About the sights in Dordogne
There are a wealth of places to visit in Dordogne, from top class art museums to the remains of ancient chapels, prehistoric dwellings and of course the famous vineyards. Many of the highlights are spread throughout the region, so to see the best that Dordogne has to offer, a car is recommended.
Thanks to the varied history of Dordogne, you will find reminders of the pre-historic times, Romans and of course the English throughout the region, from cave painting to castles and ruins to churches. Much of this history is documented in a number of museums.
But it is not just man-made artefacts that are worth seeking out. Dordogne is blessed with fabulous scenery, from the rows of vineyards in the Bergerac and Saint-Emilion areas to the rolling hills of the Vezere valley in the east. There are also a wealth of natural caves that are filled with wonders that look as though they come from another world. Rivers that run deep underground and stalactites and stalagmites that form shapes you couldn't imagine in your wildest dreams..
Castles & ruins
You can hardly turn a corner in Dordogne without seeing a chateau high up on a hillside, across a series of farm fields or nestled in the dense forest. From fortified castles to fairytale chateau the range is spectacular. Many are open to visit and offer guided tours. Others you will find are private residence or perhaps the chateau of a vineyard.
Caves & rocks
Well known for its prehistoric heritage the caves and rocks of the Dordogne come in all shapes and forms. The cave paintings of Lascaux and the Grotte de Font-de Gaume offer examples of prehistoric artwork that is unparalleled in Europe. Cave-man style carvings and engravings can be seen in the town of Le Bugue and of course there are many examples of troglodyte cave dwellings around the prehistoric centre of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac.
In addition, you will find that some of the underground rivers and caves showcase a stunning world of calcified structures that can be explored by foot and by boat.
Churches & cathedrals
The city of Perigueux is home to an exceptional 12th-century Romanesque and Byzantine style cathedral that stands out on the skyline by the river l'Isle. Located on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela this, and other churches, are worth visiting even if you are not doing this pilgrimage. The town of Rocamadour is one large religious site and even today you will find many pilgrims coming to climb the steep steps up to 'La Cite Religieuse' and the seven chapels.
There are many fine examples of tympanums (the stone carvings above church doors) and one in particular that stands out is the Abbaye Saint-Pierre in Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne. This 9th-century church and its artwork is particularly well-preserved.
Houses & gardens
There are some fine examples of country homes in the Dordogne, some of which are mini-chateaux and still lived in today. You will also see some beautiful and well-manicured gardens, both surrounding the chateaux and on their own. The panoramic gardens of Limeuil not only offer great views but a range of plants and flowers that are particular to the region and that flourish in the climate. Le Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac feel very typically French, with box hedges neatly trimmed and roses gardens that smell sweet.
Museums & galleries
The International Centre of Prehistory is based in the Dordogne, along with the National Museum of Prehistory. You will find both in the pretty town of cliff-side town of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. In addition to this the newly opened International Centre for Cave Art at Lascaux 4 confirms that the Dordogne is a world leader in this field.
Vineyards & estates
Being so close to the Bordeaux region it will come as no surprise that Dordogne is also famed for its wine production. In particular, Saint-Emilion, a town that sits on the border between the two regions, is famed for its Cru and Grande-Cru class wines. The Bergerac and Monbazillac also offer good cabernet sauvignon and merlot varieties as well as sweet dessert wine.