This lively french campsite is set in beautiful woodland with views of the beautiful Dordogne countryside. The site has a reputation for high standards and was one of just four Eurocamp parcs recently promoted to Five star status. The buildings, which house the reception, shop, bar and traditional "auberge", are built from beautiful, golden stone in the style of this region. There is a fantastic pool complex with an indoor tropical-style swimming pool, a ‘lazy river’ and waterslides. The site has some great sporting facilities including a football pitch, basketball court, golf driving range and putting green. The site has a full programme of entertainment including disco and karaoke nights. This is a Les Castels French campsite and we think its one of the best French campsites we've been to!
The nearest village is the busy tourist village of Le Bugue which is 6 kms away.
Some of the mobile home plots towards the centre of the site are not as spacious as you might like. However on a plus there is a lot of "green space" on the rest of the site. There is plenty for kids to do, including Eurocamp kids clubs (double check details with Eurocamp) as well as activities laid on by the campsite itself. The site is popular with British and Dutch holidaymakers. The site is quite a distance from a lot of the main tourist attractions in this area. However there is plenty to do on the site and the excellent range of evening entertainments finish for the night at a reasonable time of 11pm. The restaurants and takeaway are good as well if you feel like a night off from self catering !
Booking Your Holiday
The St Avit Loisirs Campsite is in the Dordogne region of South West France.
If you are going to drive, perhaps with an overnight stop, then here are the distances from the Channel Ports:
- • Calais: 803 km
- • Bilbao: 498 km
- • St Malo: 584 km
- • Roscoff: 719 km
- • Caen: 588 km
- • Cherbourg: 707 km
- • Le Havre: 667 km
- • Bergerac 44 km
- • Bordeaux: 176 km
- • Limoges: 129 km
- • Train station: Le Bugue 6 Km
- • Services to: Bordeaux, Paris, Bergerac
Things to Do in the Area
The Dordogne département is found within the Aquitaine region of the southwest corner of France. The region is often referred to as Périgord, a name used for the region before the French revolution. It is a lovely area to visit and there is much to see as well as just taking in the lovely countryside The rocks of the area are made of limestone, a relatively soft rock, and rivers have cut through the rocks leaving fantastic cliffs and vast systems of caves. Some of these caves have been found to contain prehistoric cave paintings. The area is famous for its cuisine, including truffles and foie gras and you will also find that duck and goose are a favourite in this region.
There are many chateau to visit in the Dordogne. The Dordogne is just inland from Bordeaux, so wine is no problem. There is a famous dessert wine produced at Monbazilac, and cheap, drinkable reds are produced around Bergerac. There are many places you may want to visit including the Lascaux caves, the Marqueyssac gardens, medieval Sarlat, Chateau Castelnaud, the prehistoric caves in the Vezere Valley and the gouffre de Padirac caves.
If you are energetic, you may want to try canoeing the Dordogne. There are also lovely towns and villages to visit with the most popular being Bergerac, Brantome, Excideuil, La Roque-Gageac, Le Bugue, Riberac, Rocamadour and Sarlat.
The famous Lascaux caves are a 23 miles or 46 minutes drive from the campsite. The original Lascaux cave was closed to the public in 1968 to preserve it but a brilliant replica has been built 200 metres away. Everything has been reproduced as accurately as possible, including the temperature which is kept at 13 degrees C. The animals depicted in the paintings are mainly horses, deer and bulls. The caves are one of the most renowned archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. They were discovered in 1940 by teenagers when one of their dogs chased a rabbit into the caves.
A fantastic, realistic online version (the best thing I've seen on the internet so far!) of the caves can be viewed here: http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/?lng=en#/fr/00.xml
Sarlat (19 miles/36 minutes drive)
Sarlat is the capital of Perigord Noir. It has 1,000 years of history in its buildings, with fine examples of medieval and renaissance buildings built in the yellow/golden limestone with grey roofs that is typical of this region. Another fine example of architecture is the cathedral, which was erected in the reign of Henry IV.
There is an excellent market that takes place on Saturdays in Sarlat. It takes place in the "Place de la Liberte" marketplace which is surrounded by mediaeval buildings. The market stalls also stretch down the Rue de la Republique. The market stalls with their colourful canopies sell a selection of local produce ! The smells and tastes of the food make this a must on a visit to this area. There is also a smaller market on Wednesdays, mostly in the area around the Place de la Liberte, and there is a covered market daily in the former Saint Marie church also on the Place de la Liberte. Sarlat has a Christmas market in December and in January or February there is also a truffle and foie gras market at the Place Boissarie on Saturdays mornings.
It is about 1hr and 45 minutes drive to this fantastic village built on a hillside.
Bergerac (32 miles - about an hours drive)
Bergerac was the capital of Perigord until the French Revolution. You can visit the old town of Bergerac with its 14th, 15th and 16th Century buildings. This area is well known for its wine production. It is also well known for the story of Cyrano de Bergerac and every year in July there is a Gastronomic Festival "Cyrano's Table" where you can enjoy sampling some local produce.
Aquarium de Perigord Noir
Close to the campsite at Le Bugue, you will find Europe's largest private aquarium with more than 30 separate aquariums displaying over 3,000 fish from all around the world. There is also an Iguana Park where you can view a variety of reptiles.
Château de Castelnaud
The most popular château in southern france. Built high on a hill in the 13th century it changed hands many times. The Château has been home to the Museum of Medieval Warfare since 1985 where you can view such things as siege equipment and trebuchets. Demonstrations of the trebuchet are sometimes given in the summer which should prove popular ! There is a magnificent view from the chateau over the Dordogne Valley.
Le Gouffre de Padirac
The Gouffre de Padirac is a natural limestone cave. 103 metres down to the river - by lift or stairs - to the start of the tour. The visit lasts 1.5hrs and is 2km long Restaurants shops and picnic area.
Le Gouffre de Proumeyssac
This is found to the south of Le Bugue, near the village of Audrix. There is no prehistoric art in this cave, but you can view the stalactites in this impressive cave as well as some interesting crystalline formations. It is in a spectacular position, high in a cliff, and can be accessed by a man-made tunnel.
Grotte de Pech-Merle
These caves include paintings of dappled horses and outlines of human hand prints from 25,000 BC. Guided visits are given from Easter until October and numbers are restricted to 700 a day so its definitely advisable to book ahead during July and August. The guided visit lasts an hour and is done on foot. The access stair to the tour has 40 steps down and back up. The tour distance is around 400m, broken up by stops to view the panels and paintings. For more information about the caves please visit their website at: http://www.pechmerle.com/english/
Musée National de Préhistoire
The National Museum of Prehistory which reflects ever expanding archeological research. It is the most important collection of items from the Paleolithic era in France.
Theme park which traces the evolution of man from 1500BC. You can watch craftsmen using only the tools which would have been available at the time.
Le Thot - Espace Cro Magnon
Situated 7 km from Montignac this centre is a valuable first stop before visiting the numerous prehistoric sites in the Périgord. You can view animals here which are similar in appearance to the species which lived in the wmammoth at le thot dordogneild in this region during the Upper Paleolithic Age and which you are likely to see when viewing the art of that time in cave paintings. You will be able to see animals such as reindeer, the European bison, the aurochs, the Przewalski horses, the Tarpan horses, the ibex, the red deer and the fallow deer. There are also replicas of extinct species such as the mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. There are often activities to take part in such as art workshops and replica archaeological digs.
This waterpark at Souillac has 6 pools and a variety of slides as well as mini golf, trampolines, pedal boats etc. and a restaurant. There is a high ropes course adjacent to the waterpark. For more information please visit their website in advance to plan your activities: http://www.copeyre.com/index.php?lang=en
The same website will also show canoe hire on the Dordogne River with Copeyre Canoë, who offer various options to canoe along the river. There are also details of a corn maze "The Labyrinth of the Hermit", 10 minutes from Sarlat.
Les Jardins de Marqueyssac
The "hanging" gardens in the grounds of the Château de Marqueyssac are some of the best kept gardens in France. They were modelled on Italian gardens by Julien de Cerval who inherited the property in 1861. There are 6kms of walks and wonderful views. There is a candlelit walk which takes place in July and August on Thursday evenings.
Château de Milandes
Old home of Josephine Baker the famous musical hall singer. Built 1489 in a wooded region between Castelnaud & Berbiguiéres. Falconry displays several times per day. Restaurant on site. Night flights to observe the chateau from the house's own captive hot air balloon.
Château de Hautefort
One of the most prestigious châteaux in southwest france, classified as a historical monument. Built between 1630 and 1670. Surrounded by superb gardens.
Château de Monbazillac
Visit this chateau with its vineyard and its fantastic views over the Dordogne Valley.