Between Saint-Emilion and the Dordogne, follow the peaceful river Dropt
The Dropt River runs from Capdrot, east of Monpazier, to La Reole near Langon where it meets the Garonne River.
It is close to the border between the Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne departments for much of the journey westwards, before entering the Gironde between Duras and Monsegur.
Along the way it passes through and near several attractive villages and towns, and a great deal of attractive countryside, making it an interesting way to spend a few days exploring this region of south-west France.
Ever changing countryside
The scenery also changes as you follow the Dropt: starting from the rolling countryside of the Dordogne, covered with woodlands and traditional stone farmhouses the river enters flatter agricultural land beyond Eymet, which in turn gives way to the vineyards of the Bordeaux region as you head towards Pellegrue and beyond.
The Dropt valley has not been highly developed because the nature of the river, with a tendency to flood and surrounded by clay soils, made the building of roads near the river difficult - they became too muddy and impassable during the winter months.
This 'unfortunate' set of circumstances means that there are now few major towns along the river and the countryside has been largely preserved unchanged over the centuries.
Dropt Valley towns and villages
The following is a 'whistle-stop' guide to the towns and villages you will meet as you travel along the Dropt - for more information see the detailed pages for the individual places. Heading east to west some of the highlights include:
Villereal, another bastide town, with a substantial medieval market hall dominating the traditional town centre
Continuing westward is Duras and its chateau (and wines)
Head west to Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, another attractive bastide town with a substantial arcaded town centre before heading south of the Dropt to see the lovely and historically interesting town of La Reole (actually on the banks of the Garonne river, just before its confluence with the Dropt).