Siorac de Ribérac
La Meynardie and the village of Siorac de Ribérac are situated on the ‘Circuit Roman’ which attracts a number of visitors to the historic church especially during the summer. Siorac also hosts its own four day fête each year in July organized by an association of residents ‘Animer Pour Vivre à Siorac’, which has become a very popular event in the region. Events include walking, cycling, a ‘vide grenier’, artisan stalls, traditional dancing and a ‘soirée crêpes’. The last evening is always marked with a spectacular firework display against the backdrop of the village watched by hundreds of people who gather on the road between La Meynardie and Siorac.
The village now has a busy and attractive restaurant/bar, ‘Le Lavoir’, run by an enthusiastic and friendly young couple (Laure and Fréderic) who offer a simple lunch at a very reasonable price and à la carte in the evening. Being a small walk from La Meynardie, it is a huge bonus for those who don’t want to cook or drive out for a meal every day. Furthermore, they operate a small épicerie where you can place an order for your daily baguette or croissants or buy essential groceries.
Siorac de Ribérac is located on the edge of the Forêt de la Double which is an expansive nature reserve of woodlands, lakes and small roads well suited to walking, cycling and the chance to see wild boar, deer and a range of bird life. Just a few kilometers away the large lake of La Jemaye has boating, swimming and other recreational activities suited to all ages. The river Dronne running between Brantôme and Ribérac offers pleasant canoeing, fishing and quiet scenic picnic sites. Horse riding is very popular in the area and can be arranged.
Ribérac (just six kilometres north of Siorac de Ribérac) is a thriving town with a population of around 5,000. It is well known for its colourful Friday morning market which sells everything from cloth, ‘brocante’, pottery, soaps and essential oils to cheese, wine, ‘pineau’, foie gras, truffles, ‘cepes’, walnuts, fresh fruit and vegetables. The town has developed a reputation for staging good quality cultural events especially the annual festival of ‘Musique et Paroles en Ribéracois’ in summer, but also contemporary art exhibitions and antique fairs. Ribérac has an excellent Syndicat d’Initiative which can provide a wealth of information (with literature in both French & English) on activities and events in the area.
The drive from Ribérac to Brantôme through Tocane St Apre, Lisle and Bourdeilles is always a worthwhile experience. Canoeing back down the river Dronne on the return leg would be even more memorable. Brantôme is a small and charming historic town nestled in the bend of the river and linked by five bridges so it is known as the Venice of Périgord. It is dominated by a beautiful 13th century Benedictine Abbey, now a museum of prehistory and art. Further down river is the feudal fortress and château of Bordeilles and a string of water mills some of which have been converted into restaurants such as the Moulin du Pont at Lisle.
The cathedral city of Périgueux is 30 minutes drive east of Ribérac. It has many commercial, cultural and sporting facilities including hypermarkets, theatre, cinemas, golf and indoor bowling. It has a beautifully restored medieval quarter around the domed cathedral which is largely pedestrianised, dotted with cafés and often the scene of live music or street theatre. Périgueux also has some impressive Roman archaeological sites (including the cylindrical Tour de Vésone and an amphitheatre) and a renowned museum of prehistory. The serene Dordogne valley, the prehistoric caves of Les Eyzies and the dramatic landscapes further east around Rocamadour and Padirac are all within a day’s drive.
Bergerac is an old inland wine port on the river Dordogne, less than one hours’ drive south-west of Ribérac. Bergerac is a cheerful and colourful town with a popular and traditional market twice a week which occupies the area around the church and countless small squares, streets and alleys of the old town leading down to the port. It has museums dedicated to tobacco, wine and barrel making. Other attractions include excellent restaurants (especially fish), boat trips on the river and a karting track on the edge of town. Vineyards and chateaux dominate the surrounding countryside over 27,000 acres providing many opportunities for wine-tasting or just driving the scenic country roads.