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Five Pretty Villages & Towns To Visit In The Dordogne


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Tine Mefford



The Dordogne region in France is a place of enchantment, known for its picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage. Nestled in the southwestern part of the country, the Dordogne offers visitors a glimpse into the traditional French way of life, with its idyllic stone houses, winding cobbled streets, and vibrant local markets.


For those seeking a quintessential French experience, the Dordogne is a treasure trove of hidden gems. In this article, we will explore five pretty villages and towns that are a must-visit when exploring the region. From the medieval charm of Sarlat-la-Canéda to the cliffside beauty of La Roque-Gageac, each destination has its own unique character that is sure to captivate and enchant.


Traveling through the Dordogne is like stepping back in time, as you wander through narrow alleys and discover architectural marvels that have stood the test of time. The region is also known for its exquisite cuisine, with local delicacies like foie gras, truffles, and traditional pastries that will tempt your taste buds.


Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat, the Dordogne has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey through these picturesque villages and towns in the heart of France.



Sarlat-la-Canéda is a medieval town nestled in the heart of the Dordogne region. It is often referred to as one of the most beautiful towns in France, and for good reason. The town’s narrow, winding streets are lined with well-preserved 14th-century buildings, creating a magical atmosphere that transports visitors back in time.


One of the highlights of Sarlat-la-Canéda is its vibrant market, held every Wednesday and Saturday. Here, you can meander through the stalls, sampling local delicacies such as duck confit, walnuts, and truffles. The market is also a great place to pick up unique souvenirs, including handcrafted pottery and locally produced wines.


Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the town’s historic center, with its charming squares, imposing churches, and grand Renaissance mansions. Place de la Liberté is the perfect spot to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the outdoor cafés.


If you’re interested in history, a visit to the Cathédrale Saint-Sacerdos is a must. This impressive 12th-century cathedral showcases exquisite Gothic architecture and houses beautiful stained glass windows.


For nature enthusiasts, the Jardins de Marqueyssac is a true paradise. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Dordogne River, these gardens offer breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Take a leisurely stroll along the winding pathways, bordered by manicured hedges and fragrant blooms, and discover hidden alcoves and charming gazebos.


In the evening, Sarlat-la-Canéda comes alive with the enchanting glow of gas lamps, adding a touch of old-world charm to the already captivating atmosphere. There are plenty of quaint restaurants to choose from, where you can savor the region’s culinary delights in an unforgettable setting.


With its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, Sarlat-la-Canéda is a must-visit destination in the Dordogne region. Immerse yourself in the enchantment of this medieval gem and create memories that will last a lifetime.



Tucked away on a steep hillside overlooking the Dordogne River, Beynac-et-Cazenac is a captivating village that exudes medieval charm. This picturesque town is crowned by the impressive Château de Beynac, a fortress that has stood watch over the valley for centuries.


A visit to the Château de Beynac is like stepping into a fairy tale. As you ascend the winding cobblestone streets, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Step inside the castle walls and explore its well-preserved rooms, where you can admire medieval furniture, weaponry, and tapestries that offer a glimpse into the rich history of the region.


After visiting the castle, take a leisurely stroll through the village’s narrow lanes and discover its charming stone houses adorned with colorful flowers. The village itself is a living testament to the medieval past, with its well-preserved architecture and quaint atmosphere.


For outdoor enthusiasts, the surrounding countryside offers ample opportunities for exploration. Take a leisurely canoe ride down the Dordogne River, passing by lush greenery and dramatic cliffs. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, embark on a hike along the trails that crisscross the nearby hills, offering breathtaking views of the river valley.


No visit to Beynac-et-Cazenac would be complete without sampling the local delicacies. The village is known for its traditional Perigord cuisine, which features dishes like duck confit, walnuts, and truffles. Explore the charming restaurants and cafés lining the streets and indulge in a gastronomic journey through the flavors of the Dordogne.


Beynac-et-Cazenac is not just a beautiful village; it is a place where history comes alive and nature embraces you. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, this enchanting village will captivate your heart and leave you with memories to cherish.



Rocamadour is a breathtaking village perched on a limestone cliff, overlooking the Alzou River in the Dordogne region. It is easily recognizable with its tiered architecture, consisting of houses and chapels built into the rock face, creating a striking and dramatic sight.


The village of Rocamadour has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, attracting visitors from all over the world. As you make your way up the ancient pathways, you’ll pass by numerous chapels and religious sites, including the famous Notre-Dame Chapel, which houses the revered Black Madonna.


One of the highlights of a visit to Rocamadour is the Grand Escalier, a monumental staircase consisting of 216 steps that leads pilgrims and visitors to the heart of the village. Climbing the steps provides a sense of awe as you marvel at the impressive architecture and immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere.


Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Take a moment to soak in the beauty of the Dordogne Valley as it stretches out before your eyes.


In addition to its religious significance, Rocamadour is also known for its delicious goat cheese. The village is home to several fromageries where you can sample and purchase this local delicacy. Be sure to pair it with a glass of regional wine for a true gastronomic experience.


Exploring the narrow streets of Rocamadour is like stepping back in time. Admire the traditional stone houses and medieval architecture as you wander through the village. Along the way, you’ll find charming boutiques selling local handicrafts, perfect for finding a unique souvenir to take home.


Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace, natural beauty, or a glimpse into medieval history, Rocamadour offers it all. Its exceptional location and enchanting atmosphere make it a must-visit destination in the Dordogne region.



Perched on a cliff above the Dordogne River, Domme is a charming bastide town that offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. With its fortified walls and well-preserved medieval architecture, Domme is a delight for history enthusiasts and architecture lovers alike.


Start your exploration by walking along the ancient ramparts that encircle the town. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Dordogne Valley and the lush landscapes that stretch out as far as the eye can see.


As you venture into the heart of Domme, you’ll discover a beautiful central square surrounded by picturesque houses and inviting cafés. Take a moment to relax and soak in the warm atmosphere, sipping a cup of coffee or indulging in a sweet treat.


One of the main attractions in Domme is the stunning Grotte de Domme, a limestone cave system located beneath the town. Embark on a guided tour and discover the fascinating stalactite formations and underground chambers that have been carved out over millions of years.


For history lovers, a visit to the Porte des Tours is a must. This imposing gate marks the entrance to the town and provides a glimpse into Domme’s medieval past. Climb to the top of the gate for an even better view of the surrounding landscapes.


Quaint shops line the streets of Domme, offering a variety of local products and handicrafts. Take the opportunity to browse through the boutiques and find unique souvenirs to take home, such as handmade jewelry or delicious regional specialties.


For those looking to satisfy their taste buds, Domme boasts a number of delightful restaurants serving traditional Périgord cuisine. Try local specialties like confit de canard (duck confit) or truffle-infused dishes, accompanied by a glass of fine Bergerac wine.


With its stunning views, rich history, and charming atmosphere, Domme is a hidden gem in the Dordogne region waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in its medieval beauty and create unforgettable memories in this delightful town.


La Roque-Gageac

Nestled along the banks of the Dordogne River, La Roque-Gageac is a picturesque village that exudes charm and natural beauty. Its unique position, with cliffside houses built into the rock face, makes it a true gem in the Dordogne region.


As you wander through the village’s narrow streets, you’ll be captivated by the stunning architecture and quaint atmosphere. Admire the traditional stone houses adorned with colorful flowers, and take in the breathtaking views of the river below.


One of the must-see attractions in La Roque-Gageac is the exotic garden, Jardins de Marqueyssac. This beautifully manicured garden offers panoramic views of the village and the Dordogne River. Take a leisurely stroll along the winding pathways, lined with trimmed hedges and fragrant blooms, and find tranquil spots to relax and soak in the stunning surroundings.


For a unique perspective of the village, embark on a boat ride along the Dordogne River. Marvel at the towering cliffs and lush greenery that frame the river, and learn about the fascinating history and culture of the region from the knowledgeable guides.


If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the nearby countryside on foot or by bike. There are several hiking and biking trails that showcase the natural beauty of the Dordogne, with its rolling hills, vineyards, and charming villages.


In the heart of La Roque-Gageac, you’ll find a variety of charming shops and boutiques, offering local crafts, gourmet products, and unique souvenirs. Take the time to browse through the selection and find something special to remember your visit.


No visit to La Roque-Gageac would be complete without savoring the local cuisine. Indulge in the flavors of the region by dining in one of the village’s restaurants, where you can enjoy traditional dishes like foie gras, truffle-infused delicacies, and local wines.


From its stunning natural setting to its charming architecture, La Roque-Gageac is a true delight for visitors. Lose yourself in the beauty of this riverside village and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Dordogne region.



The Dordogne region in France is a treasure trove of picturesque villages and towns, each offering its own unique charm and character. From the medieval streets of Sarlat-la-Canéda to the cliffside beauty of La Roque-Gageac, the Dordogne is a destination that delights both the eyes and the soul.


Exploring these pretty villages is like stepping into a storybook, with their narrow alleys, well-preserved architecture, and enchanting atmosphere. Each village has its own captivating features, whether it’s the stunning Château de Beynac in Beynac-et-Cazenac or the breathtaking views from the cliffs of Rocamadour.


Throughout the Dordogne, visitors can immerse themselves in the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. From ancient cathedrals and castles to underground caves and fortifications, there is no shortage of fascinating sites to explore.


The Dordogne is not just a visual feast; it is also a culinary paradise. The region’s cuisine is a celebration of local ingredients, with flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Indulge in the renowned foie gras, truffle-infused delicacies, and world-class wines that make the Dordogne a gastronomic haven.


Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat, a history lesson, or a gastronomic adventure, the Dordogne region has something to offer every traveler. Lose yourself in the beauty of Sarlat-la-Canéda’s medieval charm, soak in the dramatic landscapes of Beynac-et-Cazenac, discover the wonders of Rocamadour’s ancient pilgrimage site, explore the history of Domme’s fortified walls, and revel in the natural beauty of La Roque-Gageac by the Dordogne River.


Embark on a journey through these pretty villages and towns and create memories that will last a lifetime. The Dordogne awaits, ready to transport you to a place of enchantment and beauty.