and variety of shops, cafes and restaurants make it worth a visit every day of the week.

MONTBRON: a delightful little town just into the Charentes, where some of the narrow back streets have a varied amount of shops and a good tourist office. Also home to eight castles!

LA ROCHEFOUCAULD: As well as the the huge Renaissance chateau which dominates this town, the town centre has some pretty little streets where some excellent quality shops and restaurants can be discovered.

St JEAN de COLE: - An absolute must visit! Widely regarded as being the village with the most beautiful roof tops in France, the whole village comes alive in early May each year when the flower festival takes place.

Brantome from above

BRANTOME: One of the high-spots of tourism in the Dordogne, standing beautifully on the banks of the River Dronne. Brantome is a bustling town and described as the Venice of France. Market days Friday are always busy. Definitely well worth a visit. Read more about Brantome on Laurence's blog (click to open in a new window)

ROCHECHOUART: the site where a 6,000 million tonne meteorite crashed into the earth. As a direct result of this, many of the old buildings are built from the blackened, squashed shattered and heat transformed rock.

PERIGUEUX: is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and is a must see for any visitor to the region. It features a maze of tiny alleyways in a medieval renaissance style, home to local shops and wonderful eateries. It also has one of the largest markets in the region, and is host to a number of wonderful festivals, including the Jazz festival and the Mime festival. Read more about Perigueux on Laurence's blog (click to open in a new window).

Oradour Sur GlaneORADOUR SUR GLANES: this village serves as a sobering reminder as to the brutality of war. On the 10th of June, 1944, a retreating German Panzer division passed through this village and killed 642 men, women and children for no apparent reason. Untouched since that day, the village is a memorial to the lives that were lost that day. Read more about Oradour-Sur-Glane on Laurence's blog (click to open in a new window)


LIMOGES: famous across the world for its porcelain, Limoges is a wonderful place for a wander. The centre piece of the city is the massive Gothic cathedral, 600 years in the building.


ANGOULEME: the third of the large towns in the area, around an hours driven north-west of Manzac, Angouleme is superb for a day out. Angouleme is a vibrant city perched overlooking the Charente river with oodles of character and scope for exploration, particularly around the old town area. It also has some excellent street art.



Castles

The area is home to a number of absolutely wonderful castles of both architectural and historical interest. Some of our favourites in the area are the following, although there are plenty more to find!

Chateau Jumilhac
Chateau Jumilhac
Found in the town of Jumilhac le Grand this fairy tale like castle has parts which date back to the 12th century. The castle has some fascinating stories to tell, including the tale of Louise de Hauteford, the lady of the castle, who was locked away in a room for thirty years by her jealous husband whilst he was off fighting wars.

Chateau Puyguilhem
Not too far from Brantome is the beautiful Chateau Puyguilhem. This castle is found in a secluded wooded valley, with a design more commonly found in castles of the Loire valley than the Dordogne. The devil is in the detail with this castle, with ornate fireplaces, window surrounds and chimney detailing which is quite superb.

Chateau Chalus Chabrol
Whilst perhaps not visually as stunning as some of the other castles in the area, this castle does hold the distinction of being the place where Richard the Lionheart met his fate in 1199. His entrails are buried in the castle chapel.

Chateau Rochefoucauld
Chateau La RocheFoucauld
Situated in the town of La RocheFoucald this impressive Renaissance chateau has been owned by the same family for 1000 years. It is the largest castle in the Purente region, and is often referred to as being a jewel of the Renaissance. One of the castle's highlights is its spiral staircase, impressively engineered to be a continuous spiral without a landing.

Chateau de Montbron
The town of Montbron is home to no less than eight castles, although some have been converted. One of these is the Chateau de Montbron, built shortly after the hundred year war from the stones of the town's original feudal fortress.

Chateau de Bourdeilles
The Chateau de Bourdeilles is made up of two parts - the Keep dates from Medieval times and the palace from Renaissance times. These are built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Dronne River.

Read more about Laurence's impressions of some of the castles in the area on his blog (click to open in a new window).


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