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  • Discovering the Dordogne, France’s pastoral idyll

    If you love peaceful countryside and scenic views, enjoy walking and boating, appreciate good food and wine, then the Dordogne will delight.

    If you love peaceful countryside and scenic views, enjoy walking and boating, appreciate good food and wine, then the Dordogne will delight.

    Down in the gentle south west of France, inland from Bordeaux, the Dordogne river threads its meandering course through some of France’s most idyllic countryside. The first time I saw Dordogne country, I thought I’d discovered Tolkein’s arcadian Middle Earth..

    Drive along quiet, winding roads through manicured villages, past lush waterside meadows and picture book farmhouses. Turn a bend to see dramatic cliffs or a rocky outcrop topped by a mouthwatering chateau..

    The Dordogne is a great holiday area. The climate is warm and sunny and it’s reachable in a day by car from the channel ports. Main towns like Perigeux, Bergerac and Brantome are small and welcoming, with fascinating markets and museums, arts and crafts. Prehistoric painted caves deserve awed exploration. The countryside is perfect for walking or cycling and the river ideal for canoes, kayaks and slow cruises..

    Country restaurants, from simple to luxury, serve fresh local produce bursting with flavour. Duck’s a speciality, used in confit, cassoulet and foie gras, while truffles are also on the menu. The wine is from Bordeaux or Bergerac, as full-bodied or fresh as you wish..

    Holiday lets in the Dordogne range from quaint village houses and romantic rural cottages to luxury villas and easygoing family farmhouse conversions. The area is ideal for families because it’s easy to combine days by your own private swimming pool and nights around the barbecue with interesting outings and reasonable meals in a friendly auberge.