The Dordogne region is attractive hilly countryside, full of old villages, castles, small country towns, with plenty of scope for a relaxing holiday. Although popular with tourists there are still many places that you can find to explore that are 'off the beaten track'.
When you are deciding where to stay in the Dordogne you will find that there are four very popular areas; Perigueux itself; the capital of the region, this city has a beautiful historic centre, and is known for its ancient Cathédrale Saint Front, one of the oldest in France. The caves and prehistory area of the Vezère valley between Montignac, Lascaux and Les Eyzies. The beautiful and busy medieval city of Sarlat-la-Caneda, and the Dordogne valley itself, between Tremolat and Domme, an area including several of the finest of the Dordogne castles.
If you are looking for a less crowded area, especially during high-season, then there are a wealth of smaller towns that are worth visiting and staying in and where life moves at a slower pace. The town of Bergerac is also a busy hub in the western part of the region and has the advantage of having an airport and decent train connections.
North Dordogne accommodation
The north of the Dordogne region is home to the capital of the department, Périgueux, the City of Art and History and the heart of Dordogne. You will find plenty of accommodation here as well as in the neighbouring towns of Brantome and Thiviers. The Roman town of Périgueux offers a good base to explore the Perigord Blanc and Perigord Vert areas and of course to enjoy the gastronomic specialities of this part of the region.
East Dordogne accommodation
To the east, the Upper Dordogne is full of some towns and villages that make you feel as though you are really a part of rural French life. The tiny town of Autoire has a sleepy feel and some wonderful scenery surrounding it, whilst Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, right on the banks of the river, offers a tranquil place to stay whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of a busy medieval market town.
Saint-Cere, Souillac and Martel all offer more of a town feel with good accommodation options and are in within easy driving distance of the other towns in the area as well as all of the main sites and attractions.
South Dordogne accommodation
The south of the region, Cahors is undoubtedly the favourite place to stay. Rich in history as well as wine, this region produces a full bodied and dark coloured red wine that is reason in itself to visit. Situated close to the National Park of Causses du Quercy the area is very lush and covered by thick forest as the rivers Lot and Garonne run through it.
West Dordogne accommodation
The city of Bergerac sits at the heart of the Perigord Pourpre, with the wine town of Saint-Emilion to the west and the many towns of river Dordogne to the east. Bergerac is a great city (with a small town feel) to base yourself as it provides easy access to all of the hilltop and bastide towns in the region, as well as having it's own airport.
There are plenty of hotels and budget accommodation in the city itself, with more B&B style accommodation in the outlying areas. The smaller towns of Lalinde, Cadouin, Tremolat, Limeuil and Le Bugue offer more of a rural escape type appeal and have accommodation to match.
Central Dordogne accommodation
Central Dordogne is perhaps the most beautiful area. The Perigord Noir, known as such for its high concentration of very dark oak trees, is filled with famous chateaux, market towns and ancient villages. A great place to base yourself is the bustling town of Sarlat-la-Caneda. Known as the medieval capital of the Dordogne this walled town is not only full of hotels, but also fine restaurants and great shopping, as well as one of the biggest and best Saturday markets in the region. Although sometimes busy it does have great amenities and good access to the towns and tourist attractions of the surrounding area.