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A beautiful valley in the South-West of France

Domme france

The Dordogne Valley is one of the most beautiful places to visit in France.  With beautiful villages and quaint towns in a peaceful French countryside, it is storybook pretty.  Villages like Sarlat, Beynac and La Roque will leave you wanting to come back again and again.

Sarlat-la-Canéda

If you love markets, like I do, you will find them in almost every town.  According to the locals the best markets are in Sarlat-la-Canéda, Issigeac, Périgueux and Bergerac.  In my opinion Sarlat-la-Canéda has a fantastic market, and I can tell you it is a big hit among tourists and locals.  The market is stocked to the brim with seasonal fruit and vegetables and it is also the perfect place to buy Dordogne’s walnuts and truffles.

The village of Sarlat-la-Canéda is famous for its listed buildings (especially Place de la Libertié). This pedestrian friendly town is bustling with tourists in summer months and the restaurants and streets could feel rather busy, but it is definitely worth a visit.  It is not a tiny village and some of the cobblestone streets are uphill, so best you pack your best walking shoes.  I think once you see Sarlat-la-Canéda you would want to explore every street corner.  Noble homes with amazing architecture adorn the streets and stone colored buildings are decorated with French flair, shutters, iron balconies, plants and flowers.

While in Sarlat-la-Canéda: More things to see and do:

Lascaoux Cave Paintings:  The original caves are no longer open top public in order to preserve the paintings, but you can visit the adjacent replica.  You will actually think you are in the original caves, with more than 600 amazing paintings on the walls and ceilings.

Visit the Museums and if you are there in winter, you can’t beat the Christmas market and outdoor skating rink during December.

Go to the Cathedral Saint Sacerdos de Sarlat with its beautiful stained glass windows.

La Roque-Gageac

This is truly a must-see village.  In my opinion the best way to get fantastic views and pictures of this village is to rent a canoe or go on a boat trip.  Without a doubt you will have no problem getting a canoe or boat as they are lined along the river and eager to accommodate travelers.  This village is certainly one of my favorites and also listed as one of Frances most beautiful villages.  Here you need to spend time on the river and make sure your camera is ready.  A visit to the Dordogne Valley is not complete without a visit to La Roque-Gageac. (Also read our article on our selection of the most beautiful villages in France.)

While in La Roque-Gageac: More things to see and do:

Visit the beautiful Chateau de Marquessac as well as the magnificent gardens of Marquessac.

Tour the La Roque St. Christophe Cave homes with family friendly and interactive exhibitions as well as beautiful views.

Above photos:  Brantome

More THINGS TO DO at your favorite destination

…in the Dordogne Valley

  • Here you can have a true “Willy Wonka Experience”: In my opinion, you have to do the “Ascenseur Panoramique” (glass lift) at the Sainte Marie Church.  Obviously, this activity is only for people who are not afraid of heights, as this lift takes you to the top of the belfry.  From here you have the best ever 360 º views of the Dordogne. 
  • The Dordogne River which flows through the area ensures a lush green landscape.  Take the time to explore the villages and to enjoy the restaurants.
  • Make time to visit the Marqueyssac as well as the Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire
  • The Dordogne delicacies like duck confit, walnuts, and truffles are things you just have to taste while visiting. Include some wine from Bergerac, which you will buy during your wine tour there, and you have the ingredients to a perfect French lunch.
  • Visit Chateau de Beynac and Chateau de Castelnaud
  • Brantôme en Périgord – Via Lemovicensis, an old pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, runs through Brantôme.

 

TIP:  To ensure you see and experience the best during a visit to the Dordogne Valley, book with travel guides that knows the area well.  The above are some suggestions.

A walk in the Dordogne Valley of France

Map, location(s) & directions

Where to stay

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A few popular recommendations according to Hotellook guests: