France is famous for its delicious cuisine, romantic cities, and refreshing wine. Whilst we’ve all heard of Paris and Toulouse, Dordogne might not sound so familiar.
The villages of Dordogne are surrounded by bright green meadows and built into steep limestone cliffs. They often sit along the Dordogne River and have at least one mentionable chateau!
Let’s explore the most beautiful towns in Dordogne, which are consequently some of the most beautiful towns in France.
11 Best Towns And Villages in Dordogne
This absolutely stunning and charming village was where the iconic film “Chocolat” was filmed. If you’ve ever watched the film, you’ll know that this riverside village has a somewhat weathered feel to it and seems as though it is stuck in the past.
Walk the narrow winding streets through the town and stop at a cafe with riverside views along the way. Right at the top of the steep hillside the town was built on, there is a grand chateau that perches on the top of a rugged cliff and looms over the little town below.
Once you’ve explored the town, go for a stroll along the river and explore the green nature spots that surround this enchanting town. If you’re a “Chocolat” fan, get some snaps of yourself in some of the most notable filming spots! This is the best town in Dordogne for film fanatics.
Bergerac sits along the northern bank of the Dordogne River. The town’s main square, Place Pelissiere, has a fountain in the centre that boasts a large statue of Cyrano de Bergerac – who was a 17th century dramatist and the main character of a play that was all about his unusually large nose! He pops up again and again in many of the souvenir shops around town.
The town’s main draw is its mediaeval old town district that is riddled with half-timbered houses and pretty, cobbled streets. Another top attraction is the Saint Jacques Church that is also on the main square.
As if there wasn’t already enough to entice you to this charming town in Dordogne, Bergerac seals the deal with its local wines that range from sweet whites like Monbazillac to deep reds like Montravel. Sit on the square enjoying a fine French lunch with a local glass of wine – the perfect summer escape in France.
Saint Jean de Cole
St. Jean de Cole’s history goes as far back as the 11th century. The village has narrow mediaeval streets lined with weathered half-timbered houses and it has been awarded the title of the Plus Beaux Villages en France, confirming its beauty and appeal!
Walk across the Donkey Bridge over the river Cole at the edge of town, then head into the town square. Some of the most notable architectural delights in St. Jean de Cole are the 12th century Chateau de la Marthonie and the Byzantine St Jean Baptist church from the same era.
If you’re in France in May, then come to the town’s Les Floralies flower festival and enjoy this stunning town decorated with blooming flowers.
This enchanting little town is found along the Dronne river in Dordogne. Its history goes as far back as the mediaeval period, and the stone architecture and dark and somewhat gloomy houses remain as relics of the past.
You’re going to be awed by the town’s picturesque, 14th century stone bridge. Though bear in mind it’s not entirely in its original state. The town had to be almost entirely rebuilt after there were severe floods in the 18th century, but it’s still hardly modern!
Venture further into Bourdeilles and explore the Château de Bourdeilles, whose origins can be traced as far back as the 12th century. This grand and imposing chateau will be a highlight for history fans!
This enchanting Dordogne town should be admired from up close and afar. It’s built into a steep cliff above the Alzou Canyon, and it looks like something out of a fairytale.
The town is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Saint-Sauveur Basilica and Saint Amadour crypt. Walk through the cobbled streets and visit all seven chapels. The most famous is the Notre-Dame chapel that is home to a 12th century statue of the Black Virgin that was found alongside a body in a perfect state of conservation back in 1166.
The figure has been visited by kings and queens throughout the centuries. Are you a history fan? Then make sure to check out the prehistoric drawings in the Cave des Merveilles too.
Sarlat la Caneda
The gorgeous and weathered mediaeval streets of Sarlat make it one of the best preserved 14th-century towns in France. Because the town is so old, it has a mix of mediaeval and renaissance architecture.
The best way to explore this quaint town is strolling through the narrow, cobbled streets that wind through half-timbered houses and past cute chapels and weathered sandstone buildings.
Some must-sees include the cathedral, the Jardin des Enfeus (a garden with several sarcophagus and enfeus in it). Plus, you should also check out the “Lanterne des morts” building. Come on market day if you want to see the town in full swing!
Brantome sits along the Dronne River and is a quintessential mediaeval village. Photographers will love this picturesque town. Some of the must-sees in Brantome include the Brantome Benedictine Abbey built by Charlemagne in 769 and its correspondent stone bridge.
You should also check out the Renaissance Tower and Tour St Roch. For some of the best views head over to the Church of Saint Pierre.
If you want to mix your day in Brantome with some culture, come on a Friday and catch the town market. Buy some local produce, like walnuts, truffles, and other delights to take home with you.
Come and get lost in this quaint Dordogne town. Stroll along the Rue Gambetta and stop off at the quaint boutique shops and tasty restaurants hidden amongst the old-fashioned houses that line the street.
Find your way to the mediaeval old town neighbourhoods along the Place de la Liberte. Discover the old mansion on Rue du Terme and walk up to the old Abbey and bell tower. The bell tower was built in the 12th century, but unfortunately the Abbey was burnt down in the wars of religion and had to be rebuilt in 1685.
Venture into the Montmartre neighbourhood, where the houses are tightly squeezed together along narrow, winding streets.
Perigueux is the capital of the Dordogne department. The outskirts of Perigueux aren’t the prettiest, but the town does have a stunning historical centre. You can’t miss the Saint Front Cathedral!
There are also plenty of fascinating museums, like the VESUNNA museum that has countless Roman artefacts and the Perigord Museum of Art and Archaeology.
Whilst you’re there make sure you visit the old Chateau Barriere and Vesone ruins. While it is not the most picturesque of the Dordogne villages and towns, it has played an important role in the area for over 2000 years!
Domme is small and mesmerising village, riddled with old towers covered in ivy and houses that are castle-like in design. The village was built around the old Feudal castle in 1280 under the instructions of King Philippe the Bold. It sits along the Dordogne River and clings to a sheer cliff.
History fans should take a tour of the old Templar Knights Graffiti, a wall of graffiti that was done by imprisoned Knight Templars. Another must-do is a tour of the town’s cave, which is the largest in the region. The incredible stalactites and stalagmites will leave nature lovers with their mouths hanging open.
There are a few museums around town to visit too. But if you’re more of an outdoorsy person then head to the Belvedere de la Barre for the best views or to the Jardin Public for an afternoon picnic.
La Roque Gageac
La Roque Gageac was built into a limestone cliff along the Dordogne River. Because of its geographical location it’s tiny anf hardly a village. Despite its size though, there is a delightful Jardin Exotique (Tropical Garden) and a grand chateau amongst the few houses.
Something exciting about this town is that you can rent kayaks or canoes and go on an adventure down the river. There’s also the option of going on a river boat tour.
There you have it, some of the most beautiful villages and towns in Dordogne to visit on your next France trip. Which will you visit first?
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