12 of the Most Delightful Dordogne Villages to Visit in France

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Why should the Dordogne villages be on your travel list?

Here, history isn’t just in the books; it’s in the winding streets, ancient homes, and lively markets that define the heart of rural France.

The region paints a dreamy picture of picturesque rural France with idyllic rustic farmhouses and creamy stone houses nestled among rolling green hills of the Dordogne Valley.

Medieval castles punctuate the landscape, and life syncs with the leisurely pace of its rivers and streams.

Having called the Dordogne home for nine months, we effortlessly adapted to French village life in a charming hamlet called Villars (pronounced Vill-arr).

This experience allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the tranquil rhythms of French countryside living, providing us with an authentic glimpse into the Dordogne lifestyle and a chance to explore the best villages in the Dordogne.

Join us as we explore our top 12 Dordogne villages and discover what makes each one uniquely enchanting as they vie for the title of the most beautiful town in Dordogne.

Map of Dordogne Villages in Perigord, France 

How to Use This Dordogne Villages Route Map

  1. To use this interactive map effectively, click the square icon in the upper right corner to expand.
  2. A key will appear on the left, guiding you through various locations.
  3. Clicking on any site reveals detailed information about that spot.
  4. Each Dordogne village is highlighted as a Purple marker (🟣).
  5. Attractions are highlighted with a Green marker (🟢).

Travelling in the Dordogne: What’s in this Guide

We’ve included the best Dordogne villages and organised them into the perfect travel route, from 1 to 12, ensuring you experience each one at its best.

For each stop, we’ve handpicked the top accommodation options based on customer reviews.

Plus, we’ve included a guide to local events and happenings throughout the year.

Use the links below to jump to specific sections of the article.


Planning a trip to the Dordogne region?

If you’re considering a road trip through France, our comprehensive guide to motorhoming in France can help you prepare.

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Delightful Dordogne Villages and Towns to Visit

If you love castles, Dordogne is a must-visit, with hundreds waiting to be explored. The medieval cliff-side villages of La Roque-Gageac, Beynac-et-Cazenac, and Rocamadour are architectural wonders, offering breathtaking views of the countryside.

A visit to Dordogne isn’t complete without exploring at least one of its markets. With numerous options throughout Perigord, France, on different days of the week, you’re spoilt for choice.

From medieval castles and charming market squares to the tranquil Dordogne River, this delightful region has something for everyone.

🗓️ For help planning your travel itineraries, our printable road trip planner might be just what you need to organise your upcoming trip. ➡️ Sign up for this free 23-page planner here.

1. Bourdeilles

Bourdeilles is a small medieval town situated on the Dronne, a northern Dordogne River. The two main attractions here are the Chateau de Bourdeille and Bourdeilles’ charming stone bridge.

stone bridge
Bourdeille ‘s charming stone bridge over the River Dronne ©Lifejourney4two

This interestingly designed bridge was originally built in the 14th century but had to be rebuilt in the 18th century following severe floods. 

The Bourdeille Bridge is extremely picturesque, and visited quite a few times to wander around the town when we lived nearby.

Bourdeille stone bridge
Intriguing bridge architecture ©Lifejourney4two

The bridge isn’t not only has an unusual shape, but as the river flows under it, swathes of emerald green mossy plants dance with the river’s flow—it’s like a moving watercolour painting.

seaweed in river
Pretty cottages line the River Dronne ©Lifejourney4two
seaweed along windy river
The picturesque river is Bourdeilles ©Lifejourney4two

The Bourdeilles Chateau, built on a rocky outcrop at the top of the town, is listed as a historical monument and dates back to the 12th century. Unfortunately, it was closed when we were there, but you can access its small gardens.

A great viewpoint over the river is at the top of the village.

🎊 What’s On – Bourdeilles

Bourdeilles hosts a variety of events and markets throughout the year:

  • Carnival: Kick-off March by attending the carnival on the first weekend. Don’t miss the parade!
  • Annual Festival: Join the local festivities on the first weekend of August. The schedule includes a parade and a range of activities for everyone.
  • Bastille Day: Celebrate on the 14th of July with traditional French festivities.
  • Market Day: Visit the local market every Sunday morning to enjoy fresh produce and local goods.

⭐️ Bourdeilles Accommodation: Hostellerie Les Griffons
Rating: Fabulous | Wifi | Breakfast available |  🦭 Check Rates and Availability

Bourdeilles-Chateau gardens
Bourdeilles Chateau gardens, Dordogne ©Lifejourney4two

2. Brântome

🚗 Driving Distance: Bourdeilles to Brântome is 10km or approx. 12 mins.

brantome heart
Brantome, Dordogne ©Lifejourney4two

Brântome has to be one of the most photogenic and prettiest villages in Dordogne.

The Dronne River flows through its centre, and the Benedictine Abbey, Brantome Abbey, flanked by wooded slopes, looks on grandly. 

old bridge
Stone bridge over the River Dronne ©Lifejourney4two

A charming old stone bridge crosses the river beside an old working mill (now a restaurant) that adds to this idyllic picture.

cathedral in Brantome
Benedictine Abbey in Brantome overlooking the river Dronne ©Lifejourney4two
brantome sunday market
Friday market in Brantome ©Lifejourney4two

A local market is held here every Friday, and Brantome is filled with traditional French cuisine and the colours of the Perigord.

Local foods of le Perigord France include paté de foie gras, walnuts and truffles. Depending on the season, you’ll likely see many chestnuts for sale, which grow prolifically in the region. And, of course, the classic French strings of garlic.

You can walk alongside the river between weeping willows and catch glimpses of the brightly coloured quintessential French shutters on the grey stone houses along the river.

🎊 What’s On – Brântome

  • Weekly Markets: Visit the market every Friday morning. Additionally, from mid-June to mid-September, there’s a Farmers Country Market every Tuesday from 8 AM to 1 PM.

⭐️ Brantome Accommodation: Moulin de l’Abbaye
Rating: Superb | Wifi | Breakfast |  🦭 Check Rates and Availability

local bread at brantome market
Local market at Brantome ©Lifejourney4two

3. Villars

🚗 Driving Distance: Brântome to Villars is 15km or approx. 20 mins.

This tiny Dordogne village of Villars was our home for nine months, and I must admit this little piece of the Dordogne holds a special place in my heart. 

Dordogne village -Villars
Villars – the Chateau de Villars is where we housesat and is the one with the pool ©Lifejourney4two

Villars is certainly one of the smaller villages on this exploration through Dordogne, but it is not without its own charm. You’ll not have the hustle and bustle of the busier towns from this village of nearly 500 residents.

Villars street
History around each turn in Villars ©Lifejourney4two
Chateau de Villars
Chateau de Villars, our 9-month housesit ©Lifejourney4two

Just one kilometre from the village centre is the Chateau de Puyguilhem. Built in the Renaissance style, this chateau, reminiscent of the Loire Valley Chateaux, is classified as a historical monument.

You can wander the grounds and you can also take a guided tour of the chateau.

Chateau de Puyguilhem
Chateau de Puyguilhem, Villars ©Lifejourney4two

The Boschaud Abbey ruins are discovered just two kilometres from Villars village centre. An easy stroll through the countryside.

This Cistercian Abbey ruin is classified as a historical monument and is free to explore. The ruins also are used to host various cultural events during the year.

Abbey-de-Boschaud, near Villars ©Lifejourney4two

🎊 What’s On – Villars

Christmas Markets: Held annually in December, these markets are a festive highlight.

⭐️ Accommodation: La Sérénelle
Rating: Superb | Wifi | In Town | We know the hostess, Eliane and a stay here would be divine.
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

Villars christmas market
Villars Christmas market ©Lifejourney4two

4. St. Jean De Cole

🚗 Driving Distance: Villars to St. Jean De Côle is 8km or approx. 10 mins.

Another of the most beautiful villages in Dordogne is St. Jean de Cole, a medieval village dating back to the 11th century.

The attractive village square is the epicentre. On one side is the 12th-century Chateau de la Marthonie, and on the other side is the Byzantine church of St Jean Baptist, built in the 12th century.

At one time, the chateaux belonged to the Marthonie family, but they upgraded when they built the more lavish Chateau de Puyguilhem in Villars.

St jean de cole village
St. Jean de Cole, Dordogne ©Lifejourney4two

St Jean de Cole has been awarded two flowers in the iconic French Cities and Villages bloom competition and is one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France. 

This award was established in 1982, and small rural villages with a rich cultural heritage are judged on their tourist appeal and their tourism planning.

st jean de cole autumn colours
St. Jean de Cole autumn colours, Dordogne France ©Lifejourney4two
St jean de cole awarded pretty village
Narrow laneways and medieval village houses in St. Jean de Cole ©Lifejourney4two
French styles homes
French-styled homes in St. Jean de Côle on the Côle River, a tributary of the Dronne River ©Lifejourney4two

There is a gorgeous little bridge near the edge of St.Jean de Cole village. Named the Donkey Bridge, its arches span the river Côle and date back to the 15th century.

St-Jean de Cole’s Donkey Bridge, Dordogne France ©Lifejourney4two

If you are visiting St. Jean de Cole in early May, then you mustn’t miss Les Floraliesa popular flower festival that attracts several thousand visitors. During the festival, the village is festooned with flowers and exhibitors share their passion for all things floral.

🎊 What’s On – St. Jean De Cole

  • Floralies Festival: Visit on the second weekend of May to experience the village transformed with thousands of flowers during this stunning floral festival.
  • Musicôle Festival: Enjoy multiple concerts throughout the village in June.

⭐️ St Jean de Cole Accommodation: Au Cœur de Mauchat
Rating: Superb | Wifi | 5km from Town | Breakfast
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

Château-de-la-Marthonie in St. Jean de Cole ©Lifejourney4two

5. Perigueux

🚗 Driving Distance: St. Jean De Côle to Perigueux is 35km or approx. 40 mins.

Perigueux, although not pretty to look at on its outskirts, has a historic centre which is worth a visit.

Here, you’ll find the Cathedrale Saint-Front. Shaped like a Greek Cross with impressive domes, it is one of the largest in Southwest France.

It is surrounded by Perigueux’s medieval houses and inviting boulevards.

Perigueux, capital of the Dordogne

Another local historical attraction is the Tower of Vesone. It is the only remaining part of a sacred temple dedicated to the goddess Vesunna, the ancient protector of the city. It is surrounded by gardens, and the Vesunna Museum is nearby.

The Vesunna Museum houses the Roman origins of Périgueux and the remains of a large Gallo-Roman house, which are now protected under glass.

🎊 What’s On – Perigueux

  • Fest ‘Oie: On the first weekend of March, celebrate the Annual Goose Festival in Sarlat. Enjoy Perigueux’s renowned local delicacies, including foie gras and truffles.
  • Christmas Market: This festive destination will run from December 2, 2023, to January 6, 2024.

⭐️ Perigeux Accommodation: Chez Dany
Rating: Exceptional | Wifi | Town Centre
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6. Sarlat La Caneda

🚗 Driving Distance: Perigueux to Sarlat La Caneda is 65km or approx. 1hr 10 mins.

sarlat le caneda
Sarlat La Caneda ©Lifejourney4two

Sarlat-la-Canéda, often referred to as simply Sarlat is a popular medieval town in the  Perigord Noir region of the Dordogne.

The best thing to do here is to wander the maze of old narrow streets through the old centre of town, which will transport you back to the Middle Ages.

shelley with sculpture
Shelley with Le Badaud (‘The Onlooker’) de Sarlat watching the market place ©Lifejourney4two

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the town hosts one of the biggest food markets in the Dordogne region.

You can book a gourmet tour through the market, where you can taste regional specialties like foie gras, walnuts, and Monbazillac wine.

Many of Sarlat’s buildings have been restored and it has the highest density of ‘Historic Monuments’ and ‘Classified Monuments’ of any town in France. 

sarlat le caneda street scape
Sarlat street scape ©Lifejourney4two

Several day tours operate from Sarlat, including the Dordogne Villages Half-Day Tour.

This small group afternoon tour lasts for about four hours and covers some of Dordogne’s most photogenic landscapes. You visit the medieval town of Domme, the 12th-century caste of Beynac and the incredible La Roque Gageac.

🎊 What’s On – Sarlat le Caneda

  • Christmas Market: Starts at the beginning of December and runs until the end of December.
  • Annual Truffle Festival: This takes place every January.
  • Foie Gras Festival: Held on the first weekend of March each year.

⭐️ Sarlat-la-Canéda Accommodation: La Suite Cosy de La Boëtie
Rating: Exceptional | Wifi | Town Centre
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7. Domme

🚗 Driving Distance: Sarlat La Caneda to Domme is 13 km or approx. 20 mins.

La Porte des Tours, Domme, Dordogne

Directly south of Sarlat is the charming town of Domme, overlooking the Dordogne River. Honey-coloured houses line the flower-filled lanes of what was once a fortified town.

The city walls are still well preserved with three of the old fortified gates still standing. The Portes des Bos, the Portes des Lacombe, and the most famous is the Porte des Tours. This was where the Knight Templars were imprisoned from 1307 to 1318, and evidence of their graffiti still remains.

In Domme, you will also find the largest natural cave in the Périgord Noir, the Grotte de Domme. The entrance to the cave is at the Marketplace, and the tour takes about 45 minutes.

🎊 What’s On – Domme

  • Easter Monday Egg Hunt: Join the fun with an egg hunt on Easter Monday.
  • In June: Fun fair, theatre festival, St Jean fire and Music festival.

⭐️ Accommodation: 1 logis à Domme
Rating: Exceptional | Wifi | Town Centre
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

8. La Roque-Gageac

🚗 Driving Distance: Domme to La Roque-Gageac is 5 km or approx. 10 mins.

La Roque-Gageac ©Lifejourney4two
la roque gageac
La Roque Gageac, Dordogne ©Lifejourney4two

About 8km from Sarlat is the picturesque Dordogne village of Le Roque Gageac, yet another of the most beautiful villages in France.

We visited on a rainy day and yet still its charm shone through – as did the sun just a couple of times amongst the showers. 

The path behind La Roque Gageac ©Lifejourney4two

Interestingly, the street climbing the hill behind the charming ochre-coloured houses on the main street takes on an exotic feel with banana trees, palms, and bamboo lining its route.

la roque gageac waterfall
La Roque Gageac’s stream behind the village ©Lifejourney4two

A must-see when visiting the Dordogne village of La Roque Gageac is the magnificent Marqueyssac Gardens. 

Marquessac gardens 1
Marqueyssac Gardens, near La Roque Gageac ©Lifejourney4two
Marquessac gardens 2
Marquessac gardens are exquisite ©Lifejourney4two

Set on chalky limestone cliffs, these gorgeous gardens overlook the Dordogne Valley. Filled with verdant hand-clipped boxwood hedges and woodland paths, they are a perfect place to spend an hour or two.

Marquessac Gardens walk ©Lifejourney4two

When we were there, we topped off our visit to the Marqueyssac Gardens with tea and cake at the Tearooms overlooking the valley.

🎊 What’s On – La Roque-Gageac

  • Pétanque Competition: Held annually from June to October.
  • Votive Festival: Celebrate on the first weekend of August with a carnival and musical entertainment.

⭐️ Accommodation: the little bamboo
Rating: Exceptional | Wifi | Town Centre
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

tea rooms
Tea rooms at Marquessac Gardens ©Lifejourney4two

9. Rocamadour

🚗 Driving Distance: La Roque-Gageac to Rocamadour is 55 km or approx. 60 mins.

Rocamadour is a medieval mix of houses, churches, and chapels built into the cliff face above Alzou Canyon. From a distance, it looks like a set for a magical Disney film.

Rocamadour village
The fairytale scene of Rocamadour from a distance ©Lifejourney4two

Listed as a UNESCO Heritage site, its ancient, arched gateways lead you onto its one street, Rue de la Couronnerie, and passed olde-world shops and cafes.

Rocamadour shops
Rocamadour shops, Dordogne ©Lifejourney4two

You’ll then encounter the numerous steps that bring you to another level, housing eight chapels.

The most famous of which is the Notre Dame Chapel (sometimes known as the Miracles Chapel), which is home to a statue of the Black Virgin dating from the 12th century. 

Rocamadour’s Notre Dame chapel, Dordogne ©Lifejourney4two

Rocamadour is an important pilgrimage site and in the past centuries, pilgrims arriving here would climb the steps on their knees.

Rocamadour Half-Day Private Tour (from Sarlat)
| ⭐️ 4.9/5 Star Reviews | ⏰ 3.5 to 4.5 hours

Rocamadour town hill
Rocamadour ©Lifejourney4two

Close to this Dordogne village, you’ll find the Rocamadour Monkey Sanctuary (fôret des singes).

Not, perhaps the place you would expect to find a sanctuary for Barbary Macaques (indigenous to Morocco and Algeria). But here, you can wander alongside these monkeys, which are part of a conservation program to combat the endangerment of the species.

monkeys sign at rocamadour
Monkeys at Rocamadour, Dordogne ©Lifejourney4two

We first met these monkeys when in Morocco when we visited Ouzoud Falls, they were a tourist attraction being exploited – but we weren’t so aware of this until we learnt more through this visit in France.

🎊 What’s On – Rocamadour

  • Rocamadour AOC Cheese Festival: Held in June, celebrate the local cheese heritage at this annual festival.

⭐️ Accommodation: Le Terminus des Pèlerins
Rating: Fabulous | Wifi | Town Centre
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

Rocamadour monkey sanctuary
Rocamadour monkey sanctuary ©Lifejourney4two

10. Beaulieu-Sur-Dordogne

🚗 Driving Distance: Rocamadour to Beaulieu-Sur-Dordogne is 37 km or approx. 45 mins.

Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne is another charming village in the Dordogne. Since 2021, it has been listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.  

Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne view of a church with reflections on the river

This beautiful part of France is in the Upper Dordogne Valley, on the banks of the Dordogne River. The luscious green banks overlooking the Dordogne are the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or take a canoe and paddle up the river. 

In the main square, you’ll find the Abbaye Saint-Pierre.

Once a Benedictine Abbey in the 9th century, the church is most known for its 7-foot stone carving above the door. The carving depicts Christ’s resurrection, with an image of Christ surrounded by the 12 apostles. 

sone carving of christ and 12 apostles above the door of the Abbaye Saint Pierre in Beaulieu sur Dordogne
The carved tympanum (a semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, door or window, which is bounded by a lintel and an arch) over the door of the Abbaye Saint-Pierre

Another attraction of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne is its strawberries. This region in France produces more than ten different varieties, the most famous of which is the gariguette strawberry, the town’s emblem.

In fact, the village holds an annual Strawberry Festival on the 2nd Sunday of May and produces a massive strawberry tart. 

For details of a multi-media tour around the village, visit the Tourist Office at Marbot Place (see map above).   

With its enchanting ambience, historical landmarks, and natural beauty, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne is undoubtedly a delightful village worth visiting in the Dordogne region of France. 

🎊 What’s On – Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

  • Strawberry Festival: This takes place on the second Sunday of May each year.

⭐️ Accommodation: Logis Hôtel Le Beaulieu
Rating: Very Good | Breakfast | Town Centre
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

11. Beynac-Et-Cazenac

🚗 Driving Distance: Beaulieu-Sur-Dordogne to Beynac-Et-Cazenac is 78 km or approx. 1 hr 30 mins.

Beynac-et-Cazenac and its imposing medieval castle, Chateau de Beynac, sits on one side of the Dordogne River, while the Chateau de Castelnaud and the Chateau de Feyrac sit on the other. 


We could see Castle Beynac across the Dordogne River when visiting the Marqueyssac Gardens. Dating back to the 12th century, it is considered one of the most well-preserved and authentic castles in the region.

Richard the Lionheart ( the king of England from 1189 until his death in 1199) conquered the castle by scaling the cliff from below.  

Overall, Beynac-et-Cazenac and its neighbouring castles offer a unique glimpse into medieval history and architecture in the heart of the Dordogne region. 

🎊 What’s On – Beynac-et-Cazenac

  • Weekly Market: A market featuring food and local produce is held every Monday morning from mid-June to mid-September.

⭐️ Accommodation: Hôtel Pontet
Rating: Very Good | Breakfast | Town Centre
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

Beynac-et-Cazenac with a castle on the hill
Beynac-et-Cazenac as seen from Marqueyssac Gardens ©Lifejourney4two

12. Saint-Emilion

🚗 Driving Distance: Beynac-Et-Cazenac to Saint-Emilion is 156 km or approx. 2hrs.

On the far western reaches of the Dordogne, on the northern banks of the Dordogne River is one of the most famous towns in France, Saint-Emilion. If you are a lover of wine, you have no doubt heard of this charming medieval town.

hanging purple grapes
Saint-Emilion is recognised by UNESCO as an outstanding example of a historic vineyard landscape

Saint-Emilion is known for its historic architecture, picturesque streets, and world-class vineyards, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The town’s architectural highlights include the Monolithic Church, which was carved out of a limestone cliff in the 12th century, the remains of an ancient Romanesque church and a 53-metre bell tower. 

Most of all, though, St-Emilion is known for its prestigious vineyards and for producing some of the finest wines in the Bordeaux region. Wine enthusiasts can explore the numerous chateaux and wineries, participate in tastings, and learn about the winemaking process.

The surrounding area is dotted with vineyards, rolling hills, scenic walking trails and stunning views of the Dordogne River. It’s the perfect place to visit in the Dordogne Valley, especially for wine lovers.  

🎊 What’s On – Saint Emilion

  • Weekly Market: Held on Wednesdays during the high season at Parc Guadet.

⭐️ Accommodation: Maison De La Tour
Rating: Very Good | Breakfast | Town Centre
 🦭 Check Rates and Availability

Village of St Emilion

🍷 Saint Emilion Day Trip with Sightseeing & Wine Tastings

⏰ 8 hours | ⭐️ Rating: 5/5 | Book Here

Here are some reviews by visitors who took this tour:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Excellent Guide, Beautiful Scenery, Great Wine – MichaelL_S, June 2023

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Highly recommend – even on a rainy day! – Elisabeth_H, June 2023

Where is the Dordogne?

The Dordogne area lies in southwestern France, a region filled with picturesque villages and historic sites. However, pinning down exactly what constitutes the Dordogne can be a bit of a puzzle.

Dordogne region in France ©Lifejourney4two

It’s not easy to get your head around the various regions and departments in France, as the old and new names are used interchangeably and can be confusing to a visitor.

The Dordogne Region Explained

To put it as simply as possible, Dordogne villages, towns and cities are found in the Dordogne Department and in the Dordogne Valley (which crosses other departments of France).

What you need to know:

  • France’s Regions: Since 2016, France has been grouped into 13 regions. For our adventures through Dordogne villages, we focus on the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
  • Dordogne Department: This is one of the twelve departments within Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It sounds straightforward, but here’s where it gets a tad tricky.

Why it’s confusing:

  • Not Just One Place: Although they’re called “Dordogne villages,” not all are in the Dordogne Department. They get their name from the Dordogne River, which doesn’t stick to one department’s boundaries.
  • Beyond Boundaries: The river flows through other regions, including Occitanie. Thus, some so-called Dordogne villages are not in Nouvelle-Aquitaine at all.

A humorous note on bureaucracy: Every region is sliced into departments, which are then diced into arrondissements, cantons, communes, and for an extra sprinkle of fun, prefectures and subprefectures. Thankfully, we don’t need to dive into that bureaucratic salad to enjoy the charm of Dordogne villages!

In simpler terms: If someone mentions a Dordogne village, it might not actually be in the Dordogne Department. These villages are scattered along the path of the Dordogne River, crossing different administrative lines and regions.

Our friend Bill, who lived in Villars, driving us about in his Citroen 2CV – how very French! ©Lifejourney4two

So, are you staying in a Dordogne Village or not? 

It’s mostly a matter of semantics, and regardless of the official boundaries, the area surrounding the Dordogne River is stunning and well worth exploring.

Dordogne or Périgord?

Historically, the Dordogne was known as Périgord. Today, locals around the capital, Périgueux, still use ‘le Périgord’ to refer to their region.

Divisions within Périgord:

  • Périgord Vert (Green): Known for its lush landscapes, centred around Nontron.
  • Périgord Blanc (White): Named for its limestone plateaus, with Périgueux at its heart.
  • Périgord Noir (Black): Famous for its dark oak forests, anchored by Sarlat.
  • Périgord Pourpre (Purple): Celebrated for its wine, with Bergerac as its capital.

This four-part division not only highlights the region’s natural diversity but also underscores the cultural depth that the name Périgord conjures. Each sector offers a distinct slice of the area’s rich heritage, making the Dordogne one of France’s most fascinating regions to discover.

Villars restaurant ©Lifejourney4two

When is the Best Time to Visit the Dordogne?

To experience the Dordogne at its finest, consider visiting during:

  • Spring (April to June):
    • Enjoy mild temperatures.
    • See the countryside burst into vibrant blooms.
    • Benefit from fewer tourists.
  • Autumn (September to November):
    • Experience comfortable weather.
    • Witness the stunning autumn foliage.
    • Attend local harvest festivals.
Old rusty pot filled with yellow flowers
St. Jean de Côle, Dordogne

Dordogne Towns and Villages FAQs

1. What is the prettiest village in the Dordogne?

The prettiest village in the Dordogne has many contenders. However, the most popular and picturesque villages in the Dordogne include Sarlat-la-Canéda, Domme, Roque Gageac, Brantôme, Rocamadour, and St-Jean-de-Côle.

2. What is the most beautiful part of the Dordogne?

The Dordogne region in France is known for its stunning landscapes, charming villages full of beautiful stone houses, and rich historical heritage. It is difficult to single out one specific part as the most beautiful. Still, some of the most popular and visually appealing areas in the Dordogne include those in the Dordogne Valley. Specific towns and villages include Sarlat-la-Canéda, Domme, Roque Gageac, Brantôme, Rocamadour, Beynac-et-Cazenac, and St-Jean-de-Côle.

3. What is the main town in the Dordogne?

The main town in the Dordogne region in France is Périgueux, the capital of the Dordogne.

4. What is the best base for the Dordogne?

The best base for exploring the Dordogne region in France depends on personal preferences and the specific attractions or activities you plan to do. However, Sarlat-la-Canéda is often considered one of the most popular and convenient bases because it is centrally located.

Visiting Dordogne Villages … That’s a Wrap

The Dordogne villages offer a relaxed pace of life that epitomizes the essence of rural France at its most quintessential. Among the beautiful towns in the Dordogne, each one we’ve featured stands out as a true gem.

Allow yourself to be captivated by each village’s unique charm, rich history, and breathtaking beauty. An unforgettable experience awaits you in the Dordogne villages, where every visit leaves a lasting impression.

If you enjoy exploring the Dordogne, you might also love our road trip guide through Alsace, another region rich in history and natural beauty.

Have you visited any of the Dordogne villages, or is there a village in France that has captured your heart ?

Share your stories with us in the comments below!

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Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, and her husband Lars co-own Lifejourney4two. Their adventure began in Perth, Australia, and has since taken them through Europe and Africa in motorhomes and bush campers. Shelley's travel guides combine practical advice with engaging stories, mirroring their shift from 'One Day' to 'Day One'. Together, they aim to inspire others to embark on their own travel dreams.

4 thoughts on “12 of the Most Delightful Dordogne Villages to Visit in France”

  1. Hi Shelley and Lars.
    The Dordogne has been on the bucket list to revisit, since we were there in 1978! We are both now 77, moderately healthy, wanting to walk where its not to long and not too steep! Looked at walking tours but a bit much of both.
    We are now wondering about basing ourselves in maybe 4 villages over 2-2 1/2 weeks, 4 nights in each, and not hiring a car. Trains are good! We want the French village ambience and cuisine, but not 5* or Michelin. Very happy with gites.
    Can you pick 4 of your special villages that would fit the scenario? Would like Brantome, as we used to live in Brantome St Gisborne, and it looks lovely[as they all do! ] Went to Rocadamour previously. Loved Sarlat, and would happily return.
    Looking to travel mid April-early-mid May, so flower festival at St Jean de Cole appeals.
    How easy is it to travel between the villages without a car? Are there buses, or would one need taxis? Could finish up where there is access to a train back to Paris to fly home.
    Sorry to be cheeky in asking advice, but I’m sure your knowledge is better than a Melbourne travel agent. However I fully understand if you can’t help; but thank you so much for the wonderful , informative and oh-so-tempting web site!

    Cheers, David Laurie

    • Hi David and Susie- so pleased you love our website! And a trip to the Dordogne in spring sounds lovely.
      Our favourite town in the Dordogne was Brantome, so I’d say definitely include that one and another of our favourites was Sarlat. My friend in Villars absolutely loved Perigeux (I don’t think we explored it enough to fall in love with it – much to the chagrine of my friend!). And there are better rail links there I think.
      To be honest, I’m not sure about public transport between the villages – we had a car so travelled that way everywhere, but I’m thinking that it would be more difficult to get to say the smaller towns of St. John de Cole than to the larger, like Sarlat.
      As for the other villages to pick – that’s a hard one as there are so many. If you are wanting a wider choice of restaurants then the larger villages will be a better choice. So Brantome, Perigeux and Sarlat would be great options and then another that catches your eye 🙂
      I hope this helps a little and do let us know how your trip goes and let us know your favourite parts.
      Happy travels.
      Shelley and Lars


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