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La Roque-Gageac, Perigord Noir

Nestled between a cliff face and the north bank of the Dordogne river

featured in Towns & villages Updated

It's hard to imagine a nicer village than La Roque-Gageac, with its huge limestone cliffs that tower behind the Renaissance-style houses built in creamy stone with burnt red roofs. 

As you approach the town you will find that the houses are built in the traditional honey-coloured stone that is common of the Dordogne region. At the west entrance to the village, the 18th-century Château de la Malartrie stands out for its grandeur, whilst the village's elegant central tower belongs to the Manoir de Tarde.

Being right on the river Dordogne you can access canoe hire and boat trips on one side of the main street, whilst enjoying the history and buildings built into the cliffside on the other. High above the village, there are remains of inhabited troglodyte caves. The narrow streets closer to the cliffside are slightly higher up and run parallel to the main road, and bring you past some of the most beautiful houses that you can imagine.

Make sure your camera battery is charged for this one, you'll be taking endless photos of canoes, gabarres and troglodyte dwellings here. Most definitely one of the 'Most Beautiful Villages in France'.

Sights & Attractions in Domme

The area of La Roque-Gageac, along with the neighbouring towns of Vézac, Beynac-et-Cazenac and Castelnaud-la-Chapelle is known as the vallée des cinq châteaux - the valley of five castles.

There is certainly plenty to explore in this area although not all of them are open to the public. Château de la Malartrie at the west end of the village is now in fact a residence that you can rent. If you've always imagined staying in a country château with friends then this could well be the one for you.

In the distance you can look over to the magnificent Château de Castelnaud that sits high on the cliff above the river at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. This 12th-century castle is especially interesting due to its display of warfare from the Middle Ages. It also offers spectacular views that stretch over the Dordogne to the Château of Beynac and the Jardins de Marqueyssac.

Tucked away in a tiny village you will find the fairytale-style castle of Château des Milandes. Once belonging to the American star Josephine Baker, you can enjoy an audio tour of the interior that houses a collection of dresses, furniture and memorabilia from the WWII. The gardens here are also stunning and during the summer months your ticket includes a bird of prey show in the grounds.

The fifth castle is the Château de Fayrac, situated between Château Les Milandes and Château de Castelnaud on the south bank of the river Dordogne. Built in the 15th-century, and remodelled during the following centuries. It's not open to the public, but you can admire the exterior of the castle when you take the D54 along the river.

Things to do in Domme

The best way to discover the village is from the river.

These traditional cargo barges, known as 'gabarres' are flat-bottomed boats that were once used to transport merchandise along the Dordogne. There are several companies that offer tourist trips so that you can see the beauty of this village from the water.

If you prefer a little more solitude on your river trip then canoes are also available to hire and offer and wonderful day or half day out. A leisurely paddle past the town to the Château de la Malartrie, and further still down the river towards Castelnaud-la-Chapelle lets you enjoy the region without crowds.

Another great way to see this region is to see it from above. A hot air balloon flight is a once in a lifetime opportunity and here you have some of the best scenery in France to enjoy during your ride. The flights tend to be early morning, a little breakfast treat, but during the high-season you can take flights in the afternoon as well. 

Where to stay in Domme

For a touch of history during your stay in the Dordogne, one of the beautiful château-style hotels in La Roque Gageac will suit you well. This central town is situated right on the banks of the Dordogne so most rooms in the local hotels will have great views over the river.

How to get to Domme

Situated in the Perigord noir area of Dordogne to the east of Bergerac. Roughly 75km away the journey from Bergerac should take about an hour to drive, and if you prefer public transport then it is 1h30 by train.


Map of the surrounding area