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Dordogne: tourism and sightseeing

Photo of Dordogne in France

Visit Dordogne, France

The Dordogne has stunning medieval castles, historical villages and towns, and the famous prehistoric caves of the UNESCO listed Vezere Valley to enjoy, each of them set in the attractive landscapes of the region, with rivers, forests and beautiful countryside, so it is no surprise that the Dordogne is one of the most popular destinations in France!

Dordogne tourist sights and places to visit

The Dordogne is one of our favourite departments in France, and because there is so much variety the main challenge is knowing where to start when describing the highlights - and for you to decide where to stay when you visit!

To make your travel planning slightly easier we have divided our coverage into four distinct regions.

Note that the Dordogne area is quite large, perhaps two hours drive from north to south and a similar distance east to west, even more if the places are not close to the larger roads, so you are unlikely to see everything in one visit - no problem though, because you will certainly want to come back again!

Perigord Noir - the south-east Dordogne

SarlatIn Perigord Noir you will find many of the most famous castles, towns and villages of the Dordogne region, many in spectacular locations, and with fascinating histories to tell - but you will also find more tourists and busier roads, especially in high season.

Sarlat, 'medieval capital of the Dordogne' and perhaps the most lovely town in France, is in Perigord Noir, as are a multitude of smaller picturesque villages and towns.

France This Way comment: this is certainly the most visited part of the Dordogne and contains many of the highlights although we would be inclined to visit outside high season if possible to appreciate it at its best.

See places in the South-East

Perigord Noir - the south-east Dordogne

Beynac

The riverside setting, ancient village streets and castle make Beynac a highlight for visitors

See Beynac

Chateau de Montfort

Montfort is a fairytale castle on a hill a few kilometres from Sarlat

See Chateau de Montfort

Chateau de Puymartin

Puymartin is another of the lovely castles in Perigord Noir

See Chateau de Puymartin

Sarlat

The most extensive, and most visited, historical town in the Dordogne

See Sarlat

Chateau de Beynac

Attention to historical detail and views across the river make Beynac castle a treat for visitors

See Chateau de Beynac

La Roque-Gageac

The ancient stone houses along the river at La Roque-Gageac make it very scenic

See La Roque-Gageac

Domme

Domme is a hilltop village with some of the best views in the Dordogne, and extensive caves

See Domme

Chateau de Castelnaud

Castelnaud is both a medieval castle and an extensive museum of medieval warfare - children will love it!

See Chateau de Castelnaud

Chateau des Milandes

15th century Chateau des Milandes is well known because Josephine Baker owned the castle during the 20th century

See Chateau des Milandes

Saint-Cyprien

Another attractive Dordogne market town

See Saint-Cyprien

Perigord Purple - the south-west Dordogne

EymetAs well as well known medieval towns such as Bergerac, on the Dordogne river and with a lovely historic centre, this is a region to discover bastide towns (medieval new towns founded in the 12th-13th centuries) several of which are found in the southern Dordogne (and south into Lot-et-Garonne such as Villereal and Monflanquin).

The countryside north of Bergerac is generally forested hills, while to the south you are more likely to see fields of sunflowers and extensive vineyards.

France This way comment: many visitors love this region for its unspoiled nature, medieval villages, and also the lower visitor numbers and quieter roads and return year after year...

See places in the South-West

Perigord Purple - the south-west Dordogne

Beaumont-du-Perigord

Beaumont is a small traditional bastide town

See Beaumont-du-Perigord

Belves

Belves is a very attractive village, listed as a 'plus beau village' and with a great deal of character

See Belves

Bergerac

The extensive 'old town' and riverside setting make Bergerac very popular

See Bergerac

Cadouin

Cadouin is a very small village with an imposing abbey, listed as a UNESCO heritage site

See Cadouin

Chateau de Biron

The hilltop position and far reaching views make Chateau de Biron one of our favourite castles

See Chateau de Biron

Eymet

South of Bergerac, Eymet is a traditional medieval bastide town

See Eymet

Issigeac

Issigeac is an unspoiled medieval village very well known for its Sunday market

See Issigeac

Le Bugue

Le Bugue is a small town on the river well placed to explore the centre of the region

See Le Bugue

Limeuil

Limeuil is a pretty village on the river classed as one of 'the most beautiful in France'

See Limeuil

Molieres

Molieres might officially be an 'unfinished' bastide but there is still plenty to attract you!

See Molieres

Monpazier

Monpazier is among our favourite five villages in the whole of France. Unmissable.

See Monpazier

Montferrand-du-Perigord

Montferrand is a very small village on a steep hill in a scenic part of the Dordogne

See Montferrand-du-Perigord

Saint-Avit-Senieur

Saint-Avit is visited for its medieval abbey, a listed UNESCO heritage site

See Saint-Avit-Senieur

Tremolat

Tremolat is a picturesque village and nearby Cirque de Tremolat has incomparable views across the Dordogne river

See Tremolat

Villamblard

Villamblard is a very traditional French town in the countryside north of Bergerac

See Villamblard

Villefranche-du-Perigord

Villefranche-du-Perigord is a bastide town in the valleys to the south of the Dordogne

See Villefranche-du-Perigord

Vézère Valley and Les Eyzies to Terrasson

Font-de-Gaume caves in the Vezere valleyHere you can explore the prehistoric settlements of the Vézère Valley as the roots of prehistoric man are discovered in the Dordogne region - much of the region is now a UNESCO listed world heritage site.

Although there are less 'large' towns here, this is the most central part of the region, so is a good choice if you hope to explore all parts of the Dordogne.

France This Way comment: the sense of contact with prehistory along the Vezere as you visit the caves and prehistoric dwellings make it a very interesting region, and it is also very scenic, perhaps the most picturesque part of the department.

See places in the Vezere Valley

Vézère Valley and Les Eyzies to Terrasson

Les Eyzies

Les Eyzies is a small village much visited as part of a tour of the Vézère valley

See Les Eyzies

Font-de-Gaume

Font-de-Gaume has the only prehistoric paintings in the Dordogne where visitors can see the originals

See Font-de-Gaume

Chateau de Commarque

Abandoned for several centuries, Commarque is now rediscovered and a fascinating castle to visit

See Chateau de Commarque

La-Roque-Saint-Christophe

Very interesting prehistoric settlement set into the side of a cliff along the Dordogne river

See La-Roque-Saint-Christophe

Plazac

Plazac is very tiny - but also very picturesque

See Plazac

Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere

St Leon sur Vezere is a very pretty village on the Vezere river centred around a lovely 12th century church

See Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere

Lascaux caves

Lascaux caves are probably the most famous prehistoric cave paintings in the world

See Lascaux caves

Montignac

Montignac is a pretty riverside town most visited for its proximity to Lascaux caves

See Montignac

Saint-Amand-de-Coly

St-Amand-de-Coly is another of the exceptionally pretty villages to be found in the Dordogne

See Saint-Amand-de-Coly

Terrasson

The world renowned Gardens of the Imagination in Terrasson are the major highlight and attract visitors from all across France

See Terrasson

Perigord Vert and Perigord Blanc - the northern Dordogne

BrantomeLess visited than the southern Dordogne, the north also has its share of market towns and castles, beautiful scenery and picturesque villages, including Perigueux, 'capital' of the Dordogne.

Part of these northern areas fall within the Perigord-Limousin Natural Regional Park.

France This way comment: this region is quite different in character to the 'central' Dordogne and provides a quite different visitor experience, with less major sights but more peace and quiet. Lovely region to unwind!

See places in the North

Perigord Vert and Perigord Blanc - the northern Dordogne

Nontron

Nontron is a quiet town to the south of the Natural Regional Park of Perigord-Limousin

See Nontron

Chateau de Jumilhac

The Chateau de Jumilhac, sometimes called the 'sleeping beauty castle', is especially famous for its multi-spired roofline

See Chateau de Jumilhac

Chateau de Puyguilhem

Chateau Puyguilhem is unusual in being a renaissance period castle - most here are medieval in origins

See Chateau de Puyguilhem

Thiviers

Thiviers is renowned for being the foie gras capital of the northern Dordogne

See Thiviers

Saint-Jean-de-Cole

Saint-Jean-de-Cole has a riverside setting and old stone bridge, a castle and many lovely houses. A highlight.

See Saint-Jean-de-Cole

Bourdeilles

Bourdeilles, and the castle around which the pretty village developed, make for a lovely stroll in the northern Dordogne

See Bourdeilles

Brantome

Brantome is a town and abbey in a particularly lovely setting on the Dronne River

See Brantome

Riberac

Riberac is a quiet town well known for its important regional market

See Riberac

Perigueux

Perigueux is an important regional centre with an imposing byzantine cathedral and interesting medieval town

See Perigueux

Excideuil

Excideuil is a market town near the Perigord-Limousin Natural Park

See Excideuil

Chateau de Hautefort

Often claimed to be the most beautiful of the many castles in the Dordogne, Hautefort also has very impressive views

See Chateau de Hautefort

Popular activities

We lived near Monpazier for 10 years and now live in Bergerac. Apart from exploring many of the towns and villages our personal favourite activities (and also thos of our visitors) include:

  • Canoeing along the Dordogne river, available in many of the popular tourist destinations along the river and also in places along the Vézere and in Brântome
  • Visiting one of the popular Dordogne markets
  • Exploring the quiet backroads which are usually unknown to tourists and discovering the perfect picnic spot
  • Cycling through the small hamlets and rolling countryside on quiet roads
  • Horseriding is widely available
  • There are many other activities including several organised around the 'prehistoric connection' such as dinosaur parks and prehistoric village
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Map of Dordogne with attractions and places to visit

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Places to visit: towns and villages

Selected places to visit in Dordogne

A list of places in Dordogne with detailed reviews from France This Way

- Beaumont-du-Perigord
- Belves
- Bergerac
- Beynac
- Bourdeilles
- Brantome
- Cadouin
- Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
- Chateau de Beynac
- Chateau de Biron
- Chateau de Castelnaud
- Chateau de Commarque
- Chateau de Hautefort
- Chateau de Jumilhac
- Chateau de Losse
- Chateau de Montfort
- Chateau de Puyguilhem
- Chateau de Puymartin
- Chateau des Milandes
- Domme
- Excideuil
- Eymet
- Font-de-Gaume
- Issigeac
- La Roque-Gageac
- La-Roque-Saint-Christophe
- Lascaux caves
- Le Bugue
- Les Eyzies
- Les Jardins de Sardy
- Limeuil
- Molieres
- Monpazier
- Montferrand-du-Perigord
- Montignac
- Nontron
- Perigueux
- Plazac
- Riberac
- Saint-Amand-de-Coly
- Saint-Avit-Senieur
- Saint-Cyprien
- Saint-Jean-de-Cole
- Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere
- Sarlat
- Terrasson
- Thiviers
- Tremolat
- Villamblard
- Villefranche-du-Perigord

Markets

Market towns & days in Dordogne

all markets in morning unless otherwise stated

Belves: Saturday
Bergerac: Wednesday all day & Saturday all day
Brantome: Friday
Brantome: Monday (high season only)
Domme: Thursday
Excideuil: Thursday
Eymet: Thursday
Issigeac: Sunday
Lalinde: Thursday
Le Bugue: Tuesday
Le Buisson-de-Cadouin: Friday
Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare: Friday
Les Eyzies: Monday all day (high season only)
Lisle: Tuesday
Mareuil: Tuesday
Monpazier: Thursday
Montignac: Wednesday & Saturday
Montpon-Menesterol: Wednesday
Mussidan: Saturday
Perigueux: Wednesday all day & Saturday all day
Piegut-Pluviers: Wednesday
Riberac: Tuesday & Friday
Saint-Astier: Thursday
Saint-Cyprien: Sunday
Saint-Pierre-de-Chignac: Saturday
Sarlat: Wednesday & Saturday all day
Terrasson: Thursday
Thenon: Tuesday
Thiviers: Tuesday (high season only)
Thiviers: Saturday
Tocane-Saint-Apre: Monday &
Vergt: Friday

Dordogne tourism and sightseeing

Selected tourist destinations in the Dordogne department

The following sites have received official "tourist classifications"...

4* Towns in Bloom

Bergerac: Tourist guide

Perigueux: Tourist guide

Towns of Art and History

Perigueux: Tourist guide

Sarlat: Tourist guide

Sites of Natural Beauty

Grotte du Grand Roc:

Secteur Sauvegardé (protected historical town centre)

Monpazier: Tourist guide

Perigueux: Tourist guide

Sarlat: Tourist guide

Listed 'Remarkable Gardens'

Jardin de Conty:

Jardin de la Daille:

Jardin de Planbuisson:

Jardins de l'Albarède:

Jardins de l'Imaginaire:

Jardins de la Bourlie:

Jardins de Marqueyssac:

Jardins du château de Caudon:

Jardins du château de Hautefort:

Jardins du château de Losse:

Jardins du château de Montréal:

Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac:

Jardins du Sardy:

Parc et potager de Pouthet:

Religious Monuments

Abbaye de Saint Amand de Coly (Saint-Amand-de-Coly):

Abbaye de Saint Martial (Paunat):

Abbaye Notre Dame (Chancelade):

Abbaye Saint Pierre (Brantome):

Ancien Prieuré de Merlande (La Chapelle-Gonaguet):

Cathédrale Saint-Sardos (Sarlat):

Eglise de Saint Léonce (Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere):

Eglise de Saint-Hilaire et Eglise de Saint-Nicholas (Tremolat):

Eglise de saint-Pierre (Audrix):

Eglise Notre Dame de Faye (Faye):

Eglise Notre Dame de l'Assomption (Belves):

Eglise Notre Dame de l'Assomption (Thiviers):

Eglise notre-Dame de Nativité (Cenac-et-Saint-Julien):

Eglise Saint Etienne de la Cité (Perigueux):

Eglise Sainte-Croix (Beaumont-du-Perigord):

towns classified as Recommended Detours

Nontron: Tourist guide

Sarlat: Tourist guide

National Monuments

Abri de Cap Blanc:

Abri of Laugerie-Haute:

Chateau de Puyguilhem: Tourist guide

Decorated caves of the Vezere Valley: Tourist guide

Font-de-Gaume: Tourist guide

Montcaret Archaeological site:

Villages classified as "most beautiful villages"

Belves: Tourist guide

Beynac: Tourist guide

Domme: Tourist guide

La Roque-Gageac: Tourist guide

Limeuil: Tourist guide

Monpazier: Tourist guide

Saint-Amand-de-Coly: Tourist guide

Saint-Jean-de-Cole: Tourist guide

Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere: Tourist guide

UNESCO world heritage sites

Le-Buisson-de-Cadouin eglise abbatiale (monuments on French pilgrim routes): Tourist guide

Perigueux cathédrale Saint Front (monuments on French pilgrim routes): Tourist guide

Saint-Avit Eglise (monuments on French pilgrim routes): Tourist guide

Vezere Valley: Tourist guide

Related

See an index of all Dordogne communes

Feature article: countryside and bastide towns in the southern Dordogne - Monpazier, Villefranche-du-Perigord and area

A common arrival point for visitors which has regular 'low cost' flights from the UK is Bergerac airport

French version: Dordogne (Francais)

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