Whether it’s the lovely cliff-side town of Rocamadour, or one of the many other picturesque medieval towns, there’s enough history to fill a book (or a tome). The Caves at Lascaux offer the finest surviving examples of prehistoric paintings and Préhisto Parc explores the rigours of Neanderthal and Cromagnon life, like no central heating. Canoeing is a popular way to explore the rivers here, on your own or with one of the many organised excursions.
Hardly anywhere else in France will you find a region so steeped in history. If you have an eye for culture, another eye for beauty, a nose for investigating hidden delights, a mouth for masticating and a head for heights, there’s treats galore in store.
Camp in the Dordogne amongst meandering rivers, ancient villages, impressive châteaux and rich vineyards. But it’s not all gentle excursions. There’s also manic exertions, from hiking and cycling to birdwatching (maybe not that manic), fishing and watersports. And when you need to cool down, chilly pre-history caverns welcome you with a (literal) echo of the past.
With all there is to see and do, you’ll hardly have time for eating. But make the effort, as the Dordogne is home to some of France’s most iconic foods including truffles, cépes, foie gras and confit. Not to mention speciality walnut oil, goat’s cheese, chestnut puree and honey. Wash it all down with the full-bodied reds of Cahors and Bergerac and the sweet white Monbazillac.
Can you canoe? One of the most popular ways to explore the area is by canoeing along the river. There are many organised excursions to choose from which will take you on an adventure along the river and through the famous gorges.
With a breathtaking setting perched on the banks of the Dordogne, under a sheer sandstone cliff, this 12th Century village is a sight to be seen. There’s a troglodyte dwelling set high in the cliffs (though the Troggs never played there).
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the prehistoric cave paintings are amongst the finest examples of Paleolithic art. And to think they were discovered by a teenager, just playing around. You can now only see a reproduction of the caves.
Clinging for dear life to sheer limestone cliffs, Rocamadour’s famous monastery provides splendid views from its ramparts. The Chapelle Notre Dame contains the famous Black Madonna. Rocamadour is also renowned for its famous cheese, made from an ancient goat’s milk recipe.
Sarlat is a beautiful medieval town which invites you to drink in the atmosphere. There are bustling markets and street entertainers, which make wandering round the charming cobbled streets a real pleasure.