Bergerac. is nearby and is a pretty town to meander around and have a beverage down by the river. It has been made famous courtesy of a guy with a long nose, alas Monsieur Cyrano is pure fiction but despite this he has a statue in one of the squares. There are many places to eat but it has to be said that vegetarianism is regarded as a bit strange. The buildings are a lovely warm sandy colour and topped with traditional slate roofs they are truly photogenic.
You can walk down to Mussidan Bridge and hire a canoe or kayak (in season) and paddle down river and count the kingfishers. Alternatively you can stop at the restaurant just before and spend the next 2 hours eating local cuisine in a truly French environment and at a ridiculously low price. On Saturday you could make it across the bridge to market and get all you need for supper, pique-niques, or if you are feeling more adventurous get yourself a live chicken, pintade or rabbit!
Half an hour south is the Dordogne River and if you head east you find more fairy castles than even Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White altogether could have ever wished for. It has to be said they are magnificent dotted along the river, sentinels to an age when things were not quite so harmonious between the locals and the Rosbifs.
Bordeaux is 60 minutes west and in our view well worth a visit. 'Paris' in the south with lovely architecture, parks, markets, a North African sector to give it an exotique edge. And if you want to indulge in one of the world's top 50 restaurants you have got to visit La Tupina. And for little people there is a fountain park to wander amongst and cool off.
On the way back pop in on St Emilion (or visit in it's own right). Wine is what it is famous for but it is an exquisite town set in acres of vines. You can try a little of what you fancy and then take it home. Not surprisingly there is a Museum of Wine, a hermitage, underground cellars and an ossary.
Perigueux is a half-hour away and has to have one of the most outrageous cathedrals with its multi-pepper pot roof. The Romans spent some quality time here and built enormous towers and have a museum for Roman things. It is a great place to wander around (especially the pedestrianised section) and grab a cafe.
Things to do for the kids:
There are loads of other stuff to do, from checking out the man-made beach at La Jemaye set in a fabulous oak forest (really safe for tiny ones) with a fab wooden play area. Often there is free canoeing and kayaking at the height of summer.
A bicycle route which passes by our village goes east and west through beautiful villages, sunflower fields, and intermittently kisses the river, and if you are really up to it you could go to market in St Astier on Thursday morning, and return with your picnic.
On a more gentle note. If you fancy a wander in a maize maze field then off to St Martial you should go. The farmer has a play area to entice you as well and gorgeous homemade ice cream. On Thursday evening there is a local producers soirèe where you can buy locally produced food, freshly cooked on site and share your meal with the locals sitting on benches around long tables. Idyllic. Then to cap it off you can have a round of football golf. This is not obligatory.> Half way between us and Bergerac is Accrozarbes. If you like heights and walking in the trees this place is for you.
Very close by is the Saut des Anges. Set down a track in the middle of nowhere is this horse riding stable. You can instruct the owners as to your capability and go on a hack in to the woods.
Stroking carp at Le Bugue and descending into caves in a bucket for five. Every day is market day somewhere to get all you need to have a splendid gastronomique experience.
A little further away is the Dune de Pyla, the largest sand dune in Europe. I was a little sceptical before but it really is spectacular. It is enormous and stretches south with the Atlantic down below.
If fishing is your thing then the L'Isle has sander, perch and even pike. Close by there is a carp lake and a trout farm.