Discover the Dordogne Valley – Black Périgord

The Dordogne Valley is steeped in history, culture, and culinary tradition. From beautifully preserved towns and ancient villages, to poetic country settings, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, try and fall in love with. Experience something authentically and exquisitely ‘French’ in the many markets, artisan shops, and local restaurants of its towns, cities and villages. The region boasts an array of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in its enchanting countryside, many of which include castles that could be out of a fairytale. There are tons of ways to explore and experience these exceptional landscapes, from bike trails (some of the best in France!) and hiking trails, to picnics in nature and fresh river swimming. And with direct flights from 10 UK cities to Bergerac, all year long, and to Brive-la-Gaillarde in the mid-season, travelling to the region couldn't be easier. You can also reach Dordogne by car from Bordeaux, or by train from France's major stations.

TOWNS

Bergerac, Sarlat and Périgueux are the Dordogne's 3 main towns, and regional centre-points. Each are a great city break option if you love poetic sceneries, historical streets and cultural attractions.

HISTORY AND COUNTRYSIDE

There's a lot to discover in the countryside: Dordogne boasts 15 prehistoric UNESCO sites in its stunning Vézère Valley, along with a range of authentic small villages and enchanting castles and manors.

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

Be part of the fairytale in one of the region’s romantic stays: enjoy spa days, golf, cycling or walking, river canoeing, hot-air ballon rides, candlelight diners, boat trips and more.

CUISINE

Dordogne has stayed true to its rich and meaningful culinary heritage, offering travellers a selection of unique food tastings, where you can sample exquisite local produce from truffles to caviar, as well as local wines in one of the many vineyard tours available. Top tip: be sure to try one of the amazing truffle cooking classes on offer!

Highlights in Dordogne – Perigord

Cultural heritage: Périgord

The heart of France's Périgord Noir region speaks of a dynamic and storied past through the châteaux that dot its landscape. With their weathered stones and whispered secrets, these structures are a portal into times gone by. The first of note, is the resilient Beynac fortress opposite the medieval castle of Castelnaud: its imposing thousand-year-old walls bear the marks of countless battles and political intrigues. Yet, amidst the echoes of conflict, is a softer side to history. Venture further afield to discover the Renaissance elegance of Château des Milandes, once graced by the legendary Josephine Baker, or Château de Fenelon, whose legacy is intertwined with the literary works of French luminary Fènelon.

Gourmet products and wines

To explore Dordogne’s varied gastronomic offering, you need not look (or walk) very far: stroll through any one of Périgord’s street markets, village festivals or Gourmet fetes for a true taste of the region’s rich culinary heritage. The stalls offer a colourful assortment of delicious home-grown produce, from bright red, mouth watering strawberries, to walnuts and, the Périgord’s signature food, truffles. Farms and wineries are known to organise local tasting tours, and afford any hungry foodie the perfect opportunity to learn more about the products, dishes and specialities of the region.

Remarkable and romantic Gardens

Lose yourself among the box trees and beautiful 6km-long bucolic trails in Marqueyssac. This labyrinth takes an unusual shape, and is also home to many peacocks. For exceptional views of the Périgord landscapes, the panoramic gardens of the medieval village of Limeuil provide stunning 360-degree views of the local area. Other great garden trips include the "Remarkable Garden" of Losse Castle, and the gardens of Eyrignac Manor — over 10 hectares of rich, verdant landscapes.

Outdoor activities and leisures

Hiking, riding, cycling , canoeing and more… Exceed your holiday expectations with an exhilarating adventure through Dordogne’s many walking trails. From easy family-friendly footpaths to more advanced hiking routes, the region has many options for exploring its great outdoors. And there are a variety of ways you can take them as well, be it on foot, by bike, or river canoeing. The charming rural settings are ideal for cycling and walking. The local tourist offices provide maps so that you too can walk in the footsteps of Harisson Barker, the 19th century English writer who famously explored the area all those years ago.

Discover The Towns and Villages

Dordogne Valley has heaps of opportunities for the curious traveller and consists of 4 very popular areas. The city of Perigueux is definitely one for the list: boasting a beautiful historic centre. It is also home to the Saint Front Cathédrale, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1998 as part of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela in France. If poetic landscapes are what you are after, the valleys of Vezère and Dordogne are among the most beautiful areas in all of France, comprising of mystic caves, ancient ruins and sites, quaint cliffside villages with rolling verdant hills in the background, as well as some of Dordogne's most enchanting castles. Be sure not to miss the medieval city of Sarlat, with its breathtaking stone houses and cobbled streets.

Bergerac

Known for its gentle way of life, half-timbered houses, rich culinary roots, and Cyrano, this city is a rare portrait of the old, frozen in time. You can get a sense of the immense history while walking along the old stone houses of the boatmen’s neighbourhood, as well as the ancient squares and streets of the 'Fountains' and 'French Kings'. Learn more about the city's ancient prosperity by heading to the beautiful port, where for centuries its inhabitants transported delicacies and hundreds of local wines.

Montignac-Lascaux

This town is home to the fascinating Lascaux cave, famous for being the site of some of the rarest wall paintings of Europe's Upper Paleolithic Era (15,000 BC) to ever be discovered. The original cave has closed sinced its discovery back in 1940, to preserve the exceptional artworks inside, but you can visit a nearby facsimile from 1983 called "Lascaux II", itself a piece of history. However a better and more complete replica of the original stands in the newer reenactment site and museum, the Lascaux IV-Centre International de l'Art Pariétal, which opened in 2016.

Sarlat

The capital of Black Perigord is a jewel of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Its central Sainte-Marie Church, redesigned by architect Jean Nouvel, hosts an indoor food market and glass elevator that takes you all the way up the bell tower, with spectacular views of the city. Sarlat’s street market sells exquisite local foods and gourmet products, including many regional cheeses. And don’t forget to visit the bullet-shaped Lanterne des Morts tower and nearby Cathédrale Saint-Sacerdos de Sarlat for an even deeper perspective of the city.

Top festival events

Want to fully immerse yourself into all the castle heritage and history of the Périgord? You can do so at the annual spring castle festival, "Châteaux en fête". This wonderful 15-day event, which runs from 13th til 28th April 2024, showcases 80 of the region's finest châteaux, from the most well-known ones, to the hidden gems. Get a taste for what castle life was like back in the day through a candlelight castle tour or banquet, crafts and farmers' markets, costumed tours, concerts or dance performances. Some castles offer accommodation, so you can turn your trip into a fairy-tale getaway.

Périgueux

Towering over the city with its spectacular domes and turrets, the Saint-Front Cathedral is a must-see when visiting Périgueux. The landmark was restored by Paul Abadie in the 19th century, and stands proudly on the shores of the River Isle, providing a moment of peaceful contemplation. With a guided tour, climb to the cathedral roof for stunning views of the city and its surrounding hills. The Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum is also well worth a visit, harbouring the remains of a Gallo-Roman residence housed in a modern building designed by the architect Jean Nouvel.

Stroll through France's 8 most beautiful villages

Every village in Dordogne is a chapter in the region's epic historical narrative. Let's start with La Roque-Gageac: frozen in time and encircled by cliffs, if you're looking for picture-perfect sceneries, you won't be disappointed. Beynac-et-Cazenac is another, its looming castle a sentinel of bygone eras, making for a lovely wander. Then there's the timeless beauty of Saint-Amand-de-Coly, its 12th-century abbey a testament to the region's enduring heritage. For an even greater glimpse into medieval village life, and for more sweeping valley views, Castelnaud, Belvès and fortified Domme are a must.

Book your flight now

Direct flights from the UK to Bergerac airport:

  • Ryanair: from Edinburgh, Liverpool, East Midlands, Bristol, Bournemouth, London Stansted.
  • Jet2 airlines: Leeds, Manchester (start from 25th May 2024, only on Saturdays).
  • British Airways: Southampton (flights from 15th May 2024), and London City (from June to end of September; December/January, up to 5 flights a week).

Discover Dordogne Valley