Welcome to Dordogne Valley

 

THE DORDOGNE VALLEY : BRIVE IN, BRIVE OUT

 

Birthplace of humanity, conquered by Romans, coveted by the English through the Middle-Ages, loved by the Brits who first moved here in the 1980’s…

So what is the big attraction?

The Dordogne Valley has it all: the climate, the food, the natural beauty, the architecture. But the attraction goes beyond all of this. The traveller today can discover an authentic region, respectful of the environment and of its traditions: unspoilt, modern, genuine, welcoming. Far from being stuck in the past, the Dordogne Valley has embraced the dawn of a new era, from organic farming to the search for well-being.

The region owes its name to the famous river that traverses it: the Dordogne. Easily reachable, the Dordogne Valley is situated in the South-West of France over two regions - Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie - and three départements: Dordogne, Lot and Corrèze (formerly part of the Limousin region). It is also often referred to by its older names: Périgord for the Dordogne and Quercy for the Lot.

 

If some places such as Sarlat or Rocamadour are already famous, the Dordogne Valley also boasts hundreds of undiscovered places to enjoy the real French way of life. Following the river upstream, visitors will find themselves on a road less travelled and on a journey towards the unexpected.

 

Flights from London Stansted, Porto and Paris to Brive – Dordogne Valley airport.

 

 

10 REASONS TO DISCOVER OR REDISCOVER THE DORDOGNE VALLEY

 

1/ CLIMATE

Quite hot in the summer, cold in the winter, the temperate climate of the Dordogne Valley allows for all kinds of outdoors activities. Temperatures reach about 30 degrees in the summer months but rivers and lakes are never far away to jump in for a dip and a cool down. Spring and autumn are the perfect combination of sunshine and

warmth for hiking or cycling. It occasionally rains (hence the green landscapes) and the drier period is between mid-April until the end of October.

 

2/ FOOD

The hub of French cuisine, la crème de la crème even by French standards, the Dordogne Valley is gourmet heaven. From Michelin-starred restaurants to simple traditional food, from walnuts to Foie Gras, strawberries to lamb and everything in between, eating is not a hobby, it is a way

of life. Vegetarians should worry no more as they have scrumptious options on every (well, most) menus. Truffle omelette anyone?

 

3/ RIVER

Binding the whole region together, the Dordogne River flows through history. Used over centuries for trading on wooden barges, it is now the playground for all kinds of activities. Relaxed canoeing descents, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, swimming…The Dordogne River is lined

with wild pebble beaches on which to have a picnic, sandy secret spots to lie in the sun or grassy banks to enjoy a good book. Following its course will lead to an ever-changing landscape, from the wilderness of the high valley to the

limestone cliffs and many castles further downstream. There are other streams and rivers to explore too including the Vézère where travellers can rest up on the banks, just like prehistoric man did thousands of years ago.

 

4/ VILLAGES

No less than 16 have been recognised as some of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France’. This doesn’t even include other remarkable sites such as Rocamadour, Sarlat, Martel or Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne. Stone houses, manors, steep pitched lauzes roofs, dovecotes, turrets, medieval towers

and Renaissance buildings…At every turn there is another picture-perfect village to stroll through, have a drink on a terrace or enjoy a gourmet meal.

 

5/ OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Canoeing, hiking, swimming, cycling, golfing, horse-riding, caving… There is a whole array of outdoor activities to reconnect body and soul. From more physical activities such as rock climbing to the thrills of paragliding, from a gentle cycling ride on electric bikes to a week-long soul searching trek on the Way of Saint James, there is never a dull moment in the Dordogne Valley.

 

6/ ECO-CONSCIOUS ENVIRONMENT

With the only river in France labelled as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the Dordogne Valley boasts an environment of exceptional beauty and quality.

Herons, kingfishers, rainbow trout, red kites, crayfish, dragonflies… all thrive in a balanced ecosystem. With pristine clear waters, the cleanest air and lowest light pollution in France, this is paradise for star gazers and outdoor adventurers alike.

 

7/ PEOPLE

Being French and friendly are indeed two compatiblewords in the Dordogne Valley. The slower pace of life means the locals take their time. Time to have a drink, banter and even speak about the weather. In marchés gourmands and village fêtes, everybody is welcome to join in the fun and enjoy the party. Of these there are many, particularly throughout the summer months.

 

8/ HISTORY

From prehistoric men expressing themselves through painting on cave walls to Richard the Lionheart taking residence in the Château de Beynac, from dolmens erected by the Gauls to the fighters of the Résistance, from medieval castles to Renaissance houses...History has left its mark in every corner of the Dordogne Valley. Lingering in the buildings and landscape almost every village has a story to tell: Rocamadour with a thousand years of pilgrimage, Sarlat and the best preserved medieval city centre in France, Lascaux with some of the world’s most important cave paintings, Collonges-la-Rouge clad in deep redstone...Travelling through the Dordogne Valley is travelling in the unfolding of history.

 

9/ CULTURE

Culture is centre-stage in the Dordogne Valley. A leader in the arts with many festivals including sacred music in Rocamadour, jazz in Souillac-sur-Dordogne, opera in Saint- Céré or pop music in Brive. Though also with a wealth of architectural treasures spread across the whole region: From prehistory to World Heritage Sites, churches, castles, bastides, medieval mills…

The Dordogne Valley also has its own modern identity driven by the younger generations. Rugby for example is an intricate part of modern culture, as witnessed by the passionate supporters of the Top 14 CAB team in Brive. The town of Brive itself is fast-growing, fun and full of lively bars and restaurants.

 

10/ UNDERGROUND TREASURES

Stunning on the outside, the Dordogne Valley is equally spectacular on the inside. Water filtering through the limestone floor has created the most amazing cave systems. The chasm of Padirac for example is the most extensive in Europe, welcoming over 450,000 visitors a year. 103 metres underground, part of the journey is made on a boat punted on a crystal-clear subterranean river. Each cave has its own special feature: some have prehistoric paintings, others bat colonies and some are accessible only via an electric train.

The Dordogne Valley is also highly reputed for speleology and some caves are still being discovered today.