St Méard de Gurçon
We are two of the 700 or so people living in the commune of St Méard de Gurçon; St Méard is in the Pays de Montaigne et Gurçon, a canton which extends from St Emilion in the west to the Forêt de Lanquais near Mussidan in the east, and from the Forêt de la Double to the north to the River Dordogne in the south.
Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge
Eight miles north of Ste Foy La Grande you will suddenly see the houses and church of St Méard sitting on a hilltop. The commune is set in pretty rolling countryside of woods, open farmland, and vineyards.|
It is well placed, with direct roads to Bergerac to the east, Montpon Ménésterol to the north, Ste Foy-La-Grande to the south, and (via Villefranche de Lonchat) to Castillion-La-Bataille and St Emilion to the west. There is an autoroute link just 6 Km north of the village, running directly to Bordeaux.
St Méard has a pretty village square, just off the crossroads on the main road, a striking church which can be seen for miles, a post office,
a small primary school, a garage, and half a dozen shops (including three selling bread). |
It also has a community hall, a medical centre, a pharmacy, and an equestrian centre. There are two restaurants in the village, (just) within walking distance of La Citadelle.
In front of the huge priory church is a small, medieval covered market-place, while on the well-kept gardens below the church there is a medieval, covered laundry pool. |
These gardens are also the setting for parties and ceremonial events like the celebration of the election of a new mayor.
Few of those guide-books that include St Méard mention the 16th century Chateau de la Coquille. This sits on top of the hill midway between La Citadelle and the village, facing the village across the valley with the lakes at the bottom. In construction it looks more like a very grand farm than a chateau.|
The gatehouse complex, off to the right of the photo, is shown in the picture above that of the church. The whole property is uniquely French.
On the edge of the village are a pair of small
communal lakes which are kept stocked for fishing.|
The lakes also provide a stunning setting for the village firework displays (see the picture below)
The village maintains a strong sense of community with many
events organised and run by the council each year - including dances, meals, circus, fun fair, fishing contests, races for all ages, and the village fete.
Three times during the tourist season there are night markets with stalls,
sideshows, music and food and drink.||
It has a quite a large foreign community of northern Europeans seeking the sun - British, Dutch, Belgian, and Swiss included. |
In the view to the left taken from the hill overlooking the village to the photgrapher's back, you can just see La Citadelle in the upper right quandrant of the land area, against the woods.
Winegrowing is its main business; the commune is in the Montravel subdivision of the Bergerac district, and contains several chateaux
that you can visit, taste and, maybe, buy.. The local wine is a dry white or dry red (both also available aged
in oak), and a sweet white dessert wine similar to sauternes (but far less
expensive): traditionally this sweet white wine is the correct accompaniment
to foie gras and an excellent rosé.