The Bergerac region has been hugely popular with the British for a long time – arguably since 1152 when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II and brought the province briefly under English jurisdiction. Today it’s quickly and easily accessible from the UK, particularly by air.
Budget airlines fly direct from 11 UK airports: Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leeds, Liverpool, London City, London Stansted, Manchester, and Southampton.
Alternatively, there’s a good train service from St. Pancras: two changes, journey time about 10 hours. And if you’re driving, the route is straightforward, and can be done from London in a day (co-driver recommended).
The town itself is delightful: lots of carefully-preserved historic character, a welcoming attitude from the locals, plenty of things to see and do, and many places to stay, shop and eat.
This is cycling country, so it’s not surprising that there are two proper Bike shops in town. Faubourg du Cycle is located on the south bank, at the end of the Rue Boileau, as it happens. Further out towards Creysse, Périgord Cycles has a comprehensive range of well-known brands. Both of them can offer bikes for hire. There are also some individual bike-builders and tour organisers in the area who might be able to help if you are looking for something special.
The rowing scene
Bergerac has some of the best rowing conditions to be found on the River Dordogne, France’s fifth-longest river, and one of its cleanest. The SNB Club is one of the town’s great assets (see this blog post for more on this subject) and it’s worth noting that they offer excellent basic but low-cost board and lodging in their hostel for groups who come for training sessions. If you’re a coach and planning to bring a group here, this is one way to make your sterling budget go a bit further.
Using Bergerac as a base, you might also like to visit the famous rowing lake at Brive, which is about an hour’s drive away. An ideal place for time-trial work. Also within easy reach is Alan Whitwell’s excellent Penne Sculling base on the River Lot, which has some of the best training conditions you’ll find anywhere.
Take a look at our River Map for more info on the Bergerac stretch of water.