Dordogne - perfect holiday destination
version francais - sarlat vacances version francais - sarlat vacances

Fabulous Holidays in the Dordogne

Whatever the time of year you choose for your holiday, the Dordogne is always an amazing destination. Its climate has been attracting visitors for millennia; prehistoric man settled here, the Romans settled here and English kings and queens were born here.

Sport is also very popular, open air markets flourish, there are year-round festivals and the region is renowned for its food and wine.

This corner of Aquitaine offers something for everyone, so why not book a holiday at La Colline de Péchauriol and experience all the delights of Sarlat and the Périgord Noir.

 

The Dordogne - Perfect for Family Holidays

Pre-Historic Dordogne

There are traces of mankind in the Vézère valley dating back 400,000 years. Today this region is famous throughout the world and referred to as 'the cradle of mankind'. The Vézère valley contains 147 prehistoric sites and 25 decorated caves, some of which can still be visited. Fifteen of these sites are so important they have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites; including the famous Lascaux cave at Montignac.

Less than 30 minutes from La Colline de Péchauriol, the National Museum of Prehistory at Les Eyzies-de-Tayac exhibits the ancient traces left by prehistoric man in this region.

Roman Dordogne

In 56 BC the Romans arrived in the Dordogne and named the region Aquitania. Romans brought their language to the region and also introduced the first vines. Numerous sites remain from the Roman period, many in Perigueux which was a major Roman city and its Vesunna Museum is well worth a visit.

Medieval Dordogne

They call the Dordogne ‘the land of 1001 châteaux’ for good reason. Some of the most famous kings and queens of England were Lords of this region. Richard the Lion Heart (son of Queen Eleanor and Henry II) is better known as Richard Coeur de Lion and his coat of arms still hangs in his former home at Beynac Castle.

The Périgord was one of the main battlegrounds for the Hundred Years War and there is also a rich history of Templars, Huguenots and the pilgrims route to St-Jacques-de-Compostelle.

Gastronomic Dordogne

Truffles are the ‘black gold’ of the Périgord and foie gras is also a regional speciality. Duck (magret or confit de canard) and goose are the traditional staples of most restaurants and oil pressed from locally grown walnuts is the basis of many local salads.

The Dordogne may not be as famous as its Bordeaux cousin but her wines are nonetheless excellent and there are plenty of vineyards should you wish to make a wine tasting visit.

Weekly markets are loaded with fresh local produce - cheese, cold meats, sausage, breads, honey and fruit to name but a few. There is also a generous supply of fabulous eateries from a simple village bar offering excellent home cooking to the very best Michelin acclaimed restaurants.

Sporting Dordogne

The French are keen cyclists and there are many routes for all levels of enthusiasts. Often the Tour de France passes through the region affording us a chance to glimpse the riders and the carnival.

Canoeing is also popular and there are a number of venues offering canoe hire along both the Vézère and the Dordogne rivers.

Fishing is always popular here and there are plenty of lakes and river fishing is possible with a license.

You will also find swimming, walking, horse riding, rugby, tennis, golf... and, of course, petanque!

Art and Events in the Dordogne

If you're looking for art, drama, theatre or music the Dordogne doesn't disappoint. In the summer, many towns and villages host night markets with live music and interesting food stalls. Art and craft exhibitions continue into the autumn months, while the Christmas markets enable artisans to display their works.

There are major events such as the Souillac Jazz Festival, Perigueux has it's Festival of Mime and Sarlat hosts its film festival.

In spring and autumn there are hundreds of plant and flower festivals; in summer, some châteaux host medieval games and re-enact famous battles from their history. At Château des Milandes, birds of prey are often on display.

Le Plus Beaux Villages de France

In the whole of France there are 152 designated beautiful villages, almost 10% of these can be found in our region, more than in any other area of France. Locally these include :

Belves is a medieval bastide town with a preserved 15th century covered market hall. It also has troglodyte dwellings that date from the 13th century.

Beynac, on the northern bank of the river Dordogne, is an ancient village of yellow stone buildings and narrow lanes that meander up to a wonderfully preserved château.

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle is a picturesque medieval village that sits on a rocky promontory where the  Dordogne and Cerou rivers meet. It is dominated by Château Castelnaud which was conquered by Simon de Montfort in 1214 during the crusade.

Domme is a bastide town offering stunning views across the Dordogne valley. In 1307, the Knight Templars were imprisoned here during the trial against them, and their Templar graffiti can still be seen on some walls.

La Roque-Gageac is a breathtakingly beautiful village built into the cliffs along the banks of the Dordogne river. In the 19th century, the famous gabarres (flat-bottomed boats) would pass by laden with goods. Today, visitors can embark on a leisurely gabarre river trip from here.

Limeuil, where the rivers Dordogne and Vézère meet, offers canoeing, a river beach and a pretty little village and gardens that are well worth exploring. The village is still partly surrounded by its original fortified walls.

St Léon-sur-Vézère is on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman villa and you can see traces of this on the side of the church. It is on the pilgrim route that led from the Abbey of Vezelay in Burgundy to the abbeys at Cadouin and Saint Avit Senieur.