France is simply a beautiful and wonderfully diverse travel destination – it doesn’t matter if you visit vibrant Paris, which is full of joy, explore the small villages that promise pure pleasure along the Alsace wine route or the incomparable in the sunny Blue Coast in the south of France succumbs to the charm of the streets of fashionable Cannes. An even more unknown region in the south-west of the country, whose scenic beauty really enchanted me and which I always like to reminisce about, is the Dordogne. Here in the Périgord, as the Dordogne is still called today, you will find many medieval castles with a rich history in the middle of green nature, challenging and beautiful castles, sparkling rivers that invite you to canoe and, above all, in picturesque historic towns.
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In this article, I would like to introduce you to my three favorite places and activities that will surely make your holiday in the Dordogne a real and unforgettable highlight!
Beynac-et-Cazenac: a walk to Beynac Castle
The sleepy hamlet of Beynac-et-Cazenac sits right on the banks of the Dordogne, the river that gives the entire region its name. Incidentally, at 483 kilometers in length, the Dordogne is the tenth longest river in France. Narrow, picturesque winding streets lead you steeply up to the 12th century Beynac Castle. Small individual cafés and shops along the pretty planted streets invite you to linger and browse. Once at the top, the view from above of the lovely valley of the Dordogne and the river glittering beautifully in the sun is a dream, I can promise you that! By the way, you can park your car safely and securely in one of the parking lots down by the river.
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My advice: If you would like to do some more sporting activities in addition to the walk up to Beynac Castle, then you could also set out from Beynac-et-Cazenac on a canoe tour on the Dordogne, which is certainly also an unforgettable holiday experience. From the water you have a completely different and very special perspective of all the historic towns that line up like shiny pearls on a string along the banks of the Dordogne.
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Sarlat-la-Canéda: stroll through the medieval streets
Sarlat-la-Canéda (or simply Sarlat) is also a little gem in the Dordogne region. A lot of money, time and energy has been invested in the restoration of the historic old town in this town, which you can see and feel everywhere as you walk through the enchanting medieval streets. Numerous beautifully furnished restaurants, inviting-looking cafés and individual shops exude a lively charm and invite you to discover and enjoy. A particularly important place in Sarlat-la-Canéda is the majestic cathedral with its garden and the former chapel of the dead, the Lanterne des Morts.
My advice: A stroll through the town’s traditional markets is definitely part of a successful visit to Sarlat. Almost nowhere else in the Périgord can you stock up on such a selection of local delicacies as here in Sarlat. The famous Périgord truffles, products made from fresh chestnuts or a fine wine – Back in your own four walls, they will definitely put a smile on your face as perfect holiday memories!
La Roque-Gageac: one of the most beautiful villages of Dordogne France
The tiny hamlet of La Roque-Gageac is not only officially one of the plus beaux villages de France, i.e. one of the prettiest villages in the country, but is also located directly on the banks of the Dordogne in one of the most picturesque stretches of the Dordogne Valley. It’s downright crazy how the houses are wedged in a narrow line along the river between the bank and the steep rock face just beyond. And it is precisely this special feature that makes a walk along the shore line something very special. Directly behind the first row of houses you can discover a tangle of narrow alleys, narrow stone passages and historic houses, or even an old cave fortress. An exploration that is really worth it.
The small village church is slightly elevated, from the forecourt of which you can get a very, very nice view of the entire ensemble of La Roque-Gageac, and which is surrounded by a beautiful exotic garden, the Jardin Exotique. At the end of the village, the historic castle of La Malartrie sits enthroned between the dense green of the surrounding slopes.
My advice: Of course, La Roque-Gageac looks particularly great from the water, which you can see for yourself on one of the many boat tours offered there!
Sleep and relax wonderfully at the campsites in the Dordogne
Do you like staying at campsites? Ever since I got my Bulli, camping has had a very special meaning for me. The Dordogne region in particular can be wonderfully explored either with your own camper, your own car, or simply with a rental car. If you can’t sleep in your vehicle, you can simply rent one of the cute mobile homes on the campsite. The small houses are often beautifully integrated into nature and, with an integrated kitchenette, offer even more comfort than many a hotel room. The two Yelloh! campsites are particularly well equipped and highly recommended. Village, both of which are centrally located in the region, and the das Camping Dordogne turn into a varied experience.
Beautiful nature frames the Yelloh! Village Pomport Beach campsite and promises relaxation from the exciting sightseeing. By the way, there are some traditional wineries nearby, where you can buy your favorite wine and enjoy it in peace and quiet at the campsite in the evening. The highlight of the campsite is probably the two-hectare lake, which is even blessed with a fine sandy beach and invites you to take a refreshing swim. You can even go fishing here. Of course there is also a large heated pool with water slides and a restaurant with delicious dishes.
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The Yelloh! Village Lascaux Vacances, ie on a large wooded property. There is no lake here, but there is an attractive wellness center where you can (indulge yourself) treat yourself to a massage or a relaxing sauna session at the end of the day. The famous Upper Paleolithic cave Lascaux with its unique historical paintings is also within walking distance of the campsite. And you can also reach the town of Sarlat-la-Canéda that I described in just 20 minutes by car.