Château de Carsac
Lac du Gurson
Just a kilometre away, overlooked by the ruined Château de Gurson, the beautiful Lac de Gurson has a lovely beach and swimming area with lifeguards. In summer, there is paddle boarding and kayaking. A cafe serves ice cream, fast food and cold drinks. The path looping around the lake makes a lovely run or walk from the château.
The medieval bastide towns of the Dordogne are famous for their weekly markets. Markets are the best place to pick up great local produce and enjoy the hustle and bustle of French country life. Fill your basket with goodies, then grab a coffee or perhaps a lunch of Arcachon oysters and a glass of local white wine. Our particular favourite markets are St Foy le Grande, Bergerac and Libourne.
You’re thirty minutes from St Emilion, a remarkable medieval town built around wine and pilgrimage. Visit the historic underground church to hear the story of the eponymous hermit saint. Afterwards, wander the steeply winding streets to soak up the atmosphere. Of course, there’s world-class wine here. You’ll find wine shops for all budgets, with knowledgeable staff to help you make the perfect choice.
From local vins de soif to the grands crus of St Emilion and Pomerol, our region is heaven for wine lovers. Many chateaux sell directly to visitors, host tastings, and offer tours where you can see the wine being made and sometimes meet the makers. Around St Emilion, some of the chateaux have restaurants where you can eat lunch or dinner surrounded by vines. Towards Bergerac, the vineyards of Montbazillac make a local dessert wine that’s worth a try. In Bordeaux, you can explore the history of wine at the spectacular Cité du Vin museum.
Walking and Cycling
Footpaths crisscross the fields and vineyards around Carsac-de-Gurson. One passes just behind the chateau and leads you through vineyards and small forests to St Martin de Gurson for your morning bread and croissants. We provide maps of the local trails.
Keen cyclists will enjoy exploring the rolling hills and quiet country lanes surrounding the village. You can rent bikes locally and have them delivered to the chateau. The long distance cycle route Lawrence d'Arabie passes just outside the chateau.
The chic, cosmopolitan city of Bordeaux is just an hour’s drive or 40 minutes on the train from nearby Montpon-Menestrol. Compact enough to be walkable and with a great tram system, Bordeaux has excellent shopping, museums, galleries and cafés. It’s a great place to spend a day or two exploring. There’s a thriving foodie scene with something for everyone, from top-end restaurants to pop-ups to the markets of Marché des Capucins and Halles des Bacalan.
Kayaking and paddle boarding
What could be better in the hot summer than gently drifting down the picturesque, meandering River Dordogne? Two local companies offer canoe and paddle board rental; they’ll drive you upstream, and you float back at your own pace, enjoying the countryside, wildlife, swimming and rope swings.
On the northern bank of the Dordogne, Bergerac’s historical importance stems from trade and the river. The old town has pretty squares, streets of half-timbered buildings and interesting independent shops. The Saturday market attracts tourists and locals alike; you can try local wines at La Maison du Vin, and there are several good restaurants. From the riverside, you can take a trip on a traditional flat-bottomed gabare.
The Atlantic coast, with its spectacular beaches, surf and attractive seaside towns, is reachable for a day trip. Start the day by climbing the Dune de Pila, Europe’s highest dune, spend the afternoon playing on the kilometres of golden sands in Biscarrosse or Archachon, then finish the day with seafood at the characterful oyster shacks in stylish Cap Ferret.
Caves and Castles
As you drive up the Dordogne valley, the rolling hills give way to cliffs and rocky outcrops. This area is dotted with caves and defended by spectacular castles.
Eighty years ago at Lascaux, four teenagers looking for their missing dog discovered breathtaking pre-historic cave paintings. The original cave is now protected; you can visit a replica and a hi-tech exhibition and visitor centre.
A subterranean adventure awaits at the staggering Gouffre de Padirac, one of the most enormous chasms in Europe, where your guide will ferry you along an underground river past immense stalagmites to a chamber bigger than the Cathédrale de Notre Dame.
French and English kings fought over Aquitaine for a hundred years and left a legacy of imposing castles perched over the river. Combine visiting Castelnaud or Beynac with discovering the fortified gold stone villages of Domme or La Roque Gageac. You can finish your day strolling the remarkably preserved medieval centre of Sarlat, a backdrop to many films and TV shows.