Europe

Dordogne, France

dordogne1

Discover the Spirit and Soul of Traditional France

Situated to the east of Bordeaux, the Dordogne Valley feels like the land that time forgot. The region offers everything you might want in an authentic French vacation – gorgeous scenery, fascinating prehistory, honey-colored châteaux, medieval villages and delicious culinary traditions.

An endless choice of activities makes the Southwest great for families. At Lascaux, witness a glimpse of prehistoric life – cave paintings and sculptures date back 28,000 years. More ‘recent’ history is evident in the dramatic cliff-side châteaux and fortified bastide towns dating mostly from the 1200s. It’s not hard to imagine life during the Hundred Years’ War, when French and English monarchs mounted attacks on each other’s castles on opposite sides of the valley. With their arcaded squares, the towns of Sarlat, Monpazier, Issigeac and Domme are architectural jewels from this time.

The hundreds of quiet country roads are ideal for exploring by car or on a bicycle. Countless footpaths trace ancient pilgrimage routes. Or if you really want to move at a slower pace, drift along a winding river by canoe. Food-lovers will enjoy the culinary specialities of the region – foie gras, truffles, fresh salads dressed with walnut oil (pressed in centuries-old mills), and duck prepared a dozen ways. Wine connoisseurs can savor the reds of Bergerac and Cahors or, during a great day trip, visit the grand crus domaines of St. Emilion, Margaux and Pomerol. All of these culinary treasures are key ingredients in what’s called the “French paradox” – despite the apparent richness of the local cuisine, the people of the southwest enjoy the best health in the country! Must be something in the air…

Dordogne Must-Dos and Can’t Misses…

  • Wander the steep medieval streets of Limeuil at the confluence of the Vézère and Dordogne rivers
  • Explore the bastide town of Monpazier
  • Relish market day in Sarlat, St. Cyprien or Issigeac
  • Enjoy a Michelin star experience at L’Esplanade, high above the Dordogne in Domme
  • Visit the formal gardens of the Manoir d’Eyrignac near Sarlat
  • Take a guided tour of prehistoric cave paintings at Font de Gaume near Les Eyzies, and the bas relief sculptures of Abri Cap Blanc
  • Tour the fortified Pont Valentré and the Cathédrale St. Etienne at Cahors
  • Sample some grand cru Bordeaux wines in St. Emilion

Dordogne for Kids…

  • See medieval history come to life at the ancient warfare museum at the Château de Castelnaud
  • Take an afternoon to canoe down the Dordogne or Vézère rivers
  • Explore the stalactite caves and cross the underground lake at the Gouffre de Padirac
  • Go hot air ballooning and marvel at the cliffside villages
  • Follow forest and riverside trails on horseback
  • Tour animal parks to see monkeys, reptiles, eagles and ancient European species

Chateau de Queynac

A family château in the gardens

Bedrooms: 4Bathrooms: 4Children: YesMax Occupancy: 8

Maison des Cordeliers

A country home in the vineyards

Bedrooms: 4Bathrooms: 4Children: YesMax Occupancy:

Chateau Esperance

A historic home with fabulous valley views

Bedrooms: 5Bathrooms: 5Children: YesMax Occupancy: 10-12

Chateau Marryat

A classic French home-away-from-home

Bedrooms: 5Bathrooms: 4Children: YesMax Occupancy: 8

La Ferme du Noyer

A historic Dordogne hideaway

Bedrooms: 5Bathrooms: 5Children: YesMax Occupancy: 10

Chateau Valandraud

A wine lover’s dream

Bedrooms: 6Bathrooms: 6Children: YesMax Occupancy: 12

Chateaux de Chenoix

Château living on a riverside estate

Bedrooms: 7Bathrooms: 7Children: YesMax Occupancy: