Perigord is not an easy region to get around. There are no bus services in Sarlat and the trains are limited. Some of the most spectacular places can only be reached by private car. There is a train to Bergerac, however, and I spent the day there on Tuesday. The first thing I noticed was there are no tourists, well very few. I was the only one in the tourist bureau. Such a contrast to the hordes in Sarlat.
The city of Bergerac began on the banks of the Dordogne River in the X1 century. A chateau protected the town and controlled the wine trade on the river. It was destroyed by a flood in 1615. There’s a flood marker on one of the walls near river and there have been some huge floods. Barges brought wood from the Auvergne to build barrels and the barges transported wine to England. There is an interesting row of very old wooden houses, some elegant houses and a covered market. In place Pèlissière there is a statue of Cyrano de Bergerac, the hero of Edmond Rostand’s book.
I enjoyed Bergerac. It’s a bit scruffy and rough round the edges but it has a nice feel. It feels as though real people live there. It was interesting to see that one of the best locations in town, right besides the Dordogne river, was being used as a car park. That might change in a few years if tourism takes over.