Chateau Des Vigiers – paradise in the vineyards - Richard Esling July 6

For golfers and non-golfers alike, the Hotel and Spa Chateau Des Vigiers is a little bit of heaven in south-west France.

Restaurant Les Fresques on the terrace SUS-210507-121426001
Restaurant Les Fresques on the terrace SUS-210507-121426001

Set among rolling hills, by a lake and surrounded by vineyards, some of which are their own, the hotel enjoys one of the most beautiful settings in the Dordogne – similar to Sussex only much warmer and with a lot more wine.

The gentle and peaceful Périgord region, of which the Dordogne forms a part, is rich in climate, culture, history, vineyards and gastronomy. Dating from 1597, the Chateau des Vigiers fell into disrepair and was bought and restored to its former glory by the Swedish Peterson family in the late 1980s. With an expertly designed 18-hole golf course built in 1992, the four-star hotel opened its doors in 1993.

Much development work has continued over the past 30 years and the present Chateau des Vigiers has it all. A fabulous nine-hole golf course in the valley is in addition to the excellent 18-hole course, a spa and beauty treatment centre with pool, a bistro and naturally a top-class gourmet restaurant, holding one Michelin star since 2014.

The bistro is located is sited in the old winery and offers a selection of tasty local dishes in a relaxing environment overlooking gardens, the golf course and the lake. The restaurant Les Fresques breathes calm and tranquillity, with an outside terrace with views to the lake and golf course.

Chef Didier Casaguana serves inventive cuisine based on traditional local dishes, with products sourced locally which change with the seasons. Gaining experience in many top restaurants throughout France Didier joined Chateau les Vigiers in 2000, building the reputation of the restaurant Les Fresques to its current Michelin-star status.

Many Michelin-starred restaurants seem to concentrate all on presentation at the expense of flavour. Definitely not the case here. Whilst presentation of every dish, including the amuse-bouches and pre-starters, showed great flair and technical ability, the overriding impression was the bursting flavours and carefully designed harmony of texture and flavour. Fillet of brill with apricots and carrots is daring, but worked to perfection.

The wine list is impressive and covers every region of France – and only France. Not that it is a problem. On the contrary, it shows pride in the country, cuisine and wines which have such defined pedigree. Being surrounded by vineyards and indeed owning some themselves, the wine list includes a wide selection of local wines, all chosen by Laura the sommelier who advises expertly on which wine should go with which dish.

If you are a golfer, there is no better destination in Dordogne- Perigord than Chateau des Vigiers. But if you are not into golf, the same applies! A peaceful, elegant and sophisticated retreat, with a health spa, a bar and two restaurants in the midst of rolling vineyards. What more can you want?