Are you looking for the most beautiful towns in Dordogne? Then I got you covered!
The Dordogne region in France is famous for its beautiful and historically important little villages and hamlets, that are scattered all over its hilly countryside. Beautiful sunflower fields and picturesque little towns are responsible for the charm of the Dordogne valley.
With over 100 different enchanting villages and towns, it can be hard to choose the most impressive ones to see on your vacation.
Luckily, we have relatives in that area that guided us around the best hidden gems! To help you plan your visit to the most beautiful villages in the Dordogne I have created a list with my favorites.
Let’s check it out!
Table of Contents
- About the Dordogne Valley
- The Most Beautiful Villages of the Dordogne
- Where to Stay in the Dordogne
- How to Get Around Dordogne
- Where is the Dordogne Region in France?
- Wrap-up: The Most Beautiful Towns in Dordogne
- FAQ: Most Beautiful Towns in Dordogne
- About the Author
About the Dordogne Valley
The Dordogne valley, also known as the Perigord, is located in the south-west of France. The prefecture is located in Perigueux. The valley is named after the river Dordogne. The Dordogne valley has been named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012.
The river is rising in the Massif du Sancy in Auvergne and emptying into the Gironde estuary near Bordeaux. The Dordogne river takes up 483 km in length, and its riverside is filled with charming villages, stunning castles and unspoiled countryside.
The Dordogne region is known for it’s love of food and drink, and has therefore one of the most impressive gastronomic heritages in France. Some people refer to the Dordogne as the capital of duck and truffle.
Every season you can find a different indigenous food in the Dordogne. In spring you can find delicious white asparagus and strawberries, whereas in summer fresh fruit is in season. In fall walnuts can be harvested, and in winter you can try some delicious black truffles.
The Four Regions of the Dordogne Valley
The Dordogne, or Perigord can be divided into four different regions:
- The Périgord Vert (Green Périgord), offering verdant valleys, rivers and streams
- The Périgord Blanc (White Périgord) is home to the regional capital of Périgueux, limestone plateaux, broad valleys and meadows
- The Périgord Pourpre (Purple Périgord) with its capital is Bergerac, is known to be a famous wine area
- The Périgord Noir (Black Périgord) gets its name from the dark and dramatic valleys of oak woods and pine
If you are especially interested in sampling through the French wines, make sure to combine your trip with a drive to Saint Emilion village just outside of the Dordogne region and try some of the best wines of France.
The neighboring Libournais region is definitely worth a visit for wine-lovers. Another French region that is famous for its culinary products, such as Camembert, Calvados and cider, is Normandy. Food lovers will love a trip there!
The Most Beautiful Villages of the Dordogne
1. La Roque Gageac
La Roque-Gageac is one of the most beautiful villages not only in the Dordogne but in all of France. It is located on the North bank of the Dordogne river, right on the side of a cliff. The village looks picture-perfect and has been this way for over 300 years.
The picturesque little houses are designed with typical golden facades and perigord roofs. There is an impressive amount of grand houses in La Roque Gageac, among them the Renaissance building Chateau de la Malartrie. It is a fort built on the cliffs, 40 meters above the town of La Roque Gageac.
An interesting fact about the town is, that there are many tropical and exotic plants all around the village. This is only possible due to the convenient location next to the cliff, which protects the village from strong winds. Make sure to visit the Manoir de la Tarde, parts of it’s facade is completely covered in plants.
There are not many parking spaces in the village, so be prepared for a bit of an unnerving search. Luckily, we visited the village with a small airplane, so parking was not an issue. Instead, I was able to take some stunning aerial shots of the impressive Dordogne town.
Brantome is also being lovingly referred to as the Venice of the Perigord. It is located in the Perigord Vert. The town has an amazing mix of medieval and renaissance architecture for you to check out. The village can be found on the bend of the river Dronne.
One of the most famous landmarks in the village of Brantome is the Brantome Abbey. It is especially famous for its troglodyte caves, including the famous cave “Last Judgement”. Another amazing thing to see in Brantome is the Les Jardins Tranquille garden.
Brantome is a very pleasant village to visit. You can either explore it on foot or rent a canoe for half the day and check it out from the river. One of my favorite things in Brantome is visiting the glass-blowing factory. This is an amazing spot to buy some souvenirs from your trip out of local production. You can see the glass-blowing process while you do your shopping.
The restaurant Charbonnel is my favorite restaurant in town. They serve amazing French cuisine in a fine dining manner, and the view from the terrace is to die for. The restaurant is pretty fancy, so make sure to dress nicely and have a reservation in place.
Possibly my favorite village in the Dordogne is Aubeterre-sur-Dronne. It has been voted as one of the most beautiful villages if the Dordogne, and also of France for many years in a row.
The most important landmarks of the town are the underground Church of St Jean and the Romanesque Church of St Jacques, with its stunning façade.
Apart from the historical landmarks, the town is super picturesque and can be nicely explored by foot. You can wander through the narrow streets up and down the village, also check out cute little shops and eat in one of the amazing restaurants. Lastly, make sure to walk up all the way of the hill to reach an amazing viewpoint.
My favorite restaurant in Aubeterre was La Taverne Maison Pierre Very. They serve amazing French food and the terrace has a great view. On the town square you can find many more cute restaurants and bars, however it can get quite busy there in summer. Make sure to make a reservation.
Périgueux is the prefecture of the Dordogne and is also known as the seat of the roman catholic diocese.
The modern town of Perigueux developed from two nuclei, the Cité and Puy-Saint-Front in 1251. The town is definitely worth a visit and is one of the most beautiful towns in the Dordogne.
One of the best things to do in Perigueux is the market, where you can buy truffles and foie gras. Another amazing spot to visit in Perigueux is the Saint-Front cathedral and its roofs, a cathedral designed by the same architect as the Sacre Coeur in Paris.
Wander around town and explore the place Saint-Silain, the Limogeanne street as well as the Mataguerre tower. This is definitely one of the most beautiful villages in the Dordogne.
5. St. Jean de Cole
St. Jean de Cole is a medieval village dating back to the 11th century and also the only village in the Dordogne that holds the plus beau villagestatus.
The Byzantine church of St Jean Baptist, built in the 12th century and Château de la Marthonie are some of the most interesting spots to see in the village.
The best time to visit St. Jean de Cole is during the annual spring flower festival that is usually held in May. You can dress up in colorful outfits and enjoy a lovely celebration in a historical setting.
Montignac-Lascaux is famous for being home to the Lascaux-Caves, where prehistorical paintings have been found.
The village itself is quite picturesque, with its pretty half-timbered homes. Of course there are also some other historical remnants to see in the village.
The 18th century Couvent des Clarisses and the Château de Montignac are two favorite spots among visitors. Keep in mind that the Chateau is mostly ruins by now.
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Just like the cute village of Brantome, Bourdeilles is located on the river Dronne.
The most magnificent building you have to check out in Bourdeilles is the bridge over the Dronne. It has a very unique shape. It was originally built in the 14th century, but has been renovated later in history due to some flooding.
The medieval town center attracts lots of visitors each year. There is also a chateau towering over the picturesque village.
If you walk up all the way to the castle, you will have a lovely view over the river. But bring good shoes, there are lots of cobblestones on the walkway.
Domme is an amazing little Dordogne town with an extremely charming city center. Most of the houses are honey-colored and have very distinctive Lauzes-style roofs.
The village of Domme was founded by King Philip the Bold in 1281. It was built on a hilltop from where you could overlook the entire Dordogne river.
Interesting historical fact: the town has some caves in the city center that used to shield the inhabitants when the village was under siege. Nowadays its a museum.
The village is very slow paced and beloved among slow travelers.
St-Amand-de-Coly is an interesting Dordogne village with a lot of history.
The biggest attraction in St-Amand-de-Coly is a fortified church. You can still see the bell tower and an abbey that was built in the 6th century. They often hold concerts in the church in summer nowadays.
Les Plus Beaux Villages de France has named St-Amand-de-Coly one of the most beautiful villages of France. The village was back then named after a hermit called Saint Amand. He used to live in a cave next to the village.
Limeuil is another town in the Dordogne that has held the status of one of France’s most beautiful villages since the 1990s.
The river Vézére and the Dordogne River are coming together in Limeuil, creating a beautiful landscape that visitors simply love. It is also very beloved among water sport lovers.
Limeuil still has lots of its original fortifications in place and consists mainly of beautiful stone houses with tiled roofs.
The English Gardens of Limeuil are always worth a visit. They are super picturesque and overlook the entire valley.
Limeuil is also famous for its craftsmen, this is a great place to buy some souvenirs from locals!
11. Beynac and Cazenac
Beynac and Cazenac is one of my favorite places in the Dordogne valley.
We have visited these amazing villages with our airplane as well, and the view is really next level.
One of the most impressive sights is the medieval Château de Beynac. It is one of the most beautiful castles in the Dordogne valley.
Especially photographers will love this city. Flower covered houses, an amazing view of the river and a scenic little port make this village so special.
Where to Stay in the Dordogne
Since we usually stay with family in the area I don’t have first hand experience on booking accommodation in the Dordogne.
A friend of mine recommended staying in one of the cozy Bed and Breakfasts or charming little hotels in one of the villages itself.
If you wish you can also stay in Bordeaux and combine your visit with the lovely city.
How to Get Around Dordogne
The biggest airport in the region is called Bergerac.
It serves international flights from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The next bigger airport is located in Bordeaux, and is roughly an hour drive from the Dordogne region.
Make sure to pick up a rental car if you arrive via plane, since most of the beautiful Dordogne villages can only be reached by car. We usually pick up a rental car at the Airport that we book via DiscoverCars.
Most of the villages in the Dordogne have cobblestone pavement, so make sure to bring good shoes (no heels).
Where is the Dordogne Region in France?
Dordogne is in southwestern France.
It’s part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Think rolling hills, rivers, and lots of greenery. Dordogne is famous for its charming villages and castles.
Dordogne is bordered by several regions. To the north, you’ve got Haute-Vienne and Corrèze.
On the east, there’s Lot. South of Dordogne, you’ll find Lot-et-Garonne.
And to the west, it’s next to Gironde and Charente-Maritime.
Wrap-up: The Most Beautiful Towns in Dordogne
As I hope I have managed to show you in this post, Dordogne has lots of beautiful villages and towns to offer.
Medieval market squares, relaxed atmospheres and stunning chateaux make the area so interesting for visitors from all over the world. Tourists especially appreciate the picturesque villages alongside the rivers Dronne, Dordogne and Vezere.
The most beautiful villages in Dordogne are without a doubt Aubeterre sur Dronne, Brantome, Bourdeilles and La Roque Gageac. However, places like Beynac and Cazenac, Montignac-Lascaux, and Perigueux are always worth a visit.
If you wish to discover more of beautiful France, make sure to read my guide to the wine village Saint Emilion or how to plan a romantic trip to Paris before Christmas. Wine loves must certainly consider a visit to the Champagne Region or the Alsace Wine Route.
Lastly, why not book a day trip from Paris to Champagne?
FAQ: Most Beautiful Towns in Dordogne
The most beautiful village in Dordogne France is without a doubt Brantome. It is located on the river Dronne and offers an amazing mix of medieval and renaissance architecture. The abbey is one of the most impressive buildings in Brantome.
Central Dordogne is the nicest area of the Dordogne Valley. The so-called Perigord Noir is known for beautiful oak trees, magnificent chateaux and stunning little market towns. The villages there are extremely picturesque.
Domme is currently on the list of one of the prettiest villages in France. Other beautiful villages in France are Locronan, Brittany, Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany, Montrésor, Loire Valley and many more.
Dordogne is so popular among tourists because the entire area practices an approach to slow living. People have a high appreciation for food, local traditions and pure enjoyment. The villages are beautiful and the scenery is stunning.
Yes, Perigueux is worth a visit. The beautiful regional capital of the Dordogne has lots of cultural heritage to show for. The most beautiful spot in Perigueux is the Saint-Front cathedral and its roofs.
Perigueux is the main town in the Dordogne, it is the regional capital of the Dordogne (Perigord).
The Dordogne Golden Triangle is a group of seven different villages in the Perigord Noir. The villages are Beynac and Cazenac, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Cénac-et-Saint Julien, Domme , La Roque-Gageac, Vézac and Vitrac.
The Dordogne region has lots of typical culinary specialties: foie gras, black truffles, Bergerac wines, fresh strawberries and walnuts, mushrooms, jams, and asparagus.
Southwest France is packed with amazing villages. In Dordogne, Sarlat is a must-see, super charming and full of history. Beynac-et-Cazenac is another stunner, with a castle right on the river. In Lot-et-Garonne, check out Pujols. It’s like stepping into a fairy tale. Then there’s Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in Lot.
Dordogne is around 9,060 square kilometers. So, it’s not super huge, but definitely has a lot of room to explore. Lots of space for all its charming villages, rivers, and hills. Perfect for a road trip!
No, Dordogne isn’t really in the south of France. It’s more like southwestern France. If you’re thinking of the French Riviera or Provence, those are more south. Dordogne is a bit more inland and to the west. Still has that warm, sunny vibe, though!
No, Dordogne isn’t a city. It’s actually a department, kind of like a county in the U.S. It’s got a bunch of awesome villages and towns, but it’s not a city itself. The capital is Périgueux, if you’re curious!
About the Author
Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.
She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.