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The most beautiful villages (and towns) to visit in Dordogne – Périgord

La roque gageac dordogne

I’m originally from Périgueux, and had the opportunity to explore the Dordogne with my family when I was younger. As you know, we find it hard to stay put, so whenever Matthieu and I come to spend a few days in the Périgord, I take the opportunity to show him a new area. Now we’re enjoying visiting this beautiful region with our daughter even more.

All this to say that we did a lot of wandering in the Dordogne , and there are a lot of beautiful villages. So, in this article we’re going to share with you our favorite Dordogne towns and villages, which we’ve chosen to classify by Périgord color. Why is the Périgord divided into different zones, each with its own specific color? Yet another peculiarity of this département, which goes by 2 different names (Dordogne or Périgord)! We explain it all below.

A quick note before we start: Obviously, we haven’t visited every village in the Dordogne yet, and this selection has been made from those we have. Feel free to leave us a comment at the end of the article with your favorite villages to share with other readers.

Our most beautiful villages in Périgord Noir

Périgord Noir, to the south-east, is famous for its dense oak forests, which give this part of the Dordogne a very dark appearance. We love this area for the beauty of its natural landscapes, made up of cliffs offering breathtaking views, crossed by two magnificent rivers, the Dordogne and Vézère. We think it’s one of the most beautiful landscapes in France!

Another feature of this area is the number of prehistoric sites, such as the Lascaux caves, and medieval villages to see, with Sarlat-la-Canéda at its epicenter. No fewer than 9 villages have been awarded the “Most Beautiful Villages in France” label.

Sarlat-la-Canéda

Let’s start with the village we recommend you visit: Sarlat! Every time we visit, we feel like we’ve stepped into a time machine, and are walking through a living tableau of the Middle Ages. The center of Sarlat-La-Canéda is a succession of cobbled streets, lined with beautiful old buildings with lauze roofs.

This commune will certainly ring a bell, as it’s France’s third most filmed city . The city is also classified as a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire, with 66 listed monuments.

If you’re in the mood for greenery and freshness, Les Jardins d’Eyrignac is subtly designed to leave you feeling as zen as ever. Located 20 minutes northeast of Sarlat, it’s a site to be integrated between Lascaux and Sarlat.

We’ve written an article giving you all our tips and itinerary for visiting Sarlat on foot, the capital of the Périgord Noir.

La Roque-Gageac

This village didn’t finish in the top 3 of France’s favorite villages in 2017 for nothing (the famous TV program presented by Stéphane BERN)! This village, wedged between the Dordogne and the cliff, with its cliffside houses, is incredibly beautiful.

We recommend taking the small (and only) path up into the village, to enjoy the lush greenery and beautiful views of the village and river.

Another special feature of this village is its Troglodytic Fort, accessible via a vertiginous staircase on the cliffside. In our opinion, this is an unmissable stopover, ideally located just 10km from Sarlat.

We’ve written an article in which we give you all our tips and our itinerary for visiting the Périgord Noir and the Sarlat area in 3 days.

A good option for exploring this area is to rent a with a few strokes of the paddle, you’ll feel instantly at home. Start at the village of La Roque Gageac, then descend the river to Chateau des Millandes. This walk will offer you beautiful views of the castles and hilltop villages.

Domme

The village of Domme is ideally located 10 minutes from La Roque Gageac and 12km south of Sarlat. It’s a village still surrounded by ramparts, built on the heights of a cliff. Its belvedere, overlooking the meandering Dordogne, offers a breathtaking view of the valley that captivates us every time. It’s best to go when the weather’s sunny, not when it’s raining like we do.

Founded in the 13th century, this fortified bastide is an architectural gem, with its imposing ramparts and historic gates through which you enter the town by car.

Once again, we understand why this village is listed as one of the“Most Beautiful Villages in France“. Another village well worth a visit!

Beynac-et-Cazenac

This name will certainly ring a bell, as the village of Beynac is famous for its castle, a setting which served as the backdrop for the film “Les Visiteurs“. This medieval castle is one of the best preserved and most authentic in the region.

Once again, this medieval village in the heart of the Périgord Noir region has been awarded the “Most Beautiful Villages in France” label, and boasts the blonde stone houses and lauze roofs for which Périgourdine villages are renowned. It’s ideally located just ten kilometers from Sarlat on the banks of the Dordogne.

Le Bugue

Le Bugue is a commune in the heart of the Périgord Noir region, on the banks of the Vézère river. It’s a charming, lively village with a market that takes place almost all year round. But that’s not the case for every village in the Dordogne.

More than just the village itself, Le Bugue is a perfect starting point for exploring prehistoric sites, cultural sites and other villages in the region.

It’s close to the village of Le Bournat (featured below), thePérigord Noir aquarium, the Proumeyssac chasm (the largest man-made cave in Périgord), and it’s also well-situated for visiting the listed villages of southern Périgord Noir.

We think it’s an excellent base for a getaway in Périgord.

The Eyzies de Tayac

A few kilometers from Le Bugue, Les Eyzies de Tayac is a village nestled in the cliffs, a mecca of the Périgord region and considered the“little world capital of prehistory“, since many of the shelters in the surrounding cliffs served as dwellings for early man.

If you’re in the area, we recommend a visit to the museum from prehistory which brings together the various items (tools, jewelry, bones, pottery, etc.) found in caves in the surrounding area, including Lascaux I. The museum is a fun, chronological way to learn more about the origins of mankind. It’s an ideal family outing.

Belvès

Belvès, nicknamed“the town of seven steeples“, is a perched village (yet another one) with spectacular views over the Nauze valley. It is certainly for this reason that it features on the list of France’s most beautiful villages.

We love wandering around this medieval village with its 15th-century church and magnificent covered market with 15th-century pillars.

Above all, we recommend a visit to the troglodyte dwellings. These dwellings, carved into the cliffs, offer a fascinating glimpse of life in centuries gone by. Don’t hesitate to stop by if you’re in the area!

For the more sporty among you, it’s at the start of this village that the 100km de Belvès kicks off, so who’s signed up for the next edition?

Saint-Cyprien

We continue on to the small medieval village of Saint-Cyprien. Situated on a hill overlooking the Dordogne valley, yet another village with sublime views. It is famous for its 12th-century abbey. It’s a lovely surprise and well worth a quick visit.

Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère

Ideally located next to the Lascaux cave, Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère is a peaceful village classified as one of France’s most beautiful villages.

Once again, it’s a medieval village, with stone houses, thatched roofs and flower-filled alleyways. The highlight of Saint Léon is its Romanesque church (12th century), listed as a historic monument.

A walk along the Vézère is a must in our opinion, offering peaceful views of the village and surrounding countryside.

We also recommend crossing the river to the Côte de Jor or Belvédère Mont Jor viewpoint, a few kilometers north of the village, for a panoramic view of the Vézère cingle and the village of Saint Léon. In short, the view alone is worth the trip!

Limeuil

At the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère rivers, Limeuil is (again) listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages. This medieval village, with its cobbled streets and stone houses, majestically overlooks the two rivers, offering breathtaking panoramic views.

A stroll through Limeuil is like stepping back in time, with its ancient residences, 12th-century church and panoramic garden. This garden, located at the top of the village, is an ideal place to admire the confluence of the two rivers and relax in a peaceful setting.

Saint-Amand-de-Coly

A final village we recommend you explore in the Périgord Noir, it’s also located next to the Lascaux cave.

Nestled in a green setting, Saint-Amand-de-Coly is famous for its 12th-century fortified abbey, one of the finest in the region, and it’s easy to see why. This small village offers an atmosphere of tranquillity and authenticity, where time seems to have stood still.

The must-see town in Périgord Blanc

Périgord Blanc, in the center of the Dordogne, owes its name to its often light-colored limestone soils. This region, with Périgueux as its main town, is characterized by gentle hills, open fields and valleys.

Périgueux

As you know, we are particularly attached to the city of Périgueux, capital of the Dordogne and Périgord Blanc.

It has many interesting facets, such as its old medieval center with its magnificent Saint-Front cathedral, its Gallo-Roman remains and its natural side with the quays bordering the Isle river.

We recommend you take advantage of the incredible atmosphere at the m arch to try out Périgourdine specialities, including Périgourdine foie gras and Périgord truffles. Passionate growers will also give you plenty of explanations and advice.

Of course, you’ll find all the attractions of a city here, from the many good bars and restaurants to cultural and artistic activities.

In summer, Périgueux is a lively town with many events, including Périgueux plage (the little sister of Paris plage), Mimosthe mime arts take to the streets of Périgueux and summer gourmet nights: every Wednesday evening in July and August, large tables are set up to enjoy delicious products in a festive atmosphere. We highly recommend a stopover in this town.

We’ve written an article in which we give you all our tips and itinerary for visiting Périgueux like a local, since if you follow this is the town where I grew up.

Our most beautiful villages in the Périgord Vert

Located in the north of the Dordogne, Périgord Vert takes its name from its vast forests. This area, watered by numerous streams, offers a verdant landscape.

Brantôme

We switch to the Périgord Vert to arrive in the pretty little commune of Brantome, nicknamed the“Venice of Périgord“, and you’ll soon understand why! It’s a village some twenty kilometers north of Périgueux, surrounded by the waters of the Dronne. This unique village, with its thousand-year-old abbey, picturesque bridges and houses nestling on the water’s edge, is a delightful place to stroll.

We love discovering local artisans (don’t miss the glassblower) and, of course, eating good Périgord food on a terrace overlooking the river. The Charbonnel gourmet restaurant is a great address, our HQ for special occasions!

Of course, the must-see building in Brantôme is the abbey, with its 11th-century Romanesque bell tower, one of the oldest in France and a must-see for history and architecture enthusiasts.

Saint-Jean-de-Côle

A second village to visit in this area is Saint-Jean-de-Côle, with its reddish-brown tiled roofs and white stone houses. Listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages (yet another), it’s famous for its 12th-century castle, Romanesque church and medieval bridge over the Côle.

We recommend a stroll through the narrow streets down to the river to admire its small stone bridges.

Our most beautiful villages (and towns) in Périgord Pourpre

Finally, Périgord Pourpre, located in the south-west, owes its name to the vineyards of the Bergerac region, which produce red, white and rosé wines. This area is dotted with vineyards, bastides and castles, offering a varied landscape of picturesque villages and farmland. Périgord Pourpre is also known for its wine and food festivals.

We recommend you try Monbazillac, a mellow white wine that goes perfectly with foie gras. Pécharmant, a red wine, goes very well with all good Périgord dishes (sarladaises potatoes, duck confit, etc.).

Bergerac

Bergerac, nestled in the heart of the Périgord Pourpre region of the Dordogne, is a captivating town renowned for its vineyards, producing such prized wines as Monbazillac and Pécharmant. The name will certainly ring a bell, as the town is well known for its association with the legend of Cyrano de Bergerac, although the writer never lived there…

Its historic center is no exception, with cobbled streets and half-timbered houses offering a pleasant setting for a stroll. Bordered by the Dordogne River, Bergerac is ideal for strolling along its quays.

Of course, you’ll find all the attractions of a city here, with plenty of bars, restaurants and cultural activities. We recommend the restaurant Le Bistro d’en Face, for its delicious cuisine and stunning setting, with its riverside terrace overlooking Bergerac’s old town and the Dordogne.

The Bergerac market is also an excellent place to sample Périgord specialities.

Monpazier

To round off this list, we’ve added another little nugget to the Dordogne, the village of Monpazier, founded in 1284 and considered one of the region’s best preserved and most typical bastides. Of course, this village is still a “Plus Beaux Village de France” (Most Beautiful Village in France).

We fell in love with its central square lined with arcades and its straight, orderly streets, a remarkable example of medieval town planning. On market days, the village comes alive with local produce and crafts.

Troglodyte Villages of the Dordogne

The Dordogne is also famous for its troglodyte villages. These rock-cut dwellings offer a unique insight into human ingenuity and adaptation to the natural environment. Here is a list of the main sites we recommend you visit:

  • La Roque Saint-Christophe is one of the region’s most impressive troglodyte sites. This fortified village, built right into the cliff, traces over 55,000 years of human occupation. A visit to this site is an unforgettable experience, a journey through time.
  • The troglos of Belvès, small dwellings carved into the cliffs, offer a fascinating glimpse of life in centuries gone by.
  • The Roc de Gazelle caves in Les Eyzies, the monolithic house of the last inhabitants of Cazelle, carved entirely out of the rock and still occupied in the 1960s! Incredible but true.

Le Village du Bournat or the 1900s village

Le Village du Bournat, in Le Bugue, is a reconstruction of an early 20th-century village in the Périgord region. It’s an immersive experience of daily life in the past. We really like the part where numerous extras bring to life the trades of yesteryear: cutler, potter, miller, brewer… The village is always lively.

This is the place to be with children. I spent many days there as a child, and I still have fond memories of it. Children and adults alike can take part in traditional activities, such as bread-making or sheep-shearing, offering a truly fun and interactive approach. For children, there are even period games and rides.

We recommend this outing on a sunny day, as many activities take place outdoors. All in all, a great family day out.

Map of our most beautiful villages in the Dordogne

We’ve put together a map showing all the villages listed above, as well as the main things to do in the Dordogne. This is obviously a non-exhaustive list. We’ve also taken the time to draw the 4 Périgord regions to help you identify the geographical zones. Feel free to leave us 5 stars below to encourage us to make more cards! As you can see, the Périgord Noir is full of cute little villages.

Where to sleep in the Dordogne?

We recommend you spend a few days in Périgueux and then a few days in the Périgord Noir region. Sarlat-la-Canéda or Le Bugue (less charming but more central) are two ideal villages for exploring this area.

We advise you to book your accommodation in advance, during the school vacations and in high season, the hotels are quickly full, because Sarlat is a very popular small town in summer!

◊ Périgueux ◊

Our favorite in Périgueux

We recommend that you stay at Les Apparts Limogeanne, a charming address in the heart of Périgueux’s historic center (protected area) in a pedestrian street, 5 minutes from everything, including Saint-Front cathedral, restaurants, tourist office…

The accommodations are fully equipped and furnished (bed and household linen, Nespresso, Netflix…). They have just been tastefully renovated. There is air-conditioning, which was very appreciated during the hot summer days. It is simply one of our best accommodations!

◊ Sarlat ◊

In the medieval center of Sarlat

We recommend you to stay at theHotel Montaigne very well located, 1 minute walk from the medieval center of Sarlat, you can visit the whole city on foot.

Les chambres sont spacieuses et très propres, le matelas était hyper confortable. There is air-conditioning, which was very appreciated during the hot summer days. Free parking in low season. In short, an excellent quality/price ratio!

We hope this list will give you some ideas for your next escapades in Dordogne – Périgord.

We had a lot of fun writing this article about this region that we know (almost) by heart. We would like to thank our families and friends who have given us valuable advice. We also update this article regularly since we come to the Dordogne several times a year. The list of villages will grow over the years!

As mentioned at the start of this article, we didn’t visit every town and village in the Dordogne. So if you have any other suggestions for us, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. We’ll be adding them to our list of villages to visit in the Dordogne.

Don’t hesitate to give us 5 stars or ask any questions you may have here or on our Instagram – we’ll be delighted to answer them!

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Floriane
Floriane
Je m'appelle Floriane, aventurière et passionnée de voyages depuis mon plus jeune âge. J'aime plus que tout partager nos récits et astuces de voyage avec vous. Nous aimons les escapades courtes ainsi que les voyages longs. Ce blog est né après notre Tour du Monde en sac à dos. Nous avons également réalisé un tour d'Europe en famille.

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