The Dordogne plays host to a huge variety of festivals throughout the year. There are festivals to celebrate all manner of things; dance, food, mime, music, and wine (to name but a few).
Time your visit right and you could be tasting incredible truffles, listening to fabulous music or smelling amazing flowers – all courtesy of a Dordogne festival.
Dordogne festivals – Sarlat
But where to start? For us, it has to be in the beautiful medieval city of Sarlat. From 20 – 21 January 2018, you can enjoy a truffle festival which celebrates the ‘black diamonds‘ of Périgord. It’s free to attend (but you may find yourself splashing out a few Euros to buy this pricey delicacy). There are workshops designed to help you buy the perfect specimen.
Sticking with Sarlat and the theme of food, the Fest d’Oie will be held 3 – 4 March in 2018. This festival celebrates the goose. Watch gaggles of geese waddle around the streets and taste chef’s wares from a variety of stalls. There are also workshops, demonstrations, games and traditional music to enjoy.
During mid July and early August, Sarlat hosts the Theatre Games Festival. Take in an open air performance at one of four different venues around the town. There is something for everyone to enjoy with classical and contemporary performances of dance, music and theatre (prices vary from piece to piece). The festival is one of the most important theatrical events in France.
A food festival taster
Think of French cuisine and the snail probably springs to mind. If you love munching escargots then be sure to visit Bertric Burée during the first weekend in May. Thousands of snails are cooked in colossal vats at this festival. There is also a market, a funfair and plenty of liquid refreshment available.
In the UK, people often only really think about turkeys in the run up to Christmas. However, visit the village of Varaignes on 11 November and you’ll find the locals celebrating the Feast of Saint Martin with a Turkey Fair. This tradition stretches back to the 16th century. Turkeys are paraded through the village, locals get on stage to give their best turkey impersonation and there is a turkey banquet. The fair is free but you have to pay to attend the banquet.
Music festivals in the Dordogne
From food to music. The Périgueux New Orleans Music Festival usually takes place in August. Here, you can enjoy Blues, gospel and jazz in different areas of the city.
If jazz is your thing, then be in Bergerac in May for Jazz Poupre. Historically, this has been staged in the cellar of a wine grower! An alternative is the Souillac Jazz Festival which takes place in July. This is staged over a week and attracts some of the biggest names in European jazz.
Just a short distance from the Lascaux caves is the Festival de Montignac. Musicians from all over the world attend this dance and music festival. In 2018, the event is scheduled to take place from 23 – 29 July. There is an admission charge.
In late August, you can enjoy 5 days of Baroque and Renaissance music in various venues in Périgueux. Listen in style in a stately chateau or abbey – it’s all part of the Sinfonia en Perigord.
If the thought of all that music is giving you a headache, then how about the Mime Festival in Périgueux? This has been running for 35 years and is now one of the biggest Mime events in Europe. it usually takes place towards the end of July. There are workshops, films, shows, conferences and open air performances. Some shows are free. Just remember to keep the noise down…
12 – 13 May 2018 is the date of Les Floralies at Saint-Jean-de-Cole. This flower festival attracts people from all over the world. Over 100 exhibitors display their wares and much of this pretty village is covered in flowers. Discover new varieties and rare species at this long-standing festival.
Towards the end of the year you can get in the Christmas spirit by visiting one of the numerous Christmas markets that take place in many of the villages. The one at Sarlat has an ice rink and lovely wooden chalets.
Whenever you decide to visit the Dordogne, you will probably find a festival happening fairly close by.