Rendez-vous in the Dordogne Valley
Part of the Aquitaine region in south-west France, just one hour’s drive to the east of Bordeaux, Dordogne Périgord is one of the largest and most picturesque “départements” in France, while it is also one of the most prolific in terms of its numerous historic buildings.
Here you will discover unspoiled nature, grandiose landscapes, and a plethora of magical sights teeming with history. Notably, the prehistoric caves in the Vézère valley, which prove that man has been present in the Dordogne for the past 450,000 years.
In the Dordogne Valley you can visit castles from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which once played a part in the Hundred Years’ War, and the Wars of Religion that raged there. 45 castles in the Périgord are now open to the public to visit. Also great to visit are beautiful medieval villages, Romanesque churches adorned with sculpted tympanums, water mills in the landscapes of the Périgord Vert, and renowned "towns of art and history" such as Sarlat and Périgueux. Bergerac and Nontron are also popular Dordogne towns.
The Périgord is world renowned for its traditional gastronomy. High-quality products used to prepare local cuisine include foie gras, other duck and goose-based ingredients, the famous black truffles of the Périgord, chestnuts, walnuts (which have been awarded their own AOC label), Périgord strawberries, plus Bergerac and Monbazillac wines (13 of which are AOC) produced from top grape varieties that are neighbors to the "grands crus classés" of Bordeaux.
The four colours of the Périgord (Green, White, Black and Purple) are an invitation to discover the diversity of the region’s landscapes on a variety of holidays.
Whatever the time of year, choosing to visit and return to the Dordogne is not just a journey back in time in the footsteps of our ancestors, it is also an opportunity to meet the local population, known for their friendly welcome, and to enjoy a relaxing holiday with wonderful cuisine in beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
Main Itineraries to discover the Dordogne
- Bergerac and the Pays des Bastides in the Périgord Pourpre
Starting point: Bergerac
Bergerac’s charming, narrow pedestrian-friendly streets provide the perfect opportunity to discover the town’s timber-framed houses, with their medieval or Renaissance-style windows. Your tour starts at the Château de Monbazillac, continuing on to the medieval village of Issigeac, with its architectural treasures, before reaching Monpazier, which is considered a perfect example of a fortified town in Southwest France. On your return, Beaumont du Périgord, another English fort, is well worth a visit before you stop in the picturesque village of Couze, where you can visit a paper mill.
- Sarlat and the Vézère Valley in the Périgord Noir
Starting point: Sarlat
It’s easy to succumb to the charms of this medieval town, with its lauze-stone roofs, medieval houses, and Renaissance mansions. From here, head to Montignac to visit the must-see Lascaux II cave, known as the Sistine Chapel of Prehistory. Skirting the Vézère river, discover the wonderful treasures of this valley: the Château de Losse and its terraced Renaissance gardens, the charming village of St Léon sur Vézère (with its Romanesque church), the cliffs at La Roque St-Christophe, the troglodyte village of La Madeleine, and the Maison Forte de Reignac, a castle in Tursac. If you wish you can continue to Les Eyzies de Tayac, the capital of prehistory, to visit its numerous prehistoric deposits, shelters, and authentic caves embellished with paintings and engravings, such as the Grotte de Font de Gaume and the Grotte des Combarelles, along with the Musée National de Préhistoire, the leading museum of Palaeolithic art in Europe, in terms of its importance and the size of its collection.
- Brantôme and the Dronne Valley in the Périgord Vert
Starting point: Brantôme
Nicknamed the “Green Venice of the Périgord,” Brantôme is a village full of character, whose sights include its abbey, the oldest belfry in France, an elbow-shaped bridge, and the Monks’ Garden (Jardin des Moines). By following our tourist route, you will discover Bourdeilles, with its stately boat-shaped mill and feudal fortress. Continue your tour with a visit to some of the area’s water mills (Maison de la Dronne, Moulin de la Pauze, Moulin de Rochereuil, etc), and then on to Ribérac. From here you can tour the domed Romanesque churches of the Ribérac region with their sculpted tympanums.
How to get there
Bergerac Airport Dordogne Périgord
Phone: 00 33 5 53 22 25 25 - Fax: 00 33 5 53 24 35 43
The Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport provides direct flights from 11 British towns:
- With Ryanair, from Bristol, East Midlands, Liverpool, London Stansted, 0871 2460 000
- With Flybe, from Birmingham, Exeter, Edinburgh, Manchester, London Gatwick, and Southampton, Flybe, 0871 7000 123
- With Jet2.com from Leeds Bradford, Jet2.com, 0871 226 1 737
Dordogne by Car
A20: Paris-Limoges; RN21: Limoges-Périgueux (500 kms - 311 miles)
A10: Paris-Poitiers; RN 10: Poitiers-Angoulême; D939: Angoulême-Périgueux (500 kms - 311 miles)
A89: Bordeaux-Périgueux (120 kms - 75 miles)
D936: Bordeaux-Périgueux (100 kms - 62 miles)
Dordogne by Train
Paris-Périgueux (4 h)
Paris- Angoulême TGV, ( 2h30) then hire car to Périgueux (1h15)
Toulouse-Périgueux (3 h)
Lyon-Périgueux (5 h)