Welcome to Dordogne Valley
As you step out of the new Brive-Dordogne Valley airport, you are on the threshold of an area to which time has been kind: its rich traditions and heritage accumulated over millennia – scenic, architectural, historic, cultural and gastronomic – are still very much present and alive. Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man, the first to leave us his paintings, both occupied this land.
The airport lies on the boundary between three of France’s twenty-two regions, namely Limousin, Midi Pyrénnées and Aquitaine, and more specifically, between three départements, Corrèze, Lot and Dordogne. Despite these apparent divisions, they have a great deal in common, notably the river Dordogne.
Geographically speaking, this area, tilted down from east to west, effects the transition from the Massif Central, the highlands formed of ancient rocks constituting the heart of France, to the lower-lying regions leading to the ocean.
This means that there is a wide variety of landscapes, from the steep, narrow valleys of the granite uplands, through limestone plateaux with their wide, flat horizons gashed by deep valleys lined with tall cliffs, to fertile, verdant river plains.
The Lot, Corrèze and Dordogne have more in common than just geography: they share a great deal of their history and traditions - linguistic, cultural and culinary - too. Naturally, there are also many differences, such as architectural ones governed by the materials available locally.
This area has never been heavily industrialised, which explains why it boasts so much unspoilt countryside, and so many beautifully-preserved towns and villages including several of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
Another excellent reason for visiting this part of the country is the delicious food and wine available everywhere: there is a very strong tradition of producing all kinds of delightful things to eat and drink. Lively local markets, food fairs and festivals, restaurants ranging from Farm or Village inns to Michelin-starred establishments all contribute to the vigour of this tradition, for the greater pleasure of locals and guests alike.
Here, you have a marvellous opportunity to recharge your batteries, whether this involves walking, riding, cycling, fishing, climbing, caving and other strenuous activities, or whether your ideal break consists of sitting on a shady hotel terrace overlooking a lovely landscape. People here are very conscious of the benefits of their unhurried local lifestyle, and enjoy sharing it with visitors, who are considered as welcome guests.