Introducing The Dordogne
Few regions sum up the attractions of France better than the Dordogne. With its rich food, heady history, château-studded countryside and picturesque villages, the Dordogne has long been a favourite getaway for Brits looking for a second home and French families on les grandes vacances. It's also famous for having some of France's finest prehistoric cave art, which litters the caverns and rock shelters of the Vézère Valley.
Known to the French as the Périgord, the region has been divided into four colour-coded areas: Périgord Blanc (white) after the limestone hills around the capital, Périgueux; Périgord Pourpre (purple) for the wine-growing regions around Bergerac; Périgord Vert (green) for the forested regions of the northwest; and Périgord Noir (black) for the dark oak forests around the Vézère Valley and Sarlat-la-Canéda.
A picturesque tangle of honey-coloured buildings, alleyways and secret squares make up the beautiful town of Sarlat-la-Canéda. Boasting some of the region’s best-preserved medieval architecture, it’s a popular base for exploring the Vézère Valley, and a favourite location for film directors.
The Dordogne Valley
To the south of Sarlat, flat meadows and green woods roll out along the meandering banks of the Dordogne, one of France's most iconic and idyllic rivers. In centuries gone by, the valley marked an important frontier during the Hundred Years War, and the hilltops are studded with defensive châteaux, as well as the heavily fortified towns known as bastides.