Surrounded by wooded hills, built on the right bank of a bend in the river Vézère, the welcoming little town of Le Bugue, with it's 3,000 inhabitants, is one of the main localities in the Périgord.
- Distance from Les Lavandes: 8 Kilometres Approx
- Market Day: Tuesday and Saturday (Smaller)
- Restaurants: Open March to November
- Village of Bournat
- Tourists Sites: Open March to November
- Map Grid: B2
Situated as it is at the crossroads of the Périgord, Le Bugue dominates the southern entrance of the Vézère valley and offers numerous possibilities to holiday makers. The town was completely transformed during the 19th century and in 1857, one of its own inhabitants, Léon Dessailles, an archivist and historian published its history. The little town was totally rebuilt, huddled around its churches of St. Marcel and St. Sulpice, and its convent situated just a little way down from the current bridge. Le Bugue is the home of the largest private aquarium in Europe, A reconstruction of a 19th century French village, some excellent restaurants and Martin Walker's fictional detective, Bruno Chief of Police.
Just on the ourskirts of the town they have constructed a living replica of a typical 19th century French village. Le Village du Bournat is unique, here you will find every day life and objects from a bygone age. Local craftsmen are on hand to demonstrate the dying arts and ancient skills of the Blacksmith, Tanner and Basket Weaver to name a few. A working farm with its ancient tools and implements, a School House with authentic furniture and toys, many of which are there to be played with, the church with its wedding in progress, the Walnut Oil Mill and the Still are all here, a whole microcosm of the French countyside as it was 100 years ago. On the same site are the Aquarium, a Pre-Historic Labyrinth and Jungle Golf. A little further along is the drop off and starting point for canoe and kayaking on the river.
There are a number of Pre-Historic sites in and around Le Bugue. One kilometre to the north-west, is Bara-Bahau cave. discovered in 1951 by the speleologist Norbert Casteret. In this 100 m long cavity formed from the soft crumbly rock, prehistoric artists engraved mysterious signs and outlines of aurochs, bears, bison, ibexes and horses with fingers, flint or sticks. Three kilometres to the south you will find the Gouffre de Proumeyssac. It is a vast limestone cavern almost 50 metres high, a large number of translucent stalactites which are still alive, thanks to a passing stream. Proumeyssac is a must for any visitor to the Périgord, you will not forget the experience of descending the chasm, from the summit, in a fragile basket!
Market day in Le Bugue is on Tuesday when the whole town comes to with the vibrant colours and smells of the local produce that is on display. This has become one of the best markets in the region. Here you can buy anything from a lawn mower to freshly cooked Paella and what better past time than to sit in one of the many cafès with a glass of wine or a "Chocolat Chaud" and watch the world go by.