Best things to do in Dordogne
Wherever you go in the Dordogne, you’ll never be far from a river, making it ideal for cycling,horseriding and leisurely water sports. You’ll have no difficulty finding somewhere to hire a kayak or a paddle board. These activities are popular and well catered for and are a great way to village hop and take in the stunning riverside scenery.
Caves, caverns and castles are in plentiful supply, and are not only interesting and intriguing but also offer a deliciously cool break from the beating summer sun. To get you started, here are just some of the sights worth seeing :
Grotte de Lascaux – a must if you’re visiting the region. These prehistoric caves whose walls areadorned with intricate artwork were discovered in the 1940s. They became so popular among visitors that the original caves were closed for preservation purposes and a replica version was built. In summer, tickets must be bought 3-4 days in advance. A new multimedia centre adds a high-tech slant to the experience.
Grotte du Grand Roc – inside this underground cavern is an amazing display of natural stalactites and stalagmites. It’s a good idea to take a warm top with you as it’s quite chilly inside !
Jardins de Marqueyssac – this stunning garden is in the grounds of an 18th-century chateau, featuring imaginatively sheared hedges and shrubs. Three pathways culminate in panoramic views from a vantage point over the river.
Prehisto Parc in Les Eyzies – the Dordogne’s prehistoric heritage is heavily present throughout the region, but if your children seem less than enthusiastic about visiting yet another old relic then this is the place to go! Wandering around this five-hectare park dotted with life-size and startlingly realistic recreations of people and animals that seem to have been fast-forwarded from Neanderthal times is sure to capture their interest.
Beynac castle and village – this fortified castle is perched atop a cliff, towering over the ochre stonehouses that unfold down the hillside to the Dordogne river. Visit the original keep, admire 15th-century frescoes, and prepare to be amazed by the 360° views of the Vézère valley. The lively village of Beynac is also one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages; it’s picturesque by day and magical by night.
Losse castle – on the banks of the Vézère river between Lascaux and Les Eyzies, this enchantingRenaissance castle comes with fairytale turrets, beautifully furnished rooms and impeccably sculpted gardens.
Ségur-le-Château – a delightfully rickety little town set on a bend in the Auvézère river which oozes mediaeval charm. Its charming mottled stone and half-timbered houses with turrets were once inhabited by nobles. In the summer months, buy delicious traditional fare from locals at the night market and settle down to eat it at long trestle tables set up to do just that. A great way to spend the evening basking in the essence of rural France.