Looking towards St Cere and the Dordogne Valley


Where do we start when looking at the many events that take place in the area? Almost every village and town has its own programme of events throughout the year. Fairs, fetes, festivals and markets, the choice is enormous and many events are free or cost only a few euros.

The French are very keen on the arts and many villages have regular painting and sculpture exhibitions. There are also artist and pottery fairs in St Cere to stroll around, with everything from the traditional to the very contemporary!

It seems that almost every day during the summer there is a village fete somewhere. These often include entertainment from a band or two, the chance to sample some local food and often end with a firework display. We even have fetes devoted to cattle, horses and donkeys! Who can resist a baby donkey?

If music is your choice we have everything from local and national choirs performing in the church to Jazz, Blues, World Music and "Boogie-Woogie" festivals as well as local folk music and dance.

Each year during July and August, St Cere plays host to a very well respected festival of opera and classical music. For example the festival has included Verdi's Falstaff, Mozart's Les Petites noces de Figaro, chamber music and symphonies by Rossini, Mendelssohn and Mozart. Many of the concerts are set in the grounds of historic castles and chateaux. For more information click on the link Festival Lyrique De St Cere

Also definitely don't miss the famous celebration of African music each year in Cajarc. We defy anyone not to be carried away by the infectious music.

Probably one of the best days out for music lovers is a trip to the Boogie-Woogie Festival in Laroquebrou. Taking place over several days in August there are many free sessions in the bars and cafes where the musicians just play for the sheer love of the music.

Also in August is one of the biggest international Street Theatre Festivals in France if not Europe. The whole city of Aurillac is taken over by performers of every nationality and variety to provide a massive free festival of fun for everyone. We go every year and still have never seen everything going on - the programme is almost 24 hours long each day. Highly recommended!

Other regular events include a wonderful local arts and crafts event in the next village to us and the famous Strawberry Fair in Beaulieu sur Dordogne featuring the largest strwbarry tart in the world and more strawberries then you could eat in a lifetime.

Throughout the summer there are many brilliant firework displays with the best taking place at Autoire with an extraordinary musical firework display set against the dramatic limestone cliffs.

In September you must experience the collection of hot air balloons that take to the sky above the magical village of Rocamadour.

If you are interested in dogs the national police dog training academy is based in Gramat and provides an excellent free show once a week in the summer.

If you want to experience a proper French market then the best traditional markets take place each Saturday in Figeac and Brive-la-Gaillarde. In Figeac the market is smaller but you also have the opportunity to explore this wonderful historic town. For a large market with an enormous variety of locally produced food and wine then Brive is a must. Here you will find many small scale farmers selling their own cheese, bread, wine and fruit which is guaranteed to be fresh and delicious. The St Cere night market in August is a different experience altogether with brightly-lit colourful stalls and live music.

To find a bargain visit one of the regular antique or brocante fairs. Quality antiques are often cheaper here in France than in the UK - provided you have room in the car to take your purchase home!

For an extra special experience you must visit the local bird of prey sanctuary "Le Rocher des Aigles". Whilst we do not normally agree with captive birds this centre is well respected and has a breeding programme that has produced over 500 fledglings in 10 years. Here you will see at close quarters the amazing spectacle of eagles, buzzards and even condors flying high above the centre before swooping down to land in front of you. It really is nothing like you have seen before!

 

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