In the warm valleys of southwestern France, where the Dordogne, Isle and Lot rivers wriggle their way to the Atlantic, the lush landscape, sunny days and mild temperatures combine to produce perfect conditions for grapes and truffles.
Happily these are also ideal surroundings in which to linger and enjoy the world’s finest wines and the region’s gastronomic specialities. The names of the honey-coloured mediaeval towns, villages and châteaux of the Périgord are instantly recognisable to gourmets, from the vineyards of Bergerac and St-Émilion to the truffle stalls of Périgueux. Here, time is measured in vintages and happiness comes by the glass.
Spring is sunny but changeable, with May and June absolute perfection. Summer is busy but ideal for canoeing on the Dordogne. September and October see fine weather and the all-important grape harvest. Winters are usually wet and mild.