Situated in the historic region of Aquitaine in the south
west of France; the Chateau
de Monteton is a twelfth century castle within a village,
perched on a hill overlooking the beautiful Valleé du
Dropt. The village has about 50 inhabitants, a bar and a famous
restaurant, "The Treize Clochers" or "Thirteen
Bell-Towers" (all of which can be seen from Monteton).
It also boasts an unrivalled view of the valley of the River
Dropt. It is about one hour from Bordeaux
on the autoroute; half an hour from Bergerac,
with it's new airport and direct flights from Gatwick; Stansted;
Luton; Southampton, Bristol; Exeter, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham,
and EMA; and twenty minutes from Marmande,
the "Capital of Tomatoes". see
Within the Chateau is an open-air (but covered) bar "Le
Takinerie", named after the local plum based brandy "Takin".
Here coffee is served after meals and during breaks in tuition.
In the evening a complete range of wines, beers and spirits
are available. On special nights the great open-air fire is
used to cook giant paellas or vast slabs of meat. At other times
the chef cooks in a large baker's oven where home made pizza,
bread and even coffee is roasted.
At 6pm every evening, in the "Le Takinerie" bar, the
students take part in an organised jam session playing the music
they have worked on during the day. Students are free to bring
their own material and often the jam continues after dinner
until late in the evening. You can try out your French language
skills during a session of "Kinito",
the local dice game.
Rehearsal space is within the main tower and it is here that
the majority of classes are held. Below is the Cave where late-night
jam sessions go on until the last man (or woman) standing can
go on no longer. These are officially unsupervised sessions
where students are expected to sort themselves out. Tutors often
join in just for a blow however; Jonathan holding the staff
record of 5.00am. The student record is yet to be confirmed.
in a series of out buildings surrounding the central courtyard.
Some rooms are in the passage way above the restaurant. Others
in the houses behind "The Ear". Rooms have either
two single beds or a double bed for couples. Bunk beds, where
they exist, will be used for storage only unless you choose
otherwise.Most rooms are ensuite with shower room and toilet
facilities behind a discreet door. Those that share a bathroom
do so with only one other room. Some rooms have spectacular
views over the surrounding countryside. others are tucked away
from the central square for a quieter night. Many rooms have
been recently renovated as the Chateau is undergoing constant
The Chateau has free broadband Wi-Fi if you wish to bring laptops
and other wifi gadgets. ( Signal can be a bit variable )
Locality - Useful Information
This brief guide to local activities and facilities
has been produced for non-participating husbands, wives, partners
and friends. We know that you would really prefer to be playing
along but we do realise, albeit reluctantly, that there is a
life outside jazz. This then, is for you !
There is a small supermarket in the main square at Duras
but if your needs are a little more ambitious visit
Shopi. It is situated on the D708 just north of Duras
town centre and has a petrol station and carwash.
ATMs are to be found in Duras at Banque Populaire in
the main square or Credit Agricole at the top of Rue
Paul Persil, (and in Eymet on the route national.)
The same street accommodates La Maison de La Presse
where English newspapers are on sale. A cycle hire shop
and an ironmonger are a couple of doors away. Opposite
in the small adjacent square is a laundrette. Pressing
Duraquois near Hostelerie des Ducs will also do laundry
as well as dry cleaning and pressing. There are two
good pharmacies in Duras where you can top up your medication
or simply stock up on anti-sun or treatments for insect
Places to Visit
The frescos in the church at Allemans-du-Dropt
are an absolute ‘must see’.
Don’t miss the ancient Moulin de Cocussotte at St Pierre du
Dropt (near Monteton) 06 74 16 46 82.
La Maison des Vins at Duras to learn about what you love to
Jardin de Boissonna for those into things horticultural 05 53
83 81 43.
The Chais et Rasade in Duras, run by Francis Blancheton
of Château Molhière, offers fine champagnes, cognacs and wines
as well as a bit of tapas in the evenings.If you’re a chocoholic
or want to buy a few presents to take home then Guinguet 05
53 83 72 47 is a must. You can find it to the left off the Monségur
Road past La Maison des Vins. Marmande (south on the D708) is
the largest local town. It is a good shopping centre and also
the site of the nearest hospital and railway station. If you
feel like blowing a few extra euros Bordeaux is about an hour
or so down the A62 and as well as being an absolutely beautiful
city boasts the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe.
If you’re having a bad hair day or simply want a quick blow
dry then you need Coiffure Eric Bouchot in Marmande (near the
market square). His telephone number is 05 53 20 79 96.
Nursery and Baby Needs
Sterilizing units, baby car seats, toys and baby foods are available
for hire or purchase from Julie Shepherd on 06 37 50 23 20.
Julie will be happy to deliver (equipment, that is!) and can
also arrange babysitting.
These are well worth a visit. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables,
cooked and preserved meats, saucisson and cheese, or simply
experience this essential and unique aspect of French
rural life. By the way, it is worth noting that they pack
up at 12 o’clock midday. Monday
Duras and Miramont Tuesday Monségur
Summer Market Wednesday Duras Summer
Market Thursday Eymet Friday
Monségur, Seyches and Miramont Saturday
Sainte Foy la Grande and Marmande
If you’re really fed up with listening to all that jazz
then there are several Marché Nocturnes (night markets)
where one can buy food and wine to consume on the spot
in a truly French street party atmosphere. Tuesday
Eymet Wednesday Monségur Thursday Duras Friday
Lévignac de Guyenne
The same is available Sunday lunchtime
at Soumensac (near Eymet)
We’re not talking CDs here. Reeds, strings, sticks and
skins… these are the things musicians need.
05 53 20 68 04
Rue de la République
(just off the market square)
05 53 20 97 36
Route de Bordeaux
(the main Route Nationale north of town)
05 53 94 32 75
Contemporary gastro pub style restaurant on the doorstep – set
menus with good-humoured service and a very smart outside eatery
with an incredible view of the Vallée du Dropt. All food here
is prepared using local produce.
Restaurant La Terrasse
05 53 84 29 62
A small restaurant situated opposite the château with
friendly service on the veranda. It offers set menus and
always an interesting and well presented plat du jour.
Advisable to book.
Pizzeria Don Camillo
05 53 83 76 00 Exactly what it says on the tin… good pizzas
and huge salads. Typically French style eating in a small
tree covered square. No need to book except weekends.
Hostelerie des Ducs
05 53 83 74 58
A more formal hotel restaurant for evening dining for
those with a healthy appetite. A good variety of set menus
with an amazing selection of cheeses. Advisable to book.
05 53 20 24 62
This tiny family-run restaurant is best at lunchtime
(get there before 12 o’clock) when you can eat a simple
four course plat du jour alongside real French truckers.
Unlimited carafe wine is usually included. The evening
menu is a little different but nevertheless good value
La Sauvetat du Dropt
Restaurant Ma Maison
05 53 94 33 42
Formal dining under chrome yellow parasols set in a
beautiful courtyard (weather permitting) where English
is freely spoken. Fixed à la carte menu. Advisable to
Allemans sur Dropt
05 53 20 23 59
Good value for money eating at this hotel (also good
for low-cost accommodation and good pool). There is
always a hugely impressive buffet… beware – it’s so
good that it can ruin your appetite !
Pizzeria Ristorante des Arcades
05 53 23 90 05
Unexpectedly buzzing Italian restaurant right in the centre
of town with all the drama of impatient fast-moving Italian-looking
waiters with French accents! Good reasonably priced pizzas,
salads and pasta. It is worth noting the Italian fine wine list…
absolutely mouth-watering for those in the Neapolitan know.
No bookings accepted… it’s first come, first served.
La Cour d’Eymet
05 53 22 72 83
Situated in Eymet on the main route to Bergerac this has to
be the most accomplished restaurant in the area. The quiet atmosphere
is formal but friendly where the chef de cuisine discusses his
Michelin recognised menus with each table of diners. The wine
list is as stunning as the food. Advisable to book.
05 53 58 65 35
Yes… a curry shop in south west France! This restaurant serves
all the usual Bengali dishes that one can see on menus from
Bristol to Bradford. The naan breads are particularly good.
Oh, and there’s a takeaway service just like home. The opening
hours have been known to be extremely erratic… best to ‘phone.
Villeneuve de Duras
05 53 79 26 62
You can’t miss this friendly informal restaurant when
you enter the town on the D708 north of Duras. Good set
menus with à la carte options are changed regularly. English
spoken by the English owners as well as fluent French.
Advisable to book.
Foy la Grande
Au Fil de l’Eau
05 53 24 72 60
Situated on the north bank of the Dordogne at Port-Sainte-Foy-et-Ponchapt
this tastefully decorated restaurant specialises in fish.
The sophisticated grey and glass interior overlooks the
river towards the south where the view at sunset resembles
a post-impressionist painting. Advisable to book.
No guide to this area would be complete without a mention of
the local appellation… Côtes de Duras. The best way to explore
this wine is to visit La Maison des Vins de Duras 05 53 94 13
48 where there is an exhibition of the local viniculture as
well as an opportunity to buy wine from over fifty regional
domains. Also the local cooperative, Berticot 05 53 83 75 47,
has a good retail outlet just north of Duras on the D708…you
can’t miss this huge winery. If you wish to explore a little
further then Domain Chater is the place to visit at St Sernin
de Duras. This small organic winery is owned and run by an English
family who will be delighted to show you around and enthusiastically
explain how their wine, one of the best examples of Côtes de
Duras, is made. Be sure to call 05 53 64 67 14 to arrange your
Pony riding is available at Savignatte de Duras Tuesday to Sunday
05 53 20 28 33 and at Ecuries du Dropt, St Pierre sur Dropt
05 53 83 84 14.
Hot Air Ballooning
Entre Ciel et Terre at St Jean de Duras 05 53 89 01 25.
Laurent Sambarrey at Saint Sernin offers 4-wheel excitement
at all levels 05 53 94 18 68.
Tennis & Badminton
There are facilities at most local Halles de Sport. It is best
to checkout these at Duras tourist information office 05 53
83 63 06.
Canoes can be hired at Allemans sur Dropt.
There is a municipal pool and a waterpark
at Bergerac, route to Bordeaux, just past the Leclerc supermarket.
Doctors at Duras
Dr Chauvineau 05 53 20 56 75
Dr Abiven 05 53 20 56 70
Dr Pénicaud 05 53 83 70 14
Dentists at Duras
Dr Lalauze 05 53 83 70 54
Marmande 05 53 20 30 40
Sainte Foy la Grande 05 57 41 96 96
Pompiers (these guys cope with just about everything) dial 18
or 112 on a mobile. Gendarmes dial 17
If you find anything of interest that we’ve missed or wish to
comment on our information please do not hesitate to let us
know at email@example.com.
The restaurants mentioned here have been tried and tested by
us… there are many others – your input would be welcome.
Compiled and produced by the late great Gus Hunnybun