Bergerac: A few good reasons (to visit)

The town of Bergerac (remember Cyrano de Bergerac?) lies west of Daglan, and I’ve learned that you can pretty much count on one and a quarter hours for the drive.

So it’s not a place we go on a whim (as we might, say, to Sarlat or Gourdon), but we do get to Bergerac fairly often. If you haven’t been, here are a few good reasons to go, including a new one (for me, anyway).

It’s a transport hub. The Bergerac airport is pretty much the centre of air traffic between the Greater Daglan Area and the U.K. My wife Jan and I flew from there on a recent trip to Southampton, en route to the Isle of Wight. This past Saturday, we drove our friends Joanne and Chris, and their daughter Eleanor, to a hotel in Bergerac where they would spend the night, before flying home on Sunday.

A restaurant we love. Since we knew we’d be in Vieux Bergerac on the Saturday, we made a reservation for lunch at a favourite restaurant, La Table du Marché. (See Helpful Note to Readers at the end of this posting.) There are other fine restaurants in the area, but we particularly like this one. Here’s how I described it in an earlier posting:

La Table du Marché is a relatively small restaurant, just across the street from the covered market (hence the marché) in the centre of vieux Bergerac. The style is contemporary, but comfortable. The chef and owner is a Parisian, Stéphane Cuzin, who learned his craft at starred restaurants in France and Belgium — and learned it very well. His food is clever, creative, fresh, and delicious.

It’s so good that on August 29 of last year, I posted “A chef who keeps upping his game,” to highlight just how inventive the chef is. This past Saturday, a lunch highlight for me was the main course of Cochon Ibérico, which I chose from the à la carte menu for 28 euros, and thought it was worth every centime. It was perfectly cooked, tender, and flavourful, with a sprinkling of crunchy salt and some nice accompaniments. Here it is:

Perfectly cooked pork, topped with a salty crunch.

A great place to shop. On the outskirts of Bergerac there’s a small plaza which contains, among other things, a specialized supermarket called Grand Frais. This is a food-only place — no laundry detergent, toilet paper, soaps and so on — and its focus is on high quality and a good selection. Here we find things we can’t seem to locate in supermarkets anywhere near us — fresh herbs, lemongrass, crayfish from Louisiana, and so on.

My latest discovery. This past Saturday, after dropping off our friends at their hotel, Jan and I went to the plaza with the Grand Frais store. While Jan was doing a light food shopping, I wandered into this wine shop (perhaps just 75 metres or so from the food store) and was, well, delighted. Here’s a look at the place:

At last — a wide choice of wines!

So, why was I so happy? Because, at last, I’ve found a wine store in the Greater Daglan Area that doesn’t focus on local wines. There were shelves with wines from all parts of France (clearly marked and well organized) and — get this — wines from other countries. Yes, countries that most French wine merchants have never heard of, like Italy and Australia. As you can imagine, Jan and I are planning a major dual-purpose shopping trip, to Grand Frais and the comptoir des vignes.

Helpful Note to Readers. If you haven’t already tried it, consider using the Search box at the right-hand top of this blog. It works very well. For instance, if you enter the words La Table du Marché (with the accent), you will be directed to all the blog postings I’ve written that include reviews, or even brief mentions, of the restaurant. The same goes for any other topic that interests you.

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This entry was posted in Food, French food, Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in France, Restaurants in the Dordogne, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bergerac: A few good reasons (to visit)

  1. Paul says:

    Hi Loren
    Agree about La Table du Marché, always on our list when we visit Bergerac. On our recent visit L’Imparfait was also producing great food. The lunch menu at €29 euro was excellent value; the bland sounding ‘Florentine spinach baked eggs’ was the standout dish of our whole holiday. If you’re after a cheaper option in Bergerac then Une cuillere pour maman is a good option. Tucked away in the corner of pretty Place du Feu, all the food is home cooked (mother’s kitchen!). It has a sort of ‘concept’ explained by the waiter which is basically that you can order one or more ‘small dishes’ from the menu which come with a number of accompanying side salads. In my experience one small dish was enough as you’ll want to leave space for the excellent desserts. Good food, lovely atmosphere and great value. Also in the same square is Villa Laetitia, offering many of the usual Perigordine favourites but cooked with a good deal of skill and panache. The interior is interesting, more grand country house than French bistro.
    Also when you’re next in the Issigeac area I can strongly recommend a visit to L’Ancienne Gare. Fairly un-prepossessing from the road, but wonderful, skilful, assured cooking from the chef. Based on our recent trip it’s by far and away the best of the restaurants in the town (followed by La Bruceliere. Chez Alain was dreadful!)
    Best
    Paul

  2. Double D's says:

    We have to know, does the wine store carry the international benchmark Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio and how is it priced? I am sure you recall that our mutual friend Rob uses this as a point of reference when travelling and assessing how various regions price wine. We have been doing the same ever since learning this secret of the well travelled.

  3. Paul says:

    Just wondered, have you visited Julien de Savignac in Le Bugue? One of THE great wine stores (and the inspiration for the wine shop in the novel The Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker) with an unsurpassed (and unaffordable!) selection of Petrus
    Paul

    • loren24250 says:

      Yes, have visited the Le Bugue store. Certainly large, and the collection of Petrus wines was amazing. In fact, I vaguely remember writing a blog posting about it. But I still found it very Bergerac-oriented, and not as “worldly” as I’d like. So I’ll head back to the Bergerac wine store first. In a much smaller space (than the Le Bugue place) it seemed to have more to offer. At least for my tastes.

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