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Escapade estivale au pays de cocagne, le Périgord

Summer getaway in the land of plenty, the Périgord

Périgord or Dordogne ? Two names, one historical, the other administrative, to evoke the same region, a real land of plenty and the French department richest in historical monuments. 

A very old land , which made the History of France , but also that of prehistory . At the same time cradle of humanity , place of Homeric battles , and a land with a unique sweetness of life . A country all on its own, country of man and for men , who for 400,000 years have left their mark there.

The vestiges abound… not a road, a path, where you will not find at the bend of a curve, a manor house, a castle, a fortified house, a church or a Romanesque abbey, a fortress, ruins, a bastide, a prehistoric cave. Places with a soul, imbued with legends, old blonde stones that have crossed the centuries, and a sublime golden light, which illuminates breathtaking landscapes. Crossed by the “River Hope”, the Vézère and a multitude of streams, they run from green forests to valleys, pastures and meadows. A preserved nature, an incredible beauty, an atmosphere and a way of life that reconciles us with the universe and reconnects us to the essential. We live to the rhythm of the seasons and time regained. When authenticity takes on its full meaning…

This is where TiL’s inspiration comes from, and we wanted to share with you some of the must-see treasures to discover in the Dordogne.

 

Looking for green and nature?

Go to this part of the Périgord, named “green” because it is in the heart of the Regional Natural Park, with an omnipresent nature with luxuriant vegetation, and farther away from the tourists.

 

You will discover magnificent castles such as Jumilhac Le Grand, a large feudal building with very Romanesque Renaissance roofs built on a rocky spur, Puyghilem, in Villars, built during the Renaissance and resembling a castle of the Loire, full of charm.

But also the city of Brantôme, nicknamed “the Venice of Périgord”, which has the oldest bell tower in France on canals, or Saint Jean de Cole, one of the most beautiful villages in France, or Bourdeilles, one of the four baronies of Périgord with its medieval fortress and its Renaissance castle.

Walking through history in Périgueux, capital of Périgord 

Perigueux is the capital of the Périgord region, where you can leaf through a history book where you can read all the ages, Roman, medieval and Renaissance. Built in the Gallo-Roman era, it boasts an incredible Byzantine cathedral, Saint Front, classified as a World Heritage Site. The city is a succession of old streets with magnificent Renaissance mansions, small squares with infinite charm, where the picturesque weekly market on Saturdays flourishes.

In the white Périgord, with its limestone plateaus, don’t miss Hautefort, an immense medieval jewel transformed in the 17th century, with beautiful gardens.

Vineyards and bastides 

A land of hillsides, the Purple Périgord in the southeast is the land of bastides, vineyards and Bergerac. About fifteen bastides of English origin such as Monpazier, Beaumont, or French such as Eymet and Domme, built at the beginning of the Hundred Years War, are the most beautiful existing testimonies of what was a new conception of the city in the Middle Ages. A magnificent central square, around which were organized parallel or perpendicular streets. 

And to see a masterpiece of flamboyant gothic art, go to the abbey of Cadouin, whose magnificent cloister, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, radiates absolute serenity.

From troglodyte sites to medieval fortresses

 

The Périgord Noir, in the south-east, offers splendid landscapes from which it takes its name (color of the oak forests), and the highest concentration in the world of prehistoric sites. Lascaux, “the Sistine Chapel of cave art”, was painted about 19,000 years ago! Les Eyzies, La Roque Gageac, La Madeleine … this is the cradle of prehistory.

Sarlat, the capital, is one of the most beautiful medieval cities of France, not to be missed. As well as the extraordinary fortresses dominating the valley of the Dordogne like Beynac and Castelnaud which face each other, or Commarque in the heart of the forest.

Fans of gardens?

 

Visit the breathtaking French garden of Eyrignac, and the romantic gardens of Marqueyssac.

Renowned throughout the world for its historical treasures, its exceptional natural environment and its quality of life, the Périgord has attracted people since the beginning of time. One trip will not be enough to discover all its treasures, but it will certainly make you want to return.

 

 

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