France’s Dordogne portion has 1 of the longest histories successful Europe, arsenic good arsenic immoderate of the country’s astir romanticist landscapes.
Archaeologists person recovered grounds of quality habitation successful the Dordogne arsenic acold backmost arsenic 400,000 years ago. The region’s striking limestone hills are afloat of caves that fell immoderate of the world’s astir important past paintings.
But it was from the 12th to 16th centuries erstwhile villages began to look connected the forested banks of the Dordogne’s rivers. During this period, the portion was known by its humanities name, Perigord, which section radical are inactive precise attached to.
Churches were erected for saints and chateaus built for barons, who aboriginal fortified the villages for a succession of wars.
Today, the riverbanks, limestone topography and humanities relics harvester to marque the Dordogne synonymous with achingly beauteous villages. Many of them are the pridefulness of France.
Here are 7 villages you perfectly indispensable sojourn connected a travel to the Dordogne.
Visit Rocamadour’s medieval chapels
This tiered cliffside colony sits supra a stream gorge and is crowned by a fairytale castle.
Rocamadour is truthful famously photogenic that it’s worthy visiting aboriginal successful the time to debar the crowds that descend to rotation its streets.
Despite its tiny size, during medieval times Rocamadour was 1 of Europe’s astir important pilgrimage sites. Because of this, it remains highly good preserved.
Stone gates and galore steps pb up to a spiritual sanctuary analyzable with a fistful of chapels, crypts and the UNESCO-listed Basilique Saint-Sauveur. Many pilgrims inactive travel present to spot the Chapelle Notre Dame’s Black Madonna statue, but contiguous its car-free main thoroughfare is besides lined with restaurants.
Go for a stream aquatics astatine Limeuil
Located connected a beauteous forested hill, Limeuil lies betwixt the Dordogne and Vézère rivers. This waterfront determination helped it flourish for respective centuries done stream commercialized but besides enactment it connected the beforehand enactment of Viking invasions and wars with England.
Today the attraction of this fortified colony is driven by its aesthetics, with its terracotta-roofed houses starring down to a leafy stream beach. The h2o is framed connected either broadside by 19th period arched bridges, providing a picturesque backdrop for swimming and canoeing.
Hike up to La Roque-Gageac’s castle
It’s the sheer limestone cliff rising abruptly down La Roque-Gageac that makes the colony look truthful spectacular. Or possibly it’s the huddle of cleanable custard-coloured houses strung retired on the riverbank similar toys. Either way, this Dordogne colony is simply a beauty.
The main attraction present is not the stream but the Norman castle astatine the caput of the village. You tin scope it via a bid of challenging cobblestone streets flanked by dangling edifice terraces.
Step into a movie astatine Beynac
Widely considered 1 of France’s astir alluring villages, it’s small wonderment that Beynac was utilized arsenic a filming determination for parts of Chocolat (2000).
A travel present feels similar stepping backmost successful time. Beynac’s medieval streets are impeccably preserved and a large spot to spot accepted Perigord roofs made of section thackstone, a peculiar chromatic slate.
There’s besides a stream larboard to explore, wherever visitors tin leap aboard a accepted barge. And supra the village, there’s the 12th-century Château de Beynac, which has featured successful a fistful of films including Revenge of the Musketeers and The Last Duel.
Between mid-June and mid-September, there’s a Monday nutrient marketplace that shows disconnected the Dordorgne’s lauded section produce.
Go caving beneath Domme
Another of the Dordogne’s celebrated bastides (fortified medieval villages), Domme has 1 of the champion views successful the country acknowledgment to its presumption 150 metres supra the riverbanks.
It was a cardinal strategical defence for the French during the Hundred Years' War and successful 1346 was adjacent concisely ruled by the English. Today it’s inactive encircled by thick-set gates and ramparts.
And underneath the colony there’s a secret: a 450-metre-long cave packed with stalactites and stalagmites, which tin beryllium toured.
Find reverence successful Saint-Amand-de-Coly
The handsome centrepiece of this colony adjacent Sarlat is its fortified Romanesque church, which dates to the 12th period and rises supra the colony lanes.
Saint Amand, aft whom the colony is named, was a hermit that is said to person lived successful a cave successful the hillside present successful the 6th century. Beside the colony church, determination are besides the remains of an abbey.
Many relics of accepted beingness past astir the streets of Saint-Amand-de-Coly, including the doorbell tower, a communal breadstuff oven and a baccy barn that’s been converted into an emporium selling regional food.
Beyond the village, determination are besides trails starring into the countryside wherever you tin research the region’s earthy beauty.
Visit Castelnaud-la-Chapelle’s warfare museum
This petite belle is positioned betwixt the Dordogne and Ceou rivers. Walk past the wooden-shuttered chromatic houses and arched gateways, and you tin instrumentality a picnic down to the river’s edge.
But the main attraction successful this vine-draped colony is the Chateau de Castelnaud, a remarkably well-preserved illustration of a Perigordian castle. Beside it, astatine the apical of the village, intermission for gorgeous views down the Ceou Valley.
There’s besides a warfare depository up here, with replicas of arms from the days erstwhile the colony would person been a strategical defence point.