The Perigord Vert
The Perigord Vert is probably the least well known and certainly the most rural of the four colour-coded areas which make up the Dordogne. (The others being Perigord Blanc, Perigord Noir and Perigord Pourpre.)
As its name suggest, the Perigord Vert has large swathes of grass and woodland interspersed with green valleys. This area stretches across the north of the Dordogne. At its easterly point is Savignac-Lédrier and down in its westerly corner is La Roche-Chalais. Streams and rivers punctuate the landscape and there are some incredibly beautiful landscapes along both the river Dronne and the river Auvézère. The Perigord Blanc lies beneath most of the Perigord Vert’s southern ‘border’.
The sights of the Perigord Vert
The town of Brantôme is surrounded by the Dronne river and is often referred to as the Venice of the Perigord. (Local monks created this island a thousand years ago by digging a mill-stream across a meander in the river.) Brantôme is still home to a Benedictine abbey and the church of Saint Pierre (claimed by some to be the oldest in France). This pretty town has a Friday market, troglodyte caves and plenty of shops, cafes and bars to enjoy. It is well worth a visit.
The largest town and the capital of the Perigord Vert is Nontron (and this is still small!). Nontron is in the heart of the ‘Parc Naturel Perigord-Limousin’ – a park that promotes eco-tourism and aims to protect human, cultural and environmental heritage. Within the park is the village of Jumilhac Le Grand. It is home to Chateau de Jumilhac. This area has long been associated with gold and Chateau de Jumilhac is worth a visit. Here you will discover tales of alchemy, gold and imprisonment!
But, it isn’t the park that Nontron is famous for, it’s actually knives. Apparently, knives have been made here since the Middle Ages and there is a festival to celebrate the Nontron knife which is usually held during the first weekend in August.
The cuisine of the Perigord Vert
However, there is much more to the Perigord Vert than forged blades. The area is renowned for its cuisine. Local specialities include walnuts, asparagus, strawberries, mushrooms, truffles and foie gras. Ribérac is noted for its confit de canard and foie gras – local delicacies which can be tried in the town’s restaurants.
The local rosé is a great tipple (and is just one of the excellent Bergerac wines available). If truffles are more your thing, then a visit to Sorges to take in the Musée de la Truffe – yes a museum dedicated to truffles – should be on your itinerary.
Sticking with the foodie theme, the small market town of Thivers is known as the capital of foie gras. The Saturday market showcases all manner of local produce; apples, Limousin beef, pork, duck, goose and walnuts, but from November to March it is usually the foie gras that takes centre stage.
The Perigord Vert also has stunning chateaux, Romanesque churches and bastides to enjoy. And if you like to keep active, biking, canoeing, hiking and various water sports are all available. As well as the rivers there are artificial lakes to enjoy.