Tradition, Truffles & Charm in Riberac
Tucked away in the North of the Dordogne, slightly off the well-worn British tourist track, lies Riberac, a gem of a town that retains much of the charm and tradition that first drew cross-channel visitors to this beautiful region of France.
A Slower Pace of Life
You must visit on market day, when Riberac becomes a bustling place packed with stalls selling locally produced items including cheese, foie gras, wine, ceramics and vegetables, you will be captivated by the gentle pace of life in this town and its elegant stone-built properties with their red-tiled roofs.
Unhurried locals sit, chat and exchange pleasantries as they pick up provisions from the boulangeries, patisseries and shops, taking time to sit outside cafes in the market square, sipping coffee and watching the world go by.
Riberac is the perfect antidote to modern British city life and a breath of fresh air for visitors who have only ever experienced the more crowded corners of “Dordogne-shire”.
Dordogne for Foodies
North Dordogne is an indulgent destination for foodies thanks in no small part to one of the region’s most sought-after specialities, truffles. To the east of Riberac is the Dordogne’s truffle capital, Sorges, which even has its own museum dedicated to the story of the black Périgord truffle, a delicacy that can change hands in season for hundreds of pounds. Here the shops sell truffle jam, truffle mustard and truffle chutney all year round with truffle festivals taking place when fresh truffles are in season.
This part of the Dordogne is also well-known for its plantations of walnuts, an ingredient that make a frequent appearance in dishes on the menus of restaurants throughout the region.
Off the Beaten Track
Riberac may feel like a hidden treasure but it is actually just over 30 miles from Bergerac and its international airport so is easy to reach from regional UK cities. Once here, the natural delights of the Dronne river and nearby Foret de la Double can be explored and there are many Romanesque churches to discover.
Not far from Riberac is the very pretty riverside village of Brantôme, built on an island on the Dronne river, which has gained the nickname the “Venice of Périgord”. Take a boat down one of its many waterways, travelling beneath stone arched bridges, take a look at the magnificent abbey with its 11th Century bell tower and follow in the footsteps of pilgrims who pass through here on the way of Saint James en-route to Santiago in Spain.
Other places worth exploring are the much-photographed village of Lusignac with its medieval church and chateau and Aubeterre sur Dronne which is listed as one of the most picturesque villages in France thanks in part to its impressive hillside church carved out of the rock.
This part of France is sprinkled with delightful towns and villages and a drive in almost any direction will take you through sleepy communities and past medieval churches, Roman ruins and ancient castles. If you like history and countryside, you will love Riberac and, when you fancy a change of scene, the delights of the Loire Valley in one direction and the Pyrénées in the other are just an hour or two away.