Call me on ‘01892 862069’ to personally discuss your next holiday - Deborah.

GREAT VALUE SELF-CATERING HOLIDAY VILLAS, COTTAGES & HOUSES NEAR MONSEGUR & DURAS IN SW FRANCE.

LIVING FRENCH HOLIDAYS

*****

Established 1990


© Living French Holidays. Providing a friendly efficient and personal service in South West France since 1990

© Living French Holidays. Providing a friendly efficient and personal service in South West France since 1990

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE MONSEGUR & DURAS AREA - LOCATION OF RENTAL ACCOMMODATION

Come to this area of France and you are really in for a treat. This is a particularly quiet and beautiful part of South West France - an area noted for its stunning countryside and fertile valleys. It has been likened to rural England one hundred years ago. Throughout Aquitaine the imposing number of 'bastides' (fortified villages and small towns) are a reminder of the battles between France and England. Surrounded by ramparts the 'bastides' were often built on cliff tops, and Monpazier is a fine example of this.

Easy to get to. The nearest airports to Duras and Monségur are Bordeaux (Merignac Airport) - one hours drive. Bergerac - 50 minutes drive. Toulouse (Blagnac Airport) about two hours drive away. Bordeaux and Toulouse are both large international airports. Hire car desks are provided at the airports.

Eurostar goes to Paris from where it will also link you straight into the high-speed network in Lille, from where the TGV goes to Marmande and La Reole, the nearest stations to the farmhouses.

Self catering holidays in local French villages. Recent additions to our portfolio are Le Rieutord and the estate of Le Manoir du Cedre. Le Rieutord is situated in the Lot-et-Garonne near to Duras, Eymet and the village of Allemans-du-Dropt. The property offers a private tennis court and pool and accommodates up to 10 guests plus two babies and a child under 10 years.

Le Manoir du Cedre, in the Gironde, offers adaptable accommodation and is ideal for families and groups who require more privacy from each other, rather than all staying under one roof. For large parties clients can rent the two cottages, Les Vignes and Petit d'Albret , as well as the en-suite Rose and Lavender bedrooms situated in the Manoir. Small parties can choose either of the cottages. The estate is situated in St. Martin du Puy, on the edge of the smallest commune in France, Castelmoron d'Albret with an area of just 3.76 hectares i.e. 9.3 acres (roughly the size of the Place de l'?toile in Paris). Castelmoron is a pretty, well preserved historic village with a bar/restaurant, a general convenience shop and, for chocoholics, a shop selling homemade chocolates. These are all within a short walking distance.

La Peyriere is near to two small villages each with a small selection of shops including a butcher and baker. One of them, Levignac- de-Guyenne also has a bar. Marmande is a large town about 15 minutes drive away and clients will find an excellent selection of shops and hypermarkets there. Duras is 15 minutes drive and Monsegur about 20 minutes.

Near to the houses are the towns of Monségur, Duras, Marmande, Eymet and Ste. Foye la Grande. Monsegur has its own cinema that shows an English language film once a month. Each town holds a colourful weekly day market, selling excellent local produce. In July and August Monsegur, Duras and Levignac-de-Guyenne hold a weekly night market with entertainment where you can choose local produce to eat, dining at tables laid out in the square. These towns also offer a larger range of shops, including supermarkets, a good selection of restaurants, bars, banks, pharmacies, hairdressers and estate agents. The larger town of Marmande is about 20 minutes drive.

Monsegur - historic, unspoilt and charming. Monsegur is a bastide town in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers vine-growing area. Its name means , "a hill where one feels secure", and is an ancient medieval city, founded in 1265, and overlooking the valley of the Dropt.

The iron covered market is 19th century and was built in two phases. From 1867 to 1872 the peripheral galleries were constructed, and completed by the central skylight in 1897.

The governor's tower is hexagonally shaped and houses a staircase set in front of the main building. It was built at the end of the 15th century after the Hundred Years War and is an example of late Gothic style. Pilasters on either side of the door bear strange inscriptions, the meaning of which is unknown. The tympanum is decorated with a Tudor arch. In one angle a bartizan rests on a corbel in the form of a griffin. The weathervane, a privilege of the nobility, dates from the revolution.

Parallel to the main axes, the alleyways marked out the depth of the building lots (8.6m x 25.8m). In the most typical of them, Ruet (back lane) du Soleil you can still see corbels that once supported wooden footbridges. There are various half-timbered houses with a wooden framework filled in with a mixture of rags, rubble and bricks. Sometimes, the wood was coated with bull's blood to help preserve it.

Notre-Dame church. Built at the end of the 13th century at the same time as the bastide. The oldest parts are in the adjoining chapels, where the crowned Lion of England may be seen in the chapel of the baptismal fonts. The spire, rose window, vault, paintings and leaded windows were all replaced in the 19th century in the neo-Gothic style.

In Monsegur the rampart walk (chemin de ronde) offers a circular stroll around the ramparts with some stunning far-reaching views.

Jazz Festival in Monsegur. During the summer months fetes are held in nearby villages and towns when sometimes the town square plays host to visiting bands. Visit Monsegur's annual 24 hr. Jazz and Swing Weekend that normally takes place over the first weekend in July, with up to 30 bands swing-monsegur.com

Around Duras and Monsegur. About 30 to 45 minutes drive away are Eymet, Bergerac and St. Emilion, all well worth exploring. St. Emilion is our favourite and to give you a flavour of this medieval town, during most of the year an open sided tourist tram takes you on a short interesting tour of the ancient cobbled streets and nearby famous vineyards. It also has the largest underground monolithic church in Europe, hewn out of a solid limestone cliff between the 8th and 12th centuries. In our opinion, St. Emilion has grabbed the world's share of excellent restaurants and history.

For a day's sightseeing, clients interested in excavation sites and prehistoric caves will find an excellent selection.

Aquitaine - land of water. The third largest region in France Aquitaine is famous for having the longest beach in Europe, a multitude of healing hot springs, dozens of inland rivers and a string of large lakes. Sitting on 270km of Atlantic coastline, the region's western edge consists of one long expanse of sandy beach stretching as far as the eye can see. Known as the Cote d'Argent (silver coast) it is a source of joy not only to swimmers but also to surfers and body boarders. Its high, rolling breakers make it one of the best surfing spots in Europe. Dune de Pyla, at 3km long and 100m high the largest natural dune in Europe, attracts thousands of hang gliders as well as sand boarders. The beaches are 1.5 to 2 hours drive from the properties. The Bassin d'Arcachon, an ornithological park, is the only one of a series of ten lakes close to the coast that opens out to the Atlantic. It is also the centre of oyster farming. The small town of Gujan Mestras is known for its Maison l'Huitre (Oyster Museum), and throughout July and August this area has oyster fetes in most of the local towns and villages.

The Landes Forest is designated a regional natural park and is a treasure trove of flora and fauna, including more than 260 species of migratory birds in the Teich Bird Reserve. A leisurely cycle among the sun-streamed pines is a memorable experience. There are 500km of cycle tracks stretching from the mouth of the Garonne to the Spanish border, most of them far from the traffic of the roads. La Reole, about 20 minutes drive from Monsegur, has a cycle track leading to Bordeaux.

Good food and drink in abundance. The area abounds with excellent vineyards and restaurants, and the region is noted for its superb 'foie gras' (goose liver pate), duck dishes such as 'confit de canard' and 'magret de canard'. Weekly markets selling local produce are held in all of the towns.

Not only is the region famous for wines (Bordeaux, Duras and Entre-deux-Mer) but it also produces excellent prunes, 'Pruneaux d'Agen'. Bordeaux is the largest fine wine producing area in the world and visited by connoisseurs from all over the world, having over 3,000 wine 'chateaux'. St. Emilion is worth visiting with its famous vineyards and chateaux, many producing excellent grand cru wines - there is a tourist train that takes you for a trip through some of the town's vineyards with an English commentary . Every year Bordeaux, normally at the end of June/beginning of July, has a Wine Festival on the banks of the Garonne. The festival ground extends over more than 29 acres, with a tented village. 300,000 visitors are expected and they will sample the very best vintages from Bordeaux and the region. At nightfall there will be four nights of free live shows (including classical, variety and pop) in the Place des Quinconces, entertainment, parades, wine-barrel race and firework display. For further details see the official website www.bordeaux-fete-le-vin.com

The city of Bordeaux is a magnificent example of 18th century grandeur with its ancient quarters, wide avenues and numerous historical monuments, including the elegant Grand Theatre (Opera House). It has a vibrant nightlife, a botanical garden, well known churches, museums and art galleries, a good shopping centre and, for antique hunters, an area well known for its antiques.

The region is blessed with three UNESCO World Heritage sites, within 20 minutes of Bordeaux - Port de la Lune in Bordeaux, St. Emilion and Blaye Citadel.

Bergerac Airport has a parachute club, whilst Eymet has an English Cricket Club and welcomes visitors. Bikes can be hired locally with delivery direct to the client's holiday farmhouse. The Tourist Office in most towns has details including suggestions for walks and bike rides.

CLIMATE

The temperate and climate is usually very agreeable, with warm weather normally beginning as early as April or May and lasting well into September and October for the grape harvest, 'vendange'. During the hot summer days there is usually a refreshing breeze. The swimming pools at the farmhouses we have available for rental are normally open for swimming between May and the end of September or early October, depending on water temperatures.

SPORTING ACTIVITIES

Horse riding, fishing, clay pigeon shooting and canoeing are all within easy reach, and the Atlantic coastline offers facilities for surfing and windsurfing. For golfers there are a selection of private and municipal courses, details of which are in the House Book at each property. One of the best courses is at Chateau de Vigiers - www.vigiers.com

Levignac-de-Guyenne has a public tennis court, whilst Monsegur has 6 floodlit public courts.

FURTHER INFORMATION

This is just a very brief introduction to an area that really does offer something for everyone. More detailed local information on much of the above, including vineyards, restaurants, beaches, sporting facilities and places of historic interest are included in the farmhouse House Book.

The French Government Tourist Office's site is www.franceguide.com. For details on the Aquitaine area please contact the French Tourist Office or see aquitaine.fr

For a taste of Bordeaux and nearby please visit www.bordeaux-tourisme.com - you will see a wonderful short on-line video, and you can view this website in English. Another website which may be of interest, although it is in French, is www.paysdeduras.com

Living French Holidays wish you 'Bon Voyage'.


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