Things to do, places to visit

The Dordogne has long been a favourite with visitors from all over the world, it has everything, natural beauty, history, great food and wine, and picturesque towns and villages. Life is still lived at a pace long forgotten.

We will try to give you a flavour of what you can expect from a holiday in the Dordogne.

There are many day and night markets for you to enjoy in all the surrounding towns and villages. The Dordogne is world famous for its pre-historic sites, caves, chateaux and castles.
During the summer, there are numerous concerts and festivals, and opportunites to dine al-fresco either at home or in the array of local restaurants. For the more active, there is cycling, canoeing, swimming, fishing, horseriding, walking, golf and activity parks.

Day and Night Markets

The Dordogne is host to numerous markets, both day and night. Nearly every town and village has at least one market per week. Details are provided in the books and leaflets in the gite.
The night markets often have music and provide a selection of different foods, such as oysters, duck and cassoulet. Take your own glass and plate and enjoy the atmosphere.
The locals still traditionally buy their food from markets and, during the summer months, there are a variety of crafts available as well as local delicacies.


Restaurants

Restaurants abound, ranging from simple menus to gastronomic. You can still have a delicious 3 course lunch for 11 euros, often including wine. At the other end of the scale, there are Michelin star restaurants.
Perigordine cuisine, such as foie gras and duck dishes, is world renowned, although steak and frites still remain a popular choice.
However, it is now easier to find a wider selection of food, such as pizza, chinese and indian, and lovers of fish and vegetarians are catered for. We will be happy to recommend our favourites.


Towns and Villages

It is impossible to list all the towns and villages to visit, but here are a few of our favourites.

Perigueux is the capital of the Perigord and has a medieval centre with squares and narrow lanes hosting many appealing shops and restaurants. It has two museums, one specialising in Roman artefacts and the other in local history. Twice a week, part of the market is held in front of the 11th century cathedral. Brantome is a beautiful town encircled by a loop of the river Dronne and which is also known as the venice of the north. The old Benedictine abbey was founded by Charlemagne in 769 and overlooks the town. At Brantome, you can take a short boat trip through the town. Sarlat is the most visited of all the towns, it has a wealth of architectural gems, mainly built in the Renaissance period. Take the opportunity to visit the market held each Saturday in the medieval centre of the town. Bergerac is situated on the banks of the Dordogne and has an old quarter of quaint alleys housing many fine stone and half-timbered buildings. The town has a Musee Tabac and you can sample a few wines in the Maison des Vins. The Chateau de Monbazillac is nearby and there you can both taste and buy their world famous dessert wine.


Chateaux and Other Places of Interest

The Dordogne is home to a thousand and one chateaux, some of the most famous being those of Hautefort, Beynac, Castelnaud and Milandes. In 2006, the 'Maison Forte de Reignac', which overlooks the river Vezere, was opened to the public. It is the only totally intact chateau in France of its type, being built into an escarpement.
The area is a delight for those interested in ancient history, and a must for those wanting to visit prehistoric sites. The caves of the world renowned Lascaux, home to pictures drawn 3,000 years ago, are to be found just outside Montignac and, the Musee National at Les Eyzies houses France's richest prehistory museum.


For the Energetic

If you feel in need of some physical exercise, there are plenty of things to do. Canoeing is an excellent way of burning off excess energy whilst also taking in some of the visual delights of the area. Canoes can be hired for travelling down most of the local rivers and you can tailor the length of your trip to anything from 1 hour to 7 hours. There are 2 golf courses close to Perigueux which are open to the public, they have the benefit of being far less crowded than the courses in most other countries. In July and August you can take a dip in the local swimming pool which is just a short stroll away, and a 5 minute drive will take you to either of the 2 man made lakes. These have a beach and are used for swimming and they have the advantage of having a bar. Walking is a popular pastime and there are many paths through the local woods, equally mountain bikes are provided for those who would rather cycle.