Family fun in and around London

BDT goes overseas: Things to do with kids in the Dordogne, France

Posted by on Thursday, 29 August, 2013 in BDT goes large

BDT goes overseas: Things to do with kids in the Dordogne, France

Babydaytripper went overseas last week and we thought we’d share our favourite activities for children in and around Bergerac, in the Dordogne region of Southern France.

Château de Castelnaud

The Chateau de Castelnaud, perched high above the Dordogne river, was once a fortress and is now a museum of mediaeval armour and weaponry.  If your children are fans of Mike the Knight, King Arthur or other tales of chivalry, this is a great place to fire their imagination. Alongside the museum’s knights on horseback, suits of armour and full sized trebuchets, there are displays of mediaeval combat (half an hour of slapstick, chain mail and sword fighting – if you don’t speak French you won’t follow the dialogue, but the rest is entertaining), a forge and more. Views over the Dordogne valley from the ramparts are spectacular. More details here.

Chateau de Bridoire

Chateau de Bridoire

This château was rescued from dereliction in 2011 and the owners have come up with an innovative way to compete with its rivals in the region. The grounds, and the various interior rooms that have been renovated so far, are full of traditional games. There’s mediaeval croquet, giant chess, a card games room, writing with quill pens, dressing up in suits of armour, jousting on a barrel, various types of mediaeval hoopla and coconut shies, and more. It’s all simple, old-fashioned fun, but it’s enough to keep young children entertained for a couple of hours and the admission proceeds are helping to rescue a bit of French heritage. More details here.

 

Le Petit Train Touristique (Bergerac and Perigueux)

It’s a bit of a holiday cliché, but MJ loved his trip on the little tourist train around the pretty market town of Perigueux. It lasts about 30 minutes and the same company runs a similar tour around Bergerac. More details here.

 

Chateau de Bridoire games

Night market (marché nocturne)/producers’ evening (soirée des producteurs)

In the summer many of the local towns have so-called night markets. These consist of stalls selling hot food (including lots of the local duck-based specialities), wine, fresh bread, cheese and desserts and long trestle tables where you can sit and eat your purchases. There’s usually some type of live music and sometimes entertainment for children such as pony rides. Bigger markets might also have stalls selling other goods such as jewellery etc. but the ones we went to in small towns were focused on eating, drinking and partying. We went to a very convivial gathering in a Monbazillac vineyard where the spaces between the rows of vines were used as parking spaces for cars…

Lac de Pombonne

Bergerac’s a bit too far from the coast for visits to the beach, but the local public park in Pombonne has a lake and man-made beach. There is a supervised swimming area and a shallow section roped off for very little children. MJ had as much fun as he

Lac de Pombonne

would at the seaside and the beach was very quiet, so it was easy to keep tabs on him. Not very many people seem to know about this place, but you can get information and directions from the tourist office in Bergerac. Best of all, it’s free to get into the park, in contrast with lots of other local holiday activities.

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