Paysage Périgord Dordogne

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A land, a world

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A land, a world

Vignoble de Bergerac

Montaigne's birthplace

Starting in the 14th century, when barges began carrying the town’s valuable nectar down to Bordeaux, Bergerac became one of the most renowned suppliers of dry white wine to the kingdom of England. While the dry white wine retains a fine reputation, one gems of the local ‘terroir’ is undoubtedly its famous Monbazillac. Included in the 13 Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) white wines are Montravel, Saussignac and Rosette. For the area’s red wines, the Dordogne’s right bank is known for its production of Pécharmant.

Of course, there is the swashbuckling cantankerous Gascon hero Cyrano de Bergerac. He may have been a figment of Edmond Rostand’s imagination, but his colour statue nonetheless poetically stands proud in full garb in the town centre. After all, noses are important in wine tasting… In the former monastery of the Recollects, the Maison des Vins guides us to meet the winemakers in their cellars, who share their passion for their wines. Water is another important feature in this vineyard sanctuary. If you stroll down the old-town’s cobblestone streets among the half-timbered houses, you will invariably wind up on the banks of the river. The Dordogne’s huge bed here makes it perfect for rowing.

The Bergerac region also features countless chateaux, such as Lanquais, Monbazillac and even Bridoire. But the real tutelary figure of what we call the Périgord Pourpre, is Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. It was in Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne, his hometown, that he wrote his essays. The philosopher of happiness and curiosity had a loyal, legendary friendship with Etienne de La Boëtie. When asked about their fondness for one another, he famously summed it up with: “Because it was him, because it was me!”