What’s to do?

Set in the centre of the small village of Fontaines, the name is what it is. Only 200m from the house there is a fresh water spring, forming a 4 metre wide river at the bottom of the garden. From the source, the La Lizonne is a tributary to the river Dronne. Fontaines has 50 houses and is twinned with Champagne (3.7 kms) to form the commune of Champagne et Fontaines. A combined total of 407 inhabitants, set in rural France, surrounded by fields of rapeseed in spring, sunflowers, wheat and maize during summer ~ a yellow haze of colour set with a backdrop of beautiful blue sky.

There are lots of walks along quiet lanes or footpaths, gentle rolling countryside for cycling. Any fishing fanatic will already know of the areas splendid rivers. The nearest bar is in Champagne (3.7 kms), a typical Tabac, serving good wine and beer until the early hours, or as the locals know it, ‘until last man standing’.

The nearest supermarket and petrol station is Super U, in Ville-bois Lavallette (8.4 kms), a small town with a stunning chateau built on top of the hill, dating back to Roman times, an old wooden covered market place dating back to the 16th century, hosting a small but lively market every Saturday morning.

A little further afield in the Dordogne is Vertilliac (12 kms), a small town with newsagent, post office, bakery, butcher and Le Calice; set in the centre of the town, a busy, watch the world go by, people- watching restaurant and bar, serving both British and French menus. A few kilometers further on (24 kms) is Riberac, known for its busy market days.

Brantome (31 kms) is a tourist must, known as “The Venice of the Dordogne”. Walk around the town, enjoy one of the many restaurants, taking a coffee or wine sitting alongside the river Dronne; visit the Benedictine Abbey which was founded in 769 AD. or purchase something in one of the many artisan shops. Maybe hire a kayak and challenge yourself to rowing around the town or further, down to Bourdeilles (9 kms), a small town with a lovely chateau open to the public.

At Aubeterre-sur-Dronne (25 kms), a pretty little town set on a rocky crag, is a lovely town square with mature trees providing shade while you take a break for a coffee or lunch at one of the many restaurants. At the foot of the hill is the river Dronne with a lovely sandy beach and picnic area, canoes on hire for those who wish to explore.

Perigueux, the capital of the Dordogne, is only (47 kms away. Built around the 12th century cathedral and set on a hill overlooking the Dronne, with narrow streets offering artisan shops, a twice weekly, thriving market, shady squares and restaurant, wonderful architecture, theatre and cheap parking.

Or just take a drive, stopping at one of the man-made safe bathing and picnic areas alongside a river, count the fish, admire the kingfishers and herons from the riverbank.

Visit one of the many Romanesque churches, chateaus, or vineyards. There is so much to do.

Catch an impromptu music night or planned music festival, a fete in one of the many little villages, an evening producers’ market offering all sorts of tasty food products, locally grown or caught, cooked on site. Enjoy your meal sitting on one of the long picnic tables with the locals tasting the local wine or Pineau.

It is your holiday, so perhaps you would prefer to relax and sunbathe alongside the heated pool, listening only to the bees, watching the butterflies, you may even catch a glimpse of a wild boar, deer or hare. In late spring or early summer the evenings are full of song from the nightingales singing under the most beautiful, clear skies, filled with thousands of stars. The tranquility of the Priuere des Dames and village will cast a spell on you, willing you to return to the area time and time again.