A five minute drive from Manzac is the village of Abjat-Sur-Bandiat. This is our most local village offering an excellent boulangerie which is open every day except Monday.
The village also has a post office, church and the excellent Entente Cordiale pub, where you can get a refreshing drink.
A 5 minute drive in the opposite direction is Augignac with a boulangerie, Post office and gift shop.
For your day to day grocery needs the town of Nontron is a ten minute drive from Manzac, and has excellent shops including well stocked supermarkets (Lidl, a large Super U, a large Intermarche and a Biocoop).
Nontron also offers a number of other services you would expect from a town, including pharmacies, cash machines, health services, a theatre, a cinema and veterinary services. It is also home to an excellent weekly market.
Markets in France are a real treat, and should definitely be a part of your French holiday experience. Many villages and towns have a weekly market offering everything from homemade crafts to food and more. Most markets are open in the mornings. Local markets to us are :
PIEGUT-PLUVIERS: Wednesday market
The charming medieval town of Piegut-Pluviers has a weekly market every Wednesday morning, this is the biggest and best market in the area, and our recommended market to visit if you plan to visit a market.
Distance: 5.4 mi / 9km. Morning only
NONTRON: Saturday market
Nontron is home to our closest regular market, a ten minute drive from Manzac, offering a wide range of stalls and produce.
Distance: 5 mi / 8km. Morning only
BRANTOME: Friday market
A little further afield, Friday morning Brantome market is widely regarded to be one of the best in the area.
Distance: 18mi / 29km. Morning only
PERIGUEUX: Saturday market
Approximately an hours drive from Manzac, Perigueux is host to the regions largest market which takes place Saturday morning. Perigueux is also home to a number of large French “hypermarkets”, and is a UNESCO listed world heritage site with plenty of scope for exploration making this a wonderful option for a full day out.
Distance: 35 mi / 56km. All day
Eating Out Locally
Our local village Abjat has the Insolitie Creperie which serves crepes, galettes (savoury crepes) and a menu du jour. This makes a great halfway stop on a circular walk from Manzac, just check for opening times before departure!
There are a number of excellent places to wine and dine within a short drive (or cycle) to Manzac, ranging from tea rooms to lakeside restaurants.
Places to See
As we are in the north eastern most part of the Dordogne, Manzac Ferme is an ideal base to visit a wealth of locations in not only the Dordogne, but also the Limousin and Poitou-Charentes regions as well. Angoulême, Limoges and Perigueux are each approximately one hour away by car.
There are medieval villages, world heritage listed towns and stunning examples of classic French chateaux within easy reach of Manzac. Some favourite destinations in the surrounding area for whiling away a day or three are listed below.
1. NONTRON: is a lovely town, famous for its knife manufacturing, and is well worth a slow walk round. There is a classical street market on Saturday morning when the town centre is alive with people.
2. PIEGUT – PLUVIERS: possibly most famous these days for its bustling street market on Wednesday but its medieval tower and variety of shops, cafes and restaurants make it worth a visit any day of the week.
3. BRANTOME: One of the high-spots of tourism in the Dordogne, standing beautifully on the banks of the River Dronne. Brantome is a bustling town and described as the Venice of France. Market days Friday are always busy. Definitely well worth a visit.
4. St JEAN de COLE: – An absolute must visit! Widely regarded as being the village with the most beautiful roof tops in France, the whole village comes alive in early May each year when the flower festival takes place.
5. MONTBRON: a delightful little town just into the Charentes, where some of the narrow back streets have a varied amount of shops and a good tourist office. Also home to eight castles!
6. LA ROCHEFOUCAULD: As well as the the huge Renaissance chateau which dominates this town, the town centre has some pretty little streets where some excellent quality shops and restaurants can be discovered.
7. ROCHECHOUART: The site where a 6,000 million tonne meteorite crashed into the earth. As a direct result of this, many of the old buildings are built from the blackened, squashed, shattered and heat transformed rock.
8. PERIGUEX: Listed as an UNESCO world heritage site, it is a must see for any visitor to the region. It features a maze of tiny alleyways in a medieval renaissance style. You will find lots of independent shops and wonderful eateries. It also has one of the largest markets in the region. It hosts a number of wonderful festivals including the Jazz festival and the Mime festival.
9. ORADOUR SUR GLANES: This village serves as a sobering reminder as to the brutality of war. On the 10th of June, 1944, a retreating German Panzer division passed through this village and killed 642 men, women and children for no apparent reason. Untouched since that day, the village is a memorial to the lives that were lost.
10. LIMOGES: Famous across the world for its porcelain, Limoges is a wonderful place for a wander. The centrepiece of the city is the massive Gothic cathedral, 600 years in the building.
11. ANGOULEME: The third of the large towns in the area, around an hours drive north-west of Manzac, Angouleme is superb for a day out. It is a vibrant city perched overlooking the Charente river with oodles of character and scope for exploration, particularly around the old town area. It is also known as the ‘Capital of Comic Strip’ with excellent street art and frequent comic exhibitions due to a strong connection with Hergè the creator of ‘Tin Tin’
The local area surrounding the campsite is perfect for walking, with a number of walks originating from the campsite. We have a number of walk leaflets that we offer our guests. The Perigord Limousin Natural Park itself has over 2000km of marked hiking trails – enough to suit all abilities.
Our local area is perfect for exploring by bike. The countryside surrounding us is ‘undulating’ so you are never climbing (or descending!) for too long. There are hundreds of very quiet country road and cycle routes to explore. All our walking routes are also suitable for bikes with off-road tyres. We also have three Voie Vert (green cycle routes) within easy reach of the site, these run along former railway lines and are therefore quite flat.
By bike you will be able to reach a whole range of nearby picturesque villages, head to the nearby lake for a swim, or just pop down to the local shops. Leave your car parked up on site whilst you get out and explore the stunning countryside of the Perigord-Limousin National Park!
In the height of summer if you fancy a fresh water lake swim, there is a beautiful lake at St Estephe with a patrolled beach and canoes, paddle boards etc. all FREE and less than 6 km from Manzac! This has recently undergone a multi million Euro refurbishment, and is looking wonderful. There’s also a restaurant there where you can grab a bite to eat or an ice cream, as well as some lovely walking.
A bit further away at 13 km but a lovely cycle ride is Grand Etang de St Saud. This also has a cafe and restaurant.
The French countryside is seriously idyllic and canoeing down one of the many rivers offers a uniquely laid back perspective on it. We have a number of rivers and operators in the area.
As we have our own river frontage, fishing is a popular option for our guests. It’s fun and relaxing to sit and while away the hours with a line and maybe get a bite or two. For the more serious fishers amongst you, there are many big public lakes where fishing is allowed (with a licence), including two within a five mile drive.
Just under fifteen miles away the Caves of Villars are a fascinating day out, with cave paintings dating back 17,000 years – some of the oldest examples in the world. The six hundred metres of passageways and galleries are easily accessible and feature wonderful examples of stalactites, stalagmites, pillars and so on..
The area is home to a number of absolutely wonderful chateau of both architectural and historical interest. Some of our favourites in the area are the following, although there are plenty more to find!
CHATEAU JUMILHAC. Found in the town of Jumilhac le Grand this fairy tale like chateau has parts which date back to the 12th century. The chateau has some fascinating stories to tell, including the tale of Louise de Hauteford, the lady of the chateau, who was locked away in a room for thirty years by her jealous husband whilst he was off fighting wars.
CHATEAU PUYGUILHEM. Not too far from Brantome is the beautiful Chateau Puyguilhem. This chateau is found in a secluded wooded valley, with a design more commonly found in chateau of the Loire valley than the Dordogne. The devil is in the detail with this chateau, with ornate fireplaces, window surrounds and chimney detailing which is quite superb.
CHATEAU CHALUS CHABROL. Whilst perhaps not visually as stunning as some of the other chateau in the area, this chateau does hold the distinction of being the place where Richard the Lionheart met his fate in 1199. His entrails are buried in the chateau chapel.
CHATEAU LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, Situated in the town of La Rochefoucauld this impressive Renaissance chateau has been owned by the same family for 1000 years. It is the largest chateau in the Charente region, and is often referred to as being a jewel of the Renaissance. One of the chateau’s highlights is its spiral staircase, impressively engineered to be a continuous spiral without a landing.
CHATEAU DE MONTBRUN. The town of Montbrun is home to no less than eight chateau, although some have been converted. One of these is the Chateau de Montbrun, built shortly after the hundred year war from the stones of the town’s original feudal fortress.
CHATEAU DE BOURDEILLES. The Chateau de Bourdeilles is made up of two parts – the Keep dates from Medieval times and the palace from Renaissance times. These are built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Dronne River.