Things to do in the Dordogne

So much to see and do in the Dordogne

In an area of such beauty and diversity, there are many different things to do in the Dordogne. It is difficult to adequately cover an area that ranges from Bordeaux in the west, to the Pyrenees in the south and The Massif Central in the east.

Dordogne is actually a département and not a region. It is known to the French as the Périgord. There are four coloured-coded areas, each packed with things to see and do;

Périgord Blanc (white)
After the limestone hills around the ‘capital’ city of Périgueux
Périgord Pourpre (purple)
For the wine growing regions around Bergerac
Périgord Vert (green)
For the forested regions of the north west
Périgord Noir (black)
For the dark oak forests around the Vézère Valley and Sarlat

Dordogne is not dissimilar to Tuscany with its green rolling land, wooded hillsides and gently winding rivers. The Dordogne River is not only beautiful to look at. Canoe, fish, kayak, motorboat, raft, row, sail and water ski on it and swim in it! The Vézère flows through an area rich in pre-historic caves which include Les Eyzies and the Unesco World Heritage Site at Lascaux. (Lascaux IV opened in December 2016.) Montignac and Rocamadour are also just a short drive away.

Things to do in Dordogne – Enjoy the wine

Some of the best vineyards in the world lie within a two hour drive at St Emilion. A little further west is the right bank of the medoc with the classic vineyards of Margaux, Pauillac and St Julien. Nearer to home are the more regional and affordable wines of Bergerac, Monbazillac and Cahors. The Bergerac vineyards of Pecharment are under an hour away. If you love wine, you certainly won’t be short of things to do in Dordogne!

Towns, villages & gardens

During the Middle Ages the English, under Plantaganet kings such as Henry II (who was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine) and Richard the Lionheart, ruled the area of Aquitaine. The area around Les Milandes is rich in this period’s history with numerous chateaux, abbayes, bastides, chapels and churches.

There are beautiful Bastide towns such as Domme and Monpazier, while Sarlat is said to be the best preserved medieval town in France. Sarlat has many free attractions including street theatre performers, acrobats, musicians, jugglers, concerts, festivals and exhibitions. Brantome is known as ‘the Venice of the Dordogne’, while Perigueux boasts a Cathedral, Roman theatre and a medieval vielle ville. Bergerac is the capital of the Perigord Pourpre. This pretty town with a Musee de Tabac has an excellent wine tasting centre in the Recollets Cloister.

Things to do in Dordogne

If you love gardens and gardening then the Dordogne has some truly amazing places to visit. Chateau de Marqueyssac is 3 kms east of Beynac. Its terraced ‘hanging’ gardens are a sight to behold and the views of the chateaux of Beynac, Fayrac and Castelnaud are tremendous. The romantic gardens in the pretty village of Paunat. Les Jardins de la Chartreuse du Colombier are enchanting.

Things to do in Dordogne – Enjoy the food

The food of the region is world renowned. Home to foie gras, truffles, walnuts, confits and other Perigourdine specialities, there are many restaurants where you can enjoy excellent food and wines. The numerous, lively and colourful markets are ideal for those on a self catering holiday.

Things to do in Dordogne – Get active

There are many varied activities to enjoy. These include canoeing, fishing and swimming on the river, hot air ballooning, visiting markets and vineyards, picnicking, searching for antiques, cycling, eating, walking, golf, tennis, tree walking and horseriding. You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do in Dordogne!