The Dordogne Valley

The Dordogne Valley, just under a 2 and a half hours’ drive from Bordeaux and 4 and a half from Paris, is a paradise on earth, with a kaleidoscope of assets.  It is a registered UNESCO site and one of the world’s largest biosphere reserves. The valley’s unique landscape with steep cliffs dotted with splendid castles, its prehistoric caves, fortified medieval towns and picturesque classified villages, its remarkable gardens and outstanding gastronomy (you can just smell the truffles and foie gras from here!) make it an exceptional destination.

Balade en gabares, Château de la Malartrie, Dordogne

5 reasons to program the dordogne valley destination

Lascaux - Centre International de l’art pariétal

1. UNESCO prehistoric heritage

This destination, known for its extraordinary concentration of historical and natural sites classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, is often referred to as the Cradle of Humankind. The Lascaux cave is one of the most famous cave paintings in the world. Today, it is possible to visit the exact copy of the Lascaux cave, which is open to the public all year round. Many other prehistoric sites are accessible to visitors, from the original caves and shelters to museums and interpretation centres. You can even experience prehistoric man's way of doing things (shooting with a propeller, flint knapping, cave painting etc...

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2. An outdoor, 100% nature destination

The Dordogne Valley became a registered UNESCO site in 2012 as France’s largest « world biosphere reserve », with an area of 24 000 square kilometres (over 9.260 sq. miles). It’s an ideal destination for nature sports lovers and namely outdoor activity fans: canoeing-kayaking, hiking, cycling holidays, golfing, climbing, fishing, white water sports and even caving. An opportunity to explore wilderness in a whole new way, with breathtaking landscapes, cliffs, gorges and castles… just like in the movies!

3. A gastronomy destination, par excellence

The Dordogne Valley’s four holiday zones (Black, Green, Purple and White Périgord) boast an outstanding gastronomy and a remarkable art de vivre. The Valley’s emblematic delicacies include chestnuts, foie gras, ceps (famous wild mushrooms), truffles, walnuts, strawberries… which can all be found on local markets and fairs as well as on plates in town inns and Michelin star restaurants alike! In many villages, farmers markets, true outdoor restaurants, take place on summer evenings and enable locals and visitors to meet and enjoy local gastronomy in a festive and friendly atmosphere. An experience you won’t want to miss!  

On the Bergerac and Duras Wine Route, over 130 wine growers are eager to welcome you to their vineyards and some even organize activities and events on their estates.  

4. Picturesque villages along the « Plus beaux Villages de France » trail

The Dordogne Valley stands out thanks to the beauty of its villages, 13 of which boast the « Plus beaux villages de France » (France’s prettiest villages) label. Starting in Sarlat, visitors are spoilt for choice :  la Roque-Gageac,  Beynac-et-CazenacCastelnaud-la-chapelle, Saint-Amand de Coly,  Belvès, further north  Collonges-la-Rouge, birtplace of the « Plus Beaux Villages de France » label, located along the Way of Saint James, Turenne near Brive as well as Curemonte.

Other architectural heritage awaits visitors, such as the fortified medieval towns (“bastides”) of DommeLimeuil  and Monpazier, medieval cities that are all recognizable by their checkered layout. 

The Dordogne is also known as « the valley of 1001 castles ». Indeed, it is one of the most profuse regions in France in terms of listed historical monuments: castles, manors, bastides, all open to visitors. 

5. Refined and eco-friendly accommodation

The destination offers a vast choice of accommodation for all types of guests: stylish hotels, bed and breakfasts, outdoor accommodation and glamping, etc. But it also stands out for its unusual accommodation, which makes each stay even more unforgettable.  For example, visitors can choose to sleep in a castle such as Château de Val, an elegant 15th century fortress in a delightful setting in Bort-les-Orgues or Château de Turenne, with its breathtaking view of the Plus Beaux Villages de France town of Turenne.
All over the valley, visitors will find eco-responsible accommodation : perched tree cabins in the heights of Argentat-sur-Dordogne - an ecological campsite where you can experience daily life on an organic farm – stylish ecological accommodation in Black Périgord. 

10 key figures to remember about the Dordogne Valley destination

Lascaux : Visit of the International Centre


  • By car

    Paris-Brive-La Gaillarde : 4h45

    Paris—Périgueux : 5h21 (A 10 A 20)

    Paris-Sarlat : 5h24 – (A 20)

    Paris-Bergerac : 6h13 (A10 A 20)

    Bordeaux-Périgueux : 1h30 (133 km)


  • By train 

    Gares de Bordeaux - Saint Jean TGV

    Angoulême TGV –Paris : 2h00

    Gare de Libourne TGV – Paris : 2h45

    Gares de Périgueux, Bergerac, Sarlat TER (regional trains)


  • By plane

    Bordeaux-Mérignac airport (BOD)

    Brive Vallée de la Dordogne airport (ESG)

    Bergerac Dordogne-Périgord airport (BVE)