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Varaignes travel guide

Photo of Varaignes

Visit Varaignes (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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Varaignes is a village in the north of the Dordogne department in the area known as the Perigord Vert. It is situated inside the Perigord-Limousin Regional National Park. It is about 35 kilometers east of Angouleme and 16 kilometers north west of Nontron.

Explore Varaignes

France This Way comment: If you are in the area Varaignes is a pretty village dominated by its ancient castle which is home to a weaving and slipper-making museum.

The castle in Varaignes dates back to the 13th century when its medieval keep was built. Later a hexaganol tower was built in Gothic style in the 15th century and in the 16th century the main building was added in Renaissance style.

Varaignes

The castle was later abandoned until the villagers took charge of the castle and renovated it. It is now home to the Museum and workshop of weavers and slipper makers. A guided visit explains the history of the chateau as well as the crafts involved in the production of slippers and textiles.

Next to the castle is the halle and the centre of the village with pretty stone houses and a couple of shopes.

Behind the castel is the church which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and altered in the 15 and 19th centuries. It has a large square bell-tower which along with the towers of the castle dominate views of the village.

Also to see in the village is the ancient grange aux dîmes where villagers used to go to pay their taxes, and an ancient lavoir where villagers used to wash their clothes.

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Running along the southern edge of the village is the Ruisseau Le Crochet, also known as Varaignes creek. This is a tributary of the Bandiat river and the valleys of the river and the creek are protected as 'natural zones of ecological interest' and are home to nearly a hundred different plant species.

Varaignes is well known in the area for its annual turkey fair which takes place on the 11 November and dates back to the days of Henry IV. During the fair flocks of turkeys are paraded through the streets of Varaignes by their breeders who dress in traditional costumes.

As well as the parade of turkeys there is a contest to find the person who can make the best glouglou (turkey gobbling). In the evening there is a huge meal, of turkey of course!

Stalls set up selling traditional products including bourrou which is a sparkling grape drink and chestnut related products as there are many chestnut trees in the area. The castle puts on various animations and music is played throughout the village. The fair attracts over 10000 visitors each year.

Varaignes

Attractions nearby

Just 5 minutes south of Varaignes is the village of Javerlhac-et-la-Chapelle-Saint-Robert. This small village has a lovely riverside setting and is worth the short detour.

 Nontron is nearby and is famous for its Nontron knives which have been in production here for over 500 years.

La Rochefoucauld is about a 20 minute drive away and is home to the Chateau de La Rochefoucauld which is the most important castle in the Charente department.

Explore elsewhere in the Perigord Vert. You can find more travel ideas in the Dordogne guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also: 

Photos of Varaignes

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • centre
  • centre1
  • centre2
  • chateau-rear
  • chateau1
  • church-interior
  • church
  • foire-aux-dindons
  • halle
  • mairie
  • old-streets
  • pigeonnier

Map of Varaignes and places nearby

 
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Visit near Varaignes with France This Way reviews

Marthon

Marthon

In Marthon there is no single monument that dominates, but rather several small buildings and historic sites of interest

Marthon guide
Nontron

Nontron

Nontron is a quiet town within the Perigord-Limousin Regional Natural Park to the north of the Dordogne

Nontron guide
La Rochefoucauld

La Rochefoucauld

After exploring the Chateau de Rochefoucauld be sure to stroll around the rest of the historic town centre

La Rochefoucauld guide
Chateau de La Rochefoucauld

Chateau de La Rochefoucauld

The Chateau de La Rochefoucauld is the most important castle in Charente, with both medieval and renaissance parts to the castle

Chateau de La Rochefoucauld guide
Villebois-Lavalette

Villebois-Lavalette

The village of Villebois-Lavalette is pleasant to explore, and also has a castle to see

Villebois-Lavalette guide
Torsac

Torsac

Torsac is one of several small but interesting villages to stroll around in Charente

Torsac guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Dordogne

Address: Varaignes, Bussière-Badil, Nontron, Aquitaine, 24360, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 45.5989, longitude 0.53167

Plan your visit to Varaignes, Dordogne

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Grotte de Montgaudier: site of natural beauty (9 km)
  • Nontron: recommended detour (13 km)
  • La Rochefoucauld: village d'etape (19 km)
  • Perigord-Limousin: regional natural parc (21 km)
  • Abbaye Cistercienne de Boschaud (Villars): religious monument (26 km)
  • Chateau de Puyguilhem: national monument (26 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Vincent (Puymoyen): religious monument (27 km)
  • Abbaye Saint Pierre (Brantome): religious monument (28 km)
  • Réserve naturelle régionale Étang de la Monnerie: site of natural beauty (29 km)
  • Cathédrale Saint Pierre (Angouleme): religious monument (30 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Jean-Baptiste (Coulgens): religious monument (31 km)
  • Angouleme: town of art and history (31 km)

The French version of this page is at Varaignes (Francais)

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