Places to Visit

So, what can you do while on holiday in this part of France?


Have you been to the Dordogne, leave us a comment of your favourite thing to do or place to visit below in the comments. We would love to hear from you and no doubt you’d be helping others too!

Domaine du Sourire is situated within the Dordogne department but is close to the Charente department. This gives our guests the best of both worlds, all within easy reach.

There is a plethora of articles around the internet of things to do in Dordogne and Charente so there is not a lot of point to me overloading you with the same information but I will include some links at the end.

From what we have seen on our travels in this area there are lots of historic and beautiful towns and villages to visit, where you can meander medieval streets, visit old and amazing monuments, even prehistoric caves! Then you can easily find a café, take a break from all the activities on offer, order un Café, or  un chocolat-chaud or un vino… grab a seat outside and enjoy one of the best loved  French pastimes – people watching! Relax and watch the world go by!

It goes without saying you will not have to go far to find a Chateau or gardens with the most beautiful blooms.

If picnics are your thing then find a grassy spot, or a beach by the river and enjoy.

Should the kids want some water fun there are water theme parks, or you can take a boat trip or go canoeing and kayaking for the more adventurous. Perhaps water is not the thing for you? Why not try a hot air balloon trip.

Shopping – lots of markets and brocantes and of course Bordeaux, Angouleme, Bergerac and Périgueux are all within easy reach.


Family time can be spent leisurely cycling the beautiful country roads or well-marked safe cycling routes enjoying the peace and tranquillity. What could be better than to jump on your bike and enjoy exploring. Just imagine the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair as you cycle through fields of sunflowers and vineyards!

There is something for all abilities, interests and ages!

The Dordogne is renowned for its love of food and you can dine out in one of many fine restaurants. Eating out with children can be expensive but to keep costs down try the evening markets in July and August. These are great fun and very reasonably priced. Plus, as they are outdoors and very relaxed, children can run around and make a noise and generally enjoy themselves.

Of course, some days you will just want to laze by our pool and enjoy the fun things on our grounds and maybe even have a BBQ.

Whatever you want from a holiday, and I haven’t even mentioned a visit to a vineyard or even cognac tasting, it’s all within easy reach of the gites at Domaine du Sourire with fabulous hosts Jackie and Terry.

Some links as promised, however there are many more.

Top things for children

Top things to do in Dordogne

Top things to do in Charente

La Passion de Villebois-Lavallette


Home of the delicious renowned Cornuelle is virtually on the doorstep of Domanine Du Sourire in the nearby historic village od Villebois Lavallette.

The Cornuelle is a triangular shortbread cake with a hole in the middle and is traditionally associated with Palm Sunday or as it is called in french, Le Dimanche des Rameaux.

The shortbread biscuit is brushed with egg yolk, to which a few aniseed seeds are added at all three corners. The two artisan bakers of Villebois jealously guard their recipe which they hold of their respective predecessors. That’s all we’ll know; the rest is top secret. Although today, more elaborate recipes can be found, and it’s not uncommon to find cornuelles filled with whipped cream or mousseline cream. No matter it’s mystery the taste of this mysterious little shortbread is truly addictive!

The village celebrates with an annual festival where ginormous Cornuelles are baked ands take pride of place in a precession before being broken and shared among the people.

In this part of France box-tree branches instead of palms are used  to commemorate the Dimanche des Rameaux.  Box-tree, being a perennial shrub with very resilient dark green leaves is an ideal symbol of life and so its use in certain regions of France rather than the palms. in Villebois Lavalette, the mass of the branches and the blessing of the boxwood takes place under the Hall, in the open air before the Cornuelles shared around.

In Villebois-Lavalette, the festival attracts a very large audience and about 12 000 cornuelles are sold in one day. During the blessing, a sprig of box tree can be slipped through the middle.

Apart form the blessing ceremony and procession of the giant cornuelles with many in costume there is much more to enjoy for the family. The village is beautifully decorated with copious greenery of box twigs on store fronts, along the streets, the open town Hall square, anywhere and everywhere! There is sometime a flea market on, children’s workshops, pony rides, horse drawn carriage rides, exhibitions, competitions and more but don’t forget a visit to the Chateau, it is unmissable! You can enjoy the whole day enjoying a lunch if you have registered. A wonderful way to celebrate the end of lent and to commemorate the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.

Why not plan a short Easter break for your family enjoying the benefits of our accommodation at Domaine Du Sourire and plan to take in this festival on Palm Sunday in the nearby historic village of Villebois with its impressive Chateau that overlooks the village. Browse through our website and book today, it’s not too late!

So, where are these holiday gites at Domaine du Sourire exactly?….


So, where are these holiday gites at Domaine du Sourire exactly?You have researched the type of holiday you want, you have checked our website, you love our accommodation and are happy with the amenities and service. You are close to making a decision to book but are asking “how do you travel here?”


My childhood holidays were more likely to involve a ferry trip rather than flights and I have some great memories of those days. The excitement and fun of discovery far outweighed the longer and slightly more uncomfortable journey conditions. Ferries still offer that sense of adventure and modern ferries are much improved. They’re faster, cleaner, have more onboard facilities and the food, oh yes, the food is much better than when I was a kid. This summer your trip to France could be the time to rediscover the magic of the Ferry.

There are a few alternatives from UK and Ireland:

UK/Ireland Port France Port Ferry Company Driving distance from Port to Domaine du Sourire
Dover Calais Eurotunnel; P&O Ferries; DFDS Seaways 8 hours
Newhaven Dieppe DFDS Seaways 7 hours
Portsmouth Le Havre Brittany Ferries 6 hours 30 mins
Portsmouth St Malo Brittany Ferries 5 hours 30 mins
Portsmouth Cherbourg Brittany Ferries; Condor Ferries 6 hours
Poole Cherbourg Brittany Ferries 6 hours
Poole St Malo Condor Ferries 5 hours 30 mins
Plymouth Roscoff Brittany Ferries 7 hours
Cork Roscoff Brittany Ferries 7 hours
Dublin Cherbourg Irish Ferries 6 hours
Rosslare Roscoff Irish Ferries 7 hours
Rosslare Cherbourg Irish Ferries; Stena Line 6 hours

There are plenty of interesting places to stop off at for refreshment on the way from the harbour to your holiday destination Domaine du Sourire. The gorgeous villages in the countryside, splendid lavender and sunflower fields and vineyards are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to visiting the numerous sights and attractions in France.


Flying, too, has much to offer and it has its own excitements of course. The availability of low cost, budget airlines has increased and kept routes open and affordable.
It is still the quickest means of travel. If you’re fortunate and get a window seat, there are often some great views. There is nothing quite like soaring over the countryside, while seas, rivers, mountains, and other beautiful landscapes pass beneath. Even at night, when darkness shrouds the sky, it is pleasant to look out and see the islands of light that spread across the earth below. Of course, you can get good views from other means of transport also, but there is nothing that quite compares to the awesome bird’s eye view from an airplane.

And you can easily hire a car these days while booking your flight and it will be ready and waiting for you. Most airports will offer the major dealerships such as Europecar, Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, and Sixt. However if you need an adapted car do check with the company. Here are a few links that will provide good advice:

The nearest airports to Domaine du Sourire are Angouleme, Poitiers, Bordeaux, Bergerac, Limoges, La Rochelle. Paris CDG is a 2hr TVG Train trip away. From the UK and Ireland, flights are in and around 2 hours.
Angouleme is closest but unless you are flying from London Stansted there are no other flights to this airport from the UK.

Bergerac, Poiters, Bordeax and Limoges all have frequent low cost flights (Easyjet, Ryan Air, FlyBe, BMI Baby and AerLingus) from UK and Ireland and are within an hour and half driving distance from Domaine Du Sourire. A little further out at just around 2 hours driving distance is La Rochelle.

So, if you are coming from beyond the region, you know how to get here; we hope to see you soon.