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Domme, Perigord Noir

Pretty bastide town set high along the banks of the Dordogne river

featured in Towns & villages Updated

This bastide town, sitting high above the Dordogne river, has an impressive number of its 13th century fortifications still intact, including three of its original gates.

The Porte des Tours is probably the best preserved of the three, and its towers imprisoned the Knights Templar from 1307 until 1318. The streets are lined with cream stone houses, oozing character and hidden underground are a number of caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Very beautiful, and offering wonderful views of the surrounding area, Domme has become a popular tourist destination.

There is plenty of parking outside this bastide town so that you can leave your car and walk up through the main gate 'Porte des Tour', or alternatively take the petit train that runs from the car park to just outside the gate if this suits you better.

No doubt busy in high-season, this sleepy bastide doesn't appear to wake up much before 10:30 - although the local bakery can see you through until everything else opens if you arrive before that. The streets of Domme are charming and will make you exceedingly jealous of the relaxed country life that the residents enjoy. Many houses have been renovated and many more are still in the process - one that is interesting to see.

Sights & Attractions in Domme

The main attractions of Domme are of course the old gates which have been well preserved since their inception in the 13th-century. The largest and most stunning among them is the Porte des Tours, with it's two large circular towers that once imprisoned the Knights Templar. 

In the heart of the town you will find the old market hall, Halle, which now houses the tourist information centre and the entrance to the Grotte de Domme, and the church Notre Dame de l'Assomption.

Things to do in Domme

This is a small town but taking a brisk walk around the old ramparts shows off the magnificent views - looking north-west across the Dordogne river and fertile farmland to La Roque-Gageac.

If you're early enough you might be lucky to see some hot air balloons floating over the plains below - although you'd have to be mighty early to see them actually take off. 

A hot air balloon ride is one of the most thrilling and unique ways to explore the Dordogne and the Domme area in particular. It will mean an early start but the views as the sun covers the land will be worth the effort.

Where to stay in Domme

There are a few hotels within the walls of Domme itself, however, this is the kind of charming town where a stay in a B&B is an absolute must. There are several that are only a short walk from the town centre and to truly discover the peace and calm of life in the Dordogne a short break at one of Domme's best B&Bs is a real treat.

How to get to Domme

Set on a rocky outcrop above the Dordgone river, Domme is situated around 12km directly south of the city Sarlat-la-Caneda. It is only a 12-15 minute drive to the neighbouring popular tourist destinations of La Roque-Gageac and Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.


This is another town that feels a world away. A narrow road through a dense forest winds its way across the Dordogne countryside until you can't imagine that you'll ever find a town. There are very few signposts once you leave the main road so make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for the sign that takes your through Saint Front, or stick to the main road to Cénac and then turn up to the town.


Map of the surrounding area