Call me on ‘01892 862069’ to personally discuss your next holiday - Deborah.




Established 1990

© Living French Holidays. Providing a friendly efficient and personal service in South West France since 1990


Come to this area of France and you are really in for a treat. This is a particularly quiet and beautiful part of South West France - an area noted for its stunning countryside and fertile valleys. It has been likened to rural England one hundred years ago. Throughout Aquitaine the imposing number of 'bastides' (fortified villages and small towns) are a reminder of the battles between France and England. Surrounded by ramparts the 'bastides' were often built on high ground, and Monsegur is a fine example of this.

Easy to get to. The nearest airports to Duras and Monségur are Bordeaux (Merignac Airport) - one hours drive. Bergerac - 50 minutes drive. Toulouse (Blagnac Airport) about two hours drive away. Bordeaux and Toulouse are both large international airports. Hire car desks are provided at the airports.

Eurostar goes to Paris from where it will also link you straight into the high-speed network in Lille, from where the TGV goes to Marmande and La Reole, the nearest stations to the farmhouses.

Self catering holidays in local French villages. Recent additions to our portfolio are Blanchet and Maison St Georges. Blanchet is situated in a valley near to Monsegur and Duras. This beautiful property offers a heated pool and accommodates 8/10 guests plus a baby.

Near to the houses are the towns of Monségur, Duras, Marmande, Eymet and Ste. Foye la Grande. Monsegur has its own cinema that shows an English language film once a month. Each town holds a colourful weekly day market, selling excellent local produce. In July and August many of the local towns and villages hold a weekly night market with entertainment where you can choose local produce to eat, dining at tables laid out in the square. These towns also offer a larger range of shops, including supermarkets, a good selection of bakers, restaurants, bars, banks, pharmacies, hairdressers and estate agents. The larger town of Marmande with a Leclerc hypermarket is about 20 minutes drive.

Monségur - historic, unspoilt and charming. Monsegur is a bastide town in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers vine-growing area. Its name means, "a hill where one feels secure". It is an ancient medieval city, founded in 1265, and overlooking the valley of the Dropt.

The iron covered market is 19th century and was built in two phases. From 1867 to 1872 the peripheral galleries were constructed then completed by the central skylight in 1897.

The governor's tower is hexagonally shaped and houses a staircase set in front of the main building. It was built at the end of the 15th century after the Hundred Years War and is an example of late Gothic style. Pilasters on either side of the door bear strange inscriptions, the meaning of which is unknown. The tympanum is decorated with a Tudor arch. In one angle a bartizan rests on a corbel in the form of a griffin. The weathervane, a privilege of the nobility, dates from the revolution.

Parallel to the main axes, the alleyways marked out the depth of the building lots (8.6m x 25.8m). In the most typical of them, Ruet (back lane) du Soleil you can still see corbels that once supported wooden footbridges. There are various half-timbered houses with a wooden framework filled in with a mixture of rags, rubble and bricks. Sometimes, the wood was coated with bull's blood to help preserve it.

Notre-Dame church. Built at the end of the 13th century at the same time as the bastide. The oldest parts are in the adjoining chapels, where the crowned Lion of England may be seen in the chapel of the baptismal fonts. The spire, rose window, vault, paintings and leaded windows were all replaced in the 19th century in the neo-Gothic style.

In Monségur the rampart walk (chemin de ronde) offers a circular stroll around the ramparts with some stunning far-reaching views.

During the summer months fetes are held in nearby villages and towns when sometimes the town square plays host to visiting bands. Visit Monségur's annual 24 hr. Jazz and Swing Weekend that normally takes place over the first weekend in July, with up to 30 bands. View:

Around Duras and Monségur: About 30 to 45 minutes drive away are Eymet, Bergerac and St. Emilion, all well worth exploring. St. Emilion is our favourite and to give you a flavour of this medieval town, during most of the year an open sided tourist tram takes you on a short interesting tour of the ancient cobbled streets and nearby famous vineyards - English commentary. It also has the largest underground monolithic church in Europe, hewn out of a solid limestone cliff between the 8th and 12th centuries. In our opinion, St. Emilion has grabbed the world's share of excellent restaurants and history.

For a day's sightseeing, clients interested in excavation sites and prehistoric caves will find an excellent selection. Visit a local tourist office for details.

Aquitaine - land of water: The third largest region in France Aquitaine is famous for having the longest beach in Europe, a multitude of healing hot springs, dozens of inland rivers and a string of large lakes. Sitting on 270km of Atlantic coastline, the region's western edge consists of one long expanse of sandy beach stretching as far as the eye can see. Known as the Cote d'Argent (silver coast) it is a source of joy not only to swimmers but also to surfers and body boarders. Its high, rolling breakers make it one of the best surfing spots in Europe. Dune de Pyla, at 3km long and 100m high the largest natural dune in Europe, attracts thousands of hang gliders as well as sand boarders. The beaches are 1.5 to 2 hours drive from the properties. The Bassin d'Arcachon, an ornithological park, is the only one of a series of ten lakes close to the coast that opens out to the Atlantic. It is also the centre of oyster farming. The small town of Gujan Mestras is known for its Maison l'Huitre (Oyster Museum), and throughout July and August this area has oyster fetes in most of the local towns and villages.

The Landes Forest is designated a regional natural park and is a treasure trove of flora and fauna, including more than 260 species of migratory birds in the Teich Bird Reserve. A leisurely cycle among the sun-streamed pines is a memorable experience. There are 500km of cycle tracks stretching from the mouth of the Garonne to the Spanish border, most of them far from the traffic of the roads. La Reole, about 20 minutes drive from Monsegur, has a cycle track leading to Bordeaux.

Good food and drink in abundance: The area abounds with excellent vineyards, restaurants and weekly markets. The region is noted for its seasonal strawberries, melons, tomatoes & asparagus. Also cheese, 'foie gras' (goose liver pate), duck dishes such as 'confit de canard' and 'magret de canard'.

Not only is the region famous for wines (Bordeaux, Duras, Entre-deux-Mer and Sauternes), but it also produces excellent prunes, 'Pruneaux d'Agen'. Bordeaux is the largest fine wine producing area in the world and visited by connoisseurs from all over the world, having over 3,000 wine 'chateaux'. St. Emilion is worth visiting with its famous vineyards and chateaux, many producing excellent grand cru wines. See  Every year Bordeaux, normally at the end of June/beginning of July, has a Wine Festival on the banks of the Garonne. The festival ground extends over more than 29 acres, with a tented village. 300,000 visitors are expected and they will sample the very best vintages from Bordeaux and the region. At nightfall there will be four nights of free live shows (including classical, variety and pop) in the Place des Quinconces, entertainment, parades, wine-barrel race and firework display. For further details see the official website

The city of Bordeaux is a magnificent example of 18th century grandeur with its ancient quarters, wide avenues and numerous historical monuments, including the elegant Grand Theatre (Opera House). It has some excellent restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, botanical garden, well known churches, museums and art galleries, a good shopping centre and, for antique hunters, an area well known for its antiques.

The region is blessed with three UNESCO World Heritage sites, all within 20 minutes of Bordeaux - Port de la Lune in Bordeaux, St. Emilion and Blaye Citadel.

Bergerac Airport has a parachute club, whilst Eymet has an English Cricket Club and welcomes visitors. Bikes can be hired locally with delivery direct to the client's holiday farmhouse. Most towns have a Tourist Office with brochures of things to do including routes for walks and bike rides.


The temperate climate is usually very agreeable, with warm weather normally beginning as early as April or May and lasting well into September and October for the grape harvest, 'vendange'. During the hot summer days there is usually a refreshing breeze. The swimming pools at the farmhouses we have available for rental are normally open for swimming between May and the end of September or early October, depending on water temperatures.


Horse riding, fishing, clay pigeon shooting and canoeing are all within easy reach, and the Atlantic coastline offers facilities for surfing and windsurfing. For golfers there are a selection of private and municipal courses, details of which are in the House Book at each property. One of the best courses is at Chateau de Vigiers -

Levignac-de-Guyenne has a public tennis court, whilst Monsegur has 6 floodlit public courts.


This is just a very brief introduction to an area that really does offer something for everyone. More detailed local information on much of the above, including vineyards, restaurants, beaches, sporting facilities and places of historic interest are included in information sent to you after you have booked a holiday.

The French Government Tourist Office's site is  For details on the Aquitaine area please contact the French Tourist Office or see

For a taste of Bordeaux you may care to visit:

For details on Duras & Lot-et-Garonne visit: &

For private catering, wine tours and culinary experiences see

Whetted your appetite?  View our portfolio of properties at

Living French Holidays wish you 'Bon Voyage'.

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