What to do in the Dordogne

16 December 2016

Guests who haven’t been to this part of France before often ask for our recommendations as to what to do in the Dordogne. The good news is that there really is something for everyone to enjoy here. We’ve racked our brains (and enjoyed some lively debate) and come up with our top 10 list of things to do in the Dordogne. It’s in no particular order (that would have been far too tricky…)

Canoeing really is great fun. You’ll enjoy some amazing views while paddling down the Dordogne River. Close to us are the beautiful villages of Beynac, Castelnaud and La Roque-Gageac and several incredible castles (also well worth a visit). Take in these sights while gently gliding down the river (and getting a bit of exercise!). There is a canoe hire place in our nearest village at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.

Ballooning is pretty expensive but if you can afford to splash the Euros then a trip in the skies over the Dordogne is well worthwhile. You’ll pass over stunning countryside, magnificent chateaux, vineyards, gardens and medieval villages. ‘Larks’ can plump for an early start, ‘Owls’ can opt to see a beautiful sunset.

Wine tasting simply had to make it on to the list. The area’s fertile soil, accommodating climate and methods of production all contribute to some fantastic wines. While Bordeaux is widely regarded as the wine capital of the world, there are several vineyards reasonably close to us which produce fine wines and offer really good value !

The amazing Josephine Baker

We have treated Parc des Milandes and Château des Milandes as one entity. They are right on our doorstep and well worth a visit. Parc des Milandes was built by Josephine Baker, an incredible lady who rose from poverty to become a music hall star. Among the beautiful grounds is a restaurant and bar where you can sit and enjoy a glass of something while watching the river meander by. There are plans to hold musical events in the park in 2017.

Château des Milandes was restored by Josephine in the 1930s and the building still pays homage to her. The castle dates back to the 15th century and is a fine example of Renaissance architecture. They also put on regular birds of prey demonstrations.

More ideas on what to do in the Dordogne

Lascaux caves – On 15 December 2016, Lascaux IV officially opened (some 17,000 years after man first drew on the walls of the original caves at Lascaux). Millions of Euros have been invested in the development of this new site in Montignac. It is a representation of the entire cave system of the original Lascaux caves and forecast to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in France!

Cycling – from the sporty and keen to those just wanting a gentle pedal, the local area is ideal. There isn’t a great deal of traffic on the roads around Les Milandes, so you can cycle to a local town or village and reward yourself with a pastry or two. There is a bike hire shop in Castelnaud.

Walking in the stunning countryside, around medieval chateaux or in beautiful gardens (such as Marqueyssac) is a great way to unwind. If you are used to living and/or working in a busy town or city then this simple pleasure takes on a whole new meaning.

Horse riding – if you’d rather have something equine do the work for you then there are stables nearby which cater for children, inexperienced riders and those used to being in the saddle.

Sarlat lies around 15 – 20 minutes away from Les Milandes and is the capital of the Perigord Noir. Walk through beautiful medieval streets among fifteenth and sixteenth century houses constructed in mellow honey coloured stone. It really is picture postcard pretty.

Take in a market or two. One of our favourites is the Sunday morning market at St Cyprien (around 10 minuntes from Les Milandes). Here you can stock up on fantastic local produce. During the peak summer months there are late night markets in many local villages. You can find one of these evening markets on most nights of the week during July and August and some have live music.

And if all that sounds too energetic you can just enjoy the amazing views of the Dordogne from one of our loungers!