La Min-sú de Terrasson

retreat, reflect, refresh

What 'n when

hen is the best time to visit?’, is a question we were being asked often. Sounds like a simple question, the answer isn’t that simple though. The best time to visit depends a lot on what you would like to do 'n see. Unlike cosmopolitan cities, life here is very much attached to the climate, natural resources and terroir.

Every season offers different attractions and an experience on its own. On this page we bring together the information regarding the climate, tourist seasons (European school holidays), opening and closing of major attractions as well as seasonal products, activities and festivals.

The Dordogne is located in the Southwest of France, which means a pleasantly moderate climate with the cooling influence of the Atlantic in Summer and warming effects in Winter. It does not have the extreme heat and drought of the Southeast (no Mistral) with its heatwaves and forest fires, but a regular supply of rain (normally in patches you can plan around) keeping the landscape green and air clean.

Luckily there are plenty of attractions for those 'rainy days' like the (natural and prehistoric decorated) caves, underground rivers, and other subsurface cultural and natural heritages or city trips.'

Calendar of seasonal local produce
CheeseWine BreadDuck & goose Walnut Foie gras Black truffle Cèpe Apple Cherry Cherry blossom Chestnut European blackberry Fig Girolle Grape Green & yellow plum Poppy Strawberry Summer truffle Sunflower Walnut

The 'seasons'

We like to divide the year into five parts that do not necessarily follow the natural seasons. Practically, we are closed between November and March as these are the least attractive months.

  • Winter the period of December, January and February we would like to call 'winter', and is the least attractive time to visit. Except for searching winter truffles and visiting some of the most restricted caves around Les Eyzies the season is good for hiking, if you do not mind short dark days, occasional frost (though seldom snow), mist and a good chance of rain. It is the time of year almost all attractions are closed and local people use to go on their holidays or do maintenance and building work.

  • The two months of March and November that often do provide short but nice days, a good time to hike, see nature wake-up in early Spring, or descent into winter in the late Autumn. This period has its attractions for those wanting to take a chance, but could have you holed-up next to the fire with a hot chocolate, glass of red wine and a good book/conversation.

  • Spring, the months April, May and June are indeed a very nice time to visit as nature awakes and the weather is generally fine (though nights can be too cool for those camping). Most attractions start to open, but outside the national holidays it is quiet (good for those would like to avoid crowds). Good time to hike, cycle, and you can pick the right day for kayaking. Speaking about 'picking', this is the season to go out and pick cherries, strawberries and girolle mushrooms! :D

  • Summer, July and August are the school holidays and half Europe heads South for the better weather, whiles the other half heads Northwest to escape the heat. This is the time of year half the car registration plates are from outside France, it can be quite hot & crowded, but atmosphere is great! Everything is open, terraces, cafes… are full of smiling people, a lot of activities are organized. If you like being in a crowd or need the crowd to affirm that the place you are visiting is indeed a popular tourist attraction, this is the time! ;D

    Forget visiting the limited caves around Les Eyzies in summer, unless you are prepared to sleep in front of the ticket office. Please book Lascaux IV (world famous  cave duplicate with pre-historic multi-colours paintings, a masterpiece of modern technology, archeology & art) well in advance through internet, and allow us time to phone around and make reservations for kayaking and other site visits. The long days give you the opportunity to go for a walk after dinner as the sun is out till 10pm and starts to loose its bite a little by the evening.

  • Autumn, September and October are still a great time to visit as nature prepares for winter. Juicy apples, golden walnuts and sweety chestnut…etc. are ready for harvest and as leaves on the trees start to turn orange, red and yellow, various kinds of mushrooms pop-up around the forest. Have you dreamed of hiking, biking, kayaking, visiting attractions, taking photos, writing poems, painting… embraced by the poetic & picturesque scenery. ;)

Festivals and activities.

French National Holdays 2019
New Year’s Day Jan 1
Good Friday April 19
Easter Monday April 21
Labour Day May 1
V-E Day May 8
Ascension Day May 30
Pentecost Monday June 10
Bastille Day July 14
Assumption Day August 15
All Saints Day November 1
Armistice Day November 11
Christmas Day December 25
St. Stephens Day December 26
Local Festivals 2019
Truffle festival, Sarlat January 18 - 20
Sarlat Fest'oie (goose Festival) March 2 - 3
In the footsteps of the millers
Hicking, watermill visits, local lunch and demonstrations
April 6 - 7
European mills and heritage days
May 14 - 18
Days of small cultural heritage
June 22 - 23
Gignac windmill and flea market
July 7
Transhumance July 21
Festival Cultures aux cœurs - Montignac July 29 - August 4
Fête des vieux métiers à Salignac Last Monday of July & first two Mondays of August
68th Festival des Jeux du Théâtre de Sarlat July 20 - August 5
European Heritage Days September 14 - 15
Authumn Festival October (exact date TBA)
Potters' Markets in Dordogne, Corréze & Lot 2019.
Ayen May 19
Bussière-Badil May 30 - June 2
Cardaillac June 10
Cajarc July 27-28
Limeuil July 27-28
Beauregard-de-Terrasson July 28
Argentat August 3-4
Saint-Cére August 8-9
Bauronne August 17-18
Uzerch-les-Oules August 18

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