The Dordogne has been referred to as the ‘Land of 1001 Chateaux’ and many fine examples are within easy reach of Monpazier.
Chateau de Biron is the closest, only (8 kms) away. Today Biron retains a 12th century keep, 16th century living quarters and vaulted kitchens. Its chapel is on two levels, the lower one for commoners and the higher for the lords.
Chateau des Milandes (36 km) was built around
1489 - until 1535, the lords of Caumont preferred to live here rather than in the larger - but rather cold and draughty - Castelnaud. It was purchased by Josephine Baker. The interior is filled with Baker memorabilia.
Outside, there is a pleasant garden and very good bird of prey show.
Chateau de Castelnaud (38 km), everyone’s vision of a fortified medieval castle, is perched on a rocky outcrop with commanding views over the Dordogne valley. The chateau features a Museum of War in the Middle Ages, with displays of weaponry including full size replica trebuchets (catapults), demonstrations of blacksmithing, videos on armour manufacture, etc.
Chateau de Beynac (43 km), established early in the 12th century, became a possession of Richard the Lionheart in 1189 when the lord of Beynac died without a direct heir. After Richard’s death it passed back to the Beynac family.
Chateau de Puymartin (46 km) was first established in 1270 but its present appearance owes much to a 19th century restoration in the neo-Gothic style.
Maison Forte de Reignac (55 km) is the only fully preserved ‘chateau falaise’ (cliff chateau) in France. The chateau’s façade was built beneath the overhang of the cliff and its rooms excavated from the rock.
Chateau et Jardins de Losse (62 km) is a fortified 15th century chateau, complete with moat. Its Renaissance hall has a fine collection of 16th and 17th century furniture, tapestries, weapons, etc. The terrace and gardens overlook the river Vézère and English language tours are conducted.
Les Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac (65 km) is a family home but its grounds, labelled the most beautiful gardens in the Perigord, are open to the public. The property has been in the same family for more than 500 years and its magnificent French gardens were established in the 18th century. The White Garden is mostly given over to white roses, complimented by fountains.
Les Jardins de Marqueyssac (45 km) is more noted for its gardens than the 17th century chateau, which is attractive but relatively modest. The chateau’s grounds feature extensive manicured boxwood hedges and topiary, in the romantic spirit of the 19th century. The garden walks, together with the chateau’s very good café, offer wonderful views of the Dordogne valley.
Many picturesque and historic villages lie within easy reach of Monpazier. Most villages have markets at least once each week.
Belves (16 km) shares Monpazier’s distinction in being listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Troglodyte caves, inhabited from the 13th to the 18th century, lie beneath the village’s central square. Tours are conducted in English.
Cadouin (16 km) is known for its Cistercian abbey, with its charming cloisters and central garden.
La Roque-Gageac (43 km) is strung along the base of a cliff on the Dordogne River.
Domme (44 km), is another "most beautiful villages of France’" This lovely bastide has stunning views over the Dordogne valley. Caves beneath the village have more than 400m of stalactite-filled galleries.
Sarlat-la-Caneda (52 km) has a medieval city centre featuring a central square with a striking covered market that was a church nave in a former life.
Other picturesque villages nearby that merit a visit, especially on market days, include Issigeac, Monflanquin, Beaumont-du-Perigord, Villereal and Villefranche-du-Perigord.
Gouffre de Proumeyssac (32 km) was known as ‘the Devil’s Hole’ as it emits a mist in winter, thought by locals to be smoke from the fires of hell. The cave is a huge cavern called the 'Cathedral of Crystal', with remarkable limestone formations including four huge stalactites. Headphones provide a commentary in English.
The Grotte du Grand Roc (40 km) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its main cavern has been
described as a fairy grotto with thousands of
delicate stalactites clinging to its ceiling.
Adjacent to the cave is the prehistoric shelter
of Abri de Laugerie Basse, first occupied by
Cro-Magnon Man 15,000 years ago.
Grotte de Rouffignac (48 km) also known as
the Cave of the Hundred Mammoths, is part of the most extensive cave system in the Périgord. Visitors take an electric train 2kms into the interior. The engravings and black contour drawings include 158 mammoths, bison, horses, woolly rhinoceros and humans.
Grotte de Lascaux II (70 km) is an exact replica of the real Lascaux cave, which is closed to visitors to prevent deterioration of its prehistoric paintings. The reproduction took 11 years to complete and is very accurate, as laser measuring instruments were used to ensure absolute precision. The polychrome paintings are striking and tours are conducted in English.
A Gabare is a wooden hulled barge used to transport cargo on the Dordogne river in the 18th and 19th centuries. Several companies offer river cruises using replica vessels from towns along the river, including La Roque-Gageac. Audio guides are usually available in English.
Filature de Belves (18 km) at Moulin du Cros near Belves is a wool spinning mill which was still in operation in the 1990s, producing quality yarn for the tapestry workshops of Aubusson. This example of the region’s industrial heritage has been preserved as a working museum and if you wish, you can try your hand at carding, spinning, weaving and felting.
Moulin de la Rouzique at Couze (24 km) is a paper mill established in the 15th century. It is now a paper museum with demonstrations of traditional paper making techniques.
Lac de Lougratte (25km) offers the nearest beach for cooling off on a hot day.
Golf courses can be found at Siorac-en-Perigord (27 km) and Mouleydier (35 km).
The area is ideal for cycling (not too many hills) and walking. Among other options are tennis, canoeing, hot air ballooning and horse riding.
A number of wineries are located approximately 40 kms from Monpazier. Many offer tastings and sales, some of the better known being Chateau de Monbazillac and Clos de Verdots. A visit to Monbazillac can include a tour of the chateau, built in 1550.
Monpazier has several excellent dining options in the village, offering quality dishes at very reasonable prices. There is a Michelin star restaurant in Trémolat, just 29kms away.