OK, so one of the gems of French rural life are the markets. This area is recognised as the Gastronomic centre of France with particular focus on cheese, especially goat cheese, duck, foie gras, prepared meats (be brave and try an Andouillette, a sausage stuffed with intestines!), vegetables and fruit (the local strawberry’s are fantastic).
See what the area has to offer (it is always seasonal), try something new and practice your French.
There are markets most days of the week dotted about the place and each has a distinctive feel and flavour and are worth stopping for. However, in peak periods, the markets get very busy. If possible, get there early and shop with the locals, and then get your place in the café and watch the world go by.
Piegut: Wednesday morning, 10 mins away. One of the largest in the Dordogne, it sells everything, with the focus on the produce of the area, produced by small operations. So plenty of cheese, prepared meats, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as fashion items from the 1950’s, leather goods from the south and livestock a plenty. Parking is free and the market is pedestrianised, so ideal for wandering aimlessly. The "Cave" ( wine shop) in Piegut does a great trade on Wednesdays and you can take in your own bottles and containers and have them filled with a choice of local and regional wines at a very reasonable price! They also sell superb Cognac and Armagnac.
Brantome: Friday mornings, 40 mins away. A busy and varied market and straddling the crystal clear river besides the monastery, built partially into the steep gorge walls, is particularly picturesque. In the winter months there is a truffle market.
Nontron: Saturday mornings, 20 mins away. Popular with the locals and spread through the streets, you can combine the visit with the Nontron knife museum.
These are just the local markets. Most of the villages and the nearby cities of Angouleme, Limoges, Perigueux and Thiviers all hold large markets, which we will be happy to advise on.
In addition to the general markets, during the Summer months there are some special markets which are worth visiting.
Nontron African Night Market: In the middle of July, this vibrant market has a focus on all things African. The old square and surrounding streets are filled with an eclectic mix of people, food, goods and street bars and with the steady beat from several bands in the background make this a special night.
Montbron Night Market: In the middle of August, Montbron (20 mins) hosts a massive night market. Selling everything you never knew you needed, along with some wonderful art and pottery from the area, this market has an artisan feel to it. Go with the flow, grab some street food, dance to one of the bands and have a drink or two.
Busserolles Night Market: We have our very own night market in August. Featuring stalls selling local produce, with mussels and chips (or sausages and chips) served on massive tables in the square, and dancing into the night!
Fireworks: During the the Summer months, celebrating Bastille Day and more, many large markets combine fair ground attractions and fireworks, which can be big affairs and are all free! Detailed below are some of our favorites:
Oradour Sur Vayre: A massive market, travelling fair and large firework display – a perfect night out! The fireworks start at dusk but get there early – this one is popular.
Busserolles: A smaller affair in the middle of July, it features a small fair for the younger visitors and fireworks over the lake. A relaxed affair.
Bussiere Badil: Similar to Busserolles but during the day some of the retired farmers drag out the old machinery and demonstrate to the youngsters (anyone under the age of 60!) how farming used to be done. Fascinating to watch, the inherent danger small farmers faced is demonstrated all too well! Fireworks in the evening.
Vide Grenier / Artisan Markets: The french love their flea markets and car-boot sales and there are often several to choose from in this area every weekend during the summer. They are great places to pick up a bit of vintage french nostalgia and shabby chic items you would usually only see in auction houses back home.
The following websites list all upcoming car-boot sales in our region if you wanted to investigate possibilities before you arrive:
Most villages in the area host some form of celebration during the Summer months, usually in the form of a Night Market. Its a great way to see the locals celebrate as they tend to be relatively tourist free. Please ask us for more information.