The Dordogne region in the south west of France is a foodie paradise. It’s a beautiful area with a long history and has so much to offer that you can’t help but fall in love with it.
As a holiday destination, it has something to please everyone. There are picturesque villages, a glorious landscape, vineyards, romantic ancient chateaux, wide rivers and hill top medieval towns - it’s quintessential France at its best.
When to visit the Dordogne
The best time for most visitors is between April and October when the weather is clement, though it is still beautiful in the chillier months. From spring to autumn the market stalls are filled with lush produce and each season has its own specialities. Strawberries in the spring, fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer then walnuts and mushrooms in autumn and truffles in the winter. There are plenty of cheeses to choose from too but don’t miss a nibble of Cabécou, a goats milk cheese that’s very popular with the locals.
The countryside is vibrant and lush and for a real touch of luxury you can take a hot air balloon ride and admire the area from your seat in the sky.
Must-sees in Dordogne
Sarlat, or Sarlat-le-Canada to give it its full name: A picture-perfect medieval town that looks like time has passed it by. Cobbled streets, ancient buildings and a magnificent Saturday morning market make it a magnet for tourists. Head to the top of the town via a series of steps and winding streets for fabulous views and yet more beautiful buildings to admire.
The gardens of Marqueyssac: these hilltop gardens offer fabulous views over the countryside from shady paths that are lined with thousands of topiary plants and gorgeous parterre gardens in the shadow of a mellow chateau. It’s a magical place and fun for all the family. Every Thursday throughout July and August the gardens are lit by calendar, it’s truly enchanting.
Lascaux II, prehistoric caves: Well actually, they’re a replica of the prehistoric caves that were discovered here in 1940. The original was closed to the public more than 50 years ago to preserve the incredible wall pictures, the replica cave is no less impressive, the paintings are dazzling.
Beynac -et-Cazenac: A hilly little town that’s topped by a stunning chateau with incredible views and facing another Chateau across the River Dordogne – it’s an amazing sight. There are more than 1000 chateaux in Dordogne so it’s not easy to pick one to fall in love with. However Beynac is one of 8 villages in Dordogne classified amongst the most beautiful in France and with that sort of pedigree how can you resist?! There are several places to take a break and for a friendly service with delicious dishes, La Petite Tonnelle bistro is just perfect.
Boat ride on the River Dordogne: enjoy a leisurely boat ride and a view of the chateaux and hill side villages whilst you watch the lazy fish jumping in the river and listen to the birds sing – priceless.
There’s much more than this: Brantome, a chocolate box lid pretty town, seven more of the officially most beautiful villages in France, medieval towns that are pickled in the past, great cycle routes as well as vineyard visits to name but a few things.
French Connections has hundreds of rental properties in the area from cottages that are just perfect for 2 to gites, villas and even a chateau or two to tempt you.