Area Overview

Maison en empilage near Villereal

Bergerac, Monpazier, Monflanquin...the countryside here in South-West France, around our cottage and farmhouse gites, is a land of sunflowers and medieval towns, of caves and rivers, of vineyards and plum orchards, of castles and quiet lost villages, of sunshine and tradition, and of miles of beautiful unspoilt scenery.

The gites are found near the border between the Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne departments of France and provide easy access to both of these areas, with their different characteristics and charms. You can see the exact location on the map on the Find Us page. Bergerac is 25km north west, and Villeneuve sur Lot 25km to the south of our gite.

See also 'Activities' and 'day trips' for further suggestions of things to do in the area.


The property is on a small hill 2 km from Villereal, surrounded by gardens and open countryside, in a beautiful and completely peaceful location. A variety of crops are grown in the surrounding fields, including sunflowers. There are also several plum orchards near the property, and woodlands and meadows. The countryside is dotted with a mix of old stone farmhouses and colombage cottages.

The places on this page are all within about 10-15km of La Grange at Villereal. Many of our guests spend much of their holiday at Fonguilleres itself, enjoying the peace and quiet, reading a book, sampling local wine, swimming in the pool, wandering around the property and occasionally going into Villereal for a drink or a meal.


Villereal, 2km from or gites

Villereal is the bastide town near Fonguillères. It is an active, 'lived in' town, and has all facilities. It has a medieval centre with a rare medieval market hall, and the buzzing activity and cafes in the town square ensure that many of our visitors name Villereal as their favourite town in the area. In common with the other bastide towns in the area Villereal has many fascinating houses and streets dating from the middle ages.

Pigeonnier near Villereal

It is the perfect place to sit in a cafe in the town centre and watch the world go by. It is also ideally placed as a central 'hub' for reaching the many other towns of note in the area. Villereal has banks, supermarkets, several bakers, butchers, a lively Saturday market, a post office, two estate agents, several cafes and restaurants, a tourist office that can provide details of current events, walks and cycle rides etc and a bike hire shop - not bad for a town of 1500 residents.

Reputedly built during the hundred years war, maisons en empilage (literally 'piled up' since they are made of large wooden beams piled one on the other), there are several of these houses in the area. This one is a couple of hundred metres from Fonguilleres and has featured twice recently in magazines celebrating the patrimony of France. There are also many pigeonniers in the area, some remarkably elaborate. The common feature is the 'legs' that support the building, constructed in such a way that rats and vermin can not enter. This one is very close to Fonguilleres.

Chateau Biron

A lovely castle about 10 kilometres from Villereal, just south of Monpazier, on a hilltop with views across miles of countryside. Well worth a visit, followed perhaps by a drive down the Gavaudun Valley to see the castle at Gavaudun.

Chateau Biron, near Monpazier


The little village below Biron castle is very pretty, and there is a nice restaurant.

Biron village, near Monpazier

Gavaudun Castle / St Avit

A remarkable keep or 'donjon' in the Gavaudun Valley, about 10 kilometres from Villereal. VERY old and forbidding, perhaps not for those with a fear of heights. The village and valley of Gavaudun are very pretty and there is a national pathway that passes along the valley. Nearby St Avit is a quaint, pedestrian only village, also in the Gavaudun Valley. One of the best things about the area is the myriad of small and picturesque villages to be discovered 'off the beaten track' and set in beautiful countryside.

Gavaudun castle, between Monflanquin and MonpazierSt Avit in the Gavaudun Valley


13 kilometres from Villereal, Issigeac is an amazingly well preserved medieval town, with winding alleys and roads hemmed in by ancient houses. Issigeac has a very popular market on a Sunday morning, loved by everyone who stays in our gites.


Issigeac, between Bergerac and Villereal


14 kilometres from Villereal, Monpazier is another extraordinary town, with the central square still much as it was several hundred years ago. With Issigeac, a town we love to visit again and again. It is one of several towns nearby with the prestigious 'most beautiful villages in France' listing (see also further on - Monflanquin, Domme, Sarlat, Pujols). Each spring the Monpazier flower and plant market brings colour to the town.

Monpazier, between Villerel and Belves



The attractions of the Dordogne region are well known - the river, the chateaux, the scenery, the ancient towns and villages, the caves and so on. The Lot-et-Garonne area to the south is less well known. It is often described as 'French Tuscany' and has miles of unspoilt countryside interspersed with small bastide (13th century) towns, and is less 'touristy' (quieter roads) and less developed than the Dordogne.

Several of the towns and villages in the area have the prestigious 'one of the most beautiful villages in France' listing. This is not because it is easy to get the award (there are only about 130 in the whole of France) but because there are a lot of very beautiful towns in the area! There are lots of smaller villages, towns and hamlets, often also very beautiful, that I have not included below.

La Roque Gageac

In the heart of the Dordogne Valley, La Roque Gageac is a beautiful 'step back in time' picture postcard village with exotoc gardens up the hill

La Roque Gageac, on the Dordoyne river


Beynac, also on the Dordogne River, has a spectacular castle overlooking the river and the countryside, and a lovely climb through the village to reach it...


The many splendours of the Dordogne are within easy reach of the gites. With caves and prehistoric sites, beautiful towns and villages and of course the scenery around the River Dordogne, and swimming and canoeing in the river itself, there is a great deal to see and do, and to enjoy. La Roque-Gageac and Beynac, and the scenery along the Dordogne River itself, are perhaps our personal favourites in the Dordogne area, but there is always something new to discover. The chateau at Beynac has magnificent views over the river and surrounding area.


Canoeing on the River Dordogne is very popular and very easy - you get a lift up to a starting point, and then row downstream only. A lovely way to see the Dordogne Valley and river, with plenty of places to pull up on the river bank and have a picnic.

Canoeing on the Dordogne River


There are many gardens that can be visited - this picture is the renowned garden at Sardy.


Jardin de Sardy


Eymet is another attractive bastide town in the area.

Eymet, near Castillones


The town at Limeuil - there is a nice river beach here where children (and adults) can play in the river.

Limeuil on the Dordogne river


Lovely and world-famous town with numerous buildings of historical interest and attractive streets to explore. Sarlat Gets rather busy in summer (get to Sarlat early if possible) but still an unmissable pleasure


Sarlat, on the Dordogne


Another nearby town listed as 'one of the most beautiful villages in France' . Domme also has some fine caves, accessed from the 'town centre').



Monflanquin is another nearby town listed as 'one of the most beautiful villages in France'.

Monflanquin, 10km south of our gites

Pujols - (not on the Dordogne)

And Pujols is another ...near to Penne d'Agenais, south of the gites.

Pujols near Villeneuve sur Lot


Little remains of the original town of Bergerac, following its 16th century destruction in the Hundred Years War. It has however retained a very attractive old 'medieval' town that leads down to the river, a very nice place for a wander around. Bergerac is much larger than the other towns mentioned here, and has a large 'modern' area with shops, restaurants etc.


sunflowers in a field adjacent to our cottage

How could we not have a picture of the local sunflowers...

Click HERE to find out more about bastide towns


Information on this page about Lot-et-Garonne is supplied by Various tips and suggestions can also be found at

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