villages in the dordogne


The purple Périgord (Périgord Pourpre in French) is located in the southwest part of the Dordogne region, with Bergerac as its capital. The region draws its name from its famous vineyards, being the second-largest wine region in Nouvelle Aquitaine after Bordeaux. And while the most visited part of Dordogne is actually the Black Périgord, this beautiful region should not be overlooked. It is a land full of rich gastronomic traditions, old medieval villages, rivers, and impressive castles. Discovering little charming villages, getting lost in the narrow paved streets, and tasting local specialties at the weekly market is my favorite part about traveling in France and this part of Dordogne has plenty of that to offer. In this article, I gathered the most charming beautiful villages in Purple Périgord in Dordogne as well as some tips on what to see there. For my Bordeaux readers, most of the places mentioned in this list are located within less than two hours’ drive from Bordeaux so remember this list next time you’re in search of a fun day trip (you can also pin it – look on the pin at the bottom of the article).

If you are looking for more places to discover in the Southwest of France, join us at the Travel in the Southwest of France Facebook group

Here are some other day trip ideas from Bordeaux you might want to read about:

Eymet – a lively bastide town 

Eymet is a typical bastide town founded in the 13th century by Alphonse de Poitiers, Comte de Toulouse. Bastide towns, recognized by their arched central squares were created from the 12th to the 14th century in the southwest of France by both the French and English kings. These were new towns (or “villes neuves” in French) built to encourage settlements of empty areas. There are many of them in the old Gascony region with most being small sleepy towns. Eymet, however, is a rather lively little town with plenty of restaurants and a small cultural scene. This cute village is located about 25 km from Bergerac and 100 km from Bordeaux making it a fun day trip from Bordeaux as well. 

Eymet in Dordogne

You can read more about all you can see, eat and visit in and around Eymet in my article about my day trip to Eymet.

Issigeac – known for its market

Visiting a good market is a must when visiting this part of France and Issigeac is famous exactly for that. Every Sunday the charming village hosts one of Dordogne’s best markets, with tens of stalls carrying the best products this region has to offer spread over the town’s narrow alleyways. The village itself is a beautiful circular town that was able to preserve many of its historic 13th-18th century buildings and is thus worth a few hours trip even if you’re visiting it on a non-market day. If you do visit on Sundays be sure to get there before 11:00 as the center gets pretty busy with local flocking to the market. There are quite a few cute coffee places in the city center, for those of you who need a break in the middle of your shopping. Issigeac is located about 20 minutes’ drive from Bergerac.

Issigeac - one of the best markets in Dordogne
Sunday market in Issigeac

Monpazier – one of the most beautiful villages of France

Monpazier is one of the most impressive bastide towns in the southwest of France, labeled as one of France’s most beautiful villages. The town is considered a bastide model town as it stayed untouched since its creation in 1284. Today you can spot a few cafés, restaurants, and boutiques blending perfectly under the arches of the main square of Monpazier. A nice weekly market takes place at the main square every Thursday, a tradition they keep for the last 700 years. 

The Bastideum museum on the main square will help you discover the history of Monpazier, describing its special architecture, important events in its past as well as how life used to look there during the middle ages. Monpazier is located on the east side of Perigord Pourpre and can be combined with visits to either Bergerac or Sarlat. 

Limeuil – one of the most beautiful views

I dare to say that Limeuil is the most beautiful village in the region of purple Périgord, or at least the one with the most beautiful views. Like Monpazier, it was also named one of the most beautiful villages in France, so I guess I’m not the only one to think that way. Limeuil is a medieval town, built at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère rivers and used to be an important port town. You can spend a full day here, exploring the stone houses on the small side streets rising from the banks of the river to the top of the hill.

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in Limeuil is its beautiful panoramic garden (Jardins Panoramiques de Limeuil). Apart from the impressive landscapes of the garden, you’ll also get to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of both the Dordogne and Vézère Rivers. 

If you’re up to something more active you can go kayaking on one of the rivers.  Aquafun Canoes Dordogne, which is located on the port of Limeuil is one of the companies offering kayaking and canyoning in this region (see other kayaking options in my article about kayaking in Dordogne). If you find yourself going to Limeuil on a hot day, you can cross the Dordogne river to the other side and enjoy the nice little beach called Plage de Limeuil.

beautiful village in purple perigord, dordogne

Limeuil is situated on the border between the purple and black Perigord regions (Perigord Pourpre and Perigord noir) and so can be easily visited from anywhere in Dordogne. 

Lalinde – a magical spot on the river

Another beautiful village on the Dordogne river that’s worth a visit is Lalinde. Located about 30 minutes’ drive from Bergerac this picturesque town was actually the first English ruled bastide town in the region. The best day to visit Lalinde is on Thursdays when its famous market takes place (active since the 13th century!). Lalinde is also a great starting point for a hike or a biking trip along the river. 

Beaumont de Périgord – the center of Purple Périgord 

Beaumont de Périgord (which is now officially a part of  Beaumontois-en-Périgord) is a cute little village located in the heart of the Purple Périgord region. It’s a rather typical village for this area, with a central arched square and several streets adorned with pretty houses. Its most noticeable monument is the medieval fortified church, Église Saint-Laurent-et-Saint-Front. It’s a bit less lively than some of the other villages but still a very nice stop if it’s on your way. In the summer it hosts a great night market with live music every Monday. 

There are of course many more cute and picturesque villages in this part of Dordogne so this list is most definitely not exclusive. However, the few on this list are more preserved and lively than other villages in Périgord Pourpre and thus make for a great day trip. My biggest tip here would be to not skip tourist offices in this region, they usually have a map with all the most interesting monuments and buildings to see in the town. That will add some interest and depth to your visit which is important in a rich history region like the southwest of France.  

You can get quite a lot of information about tours and activities in these towns on the website of Bergerac tourism

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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The Dordogne river is one of the most popular destinations in France. The low flow in most parts of the river makes it ideal for a kayak or canoe trip as you can easily descend and visit many beautiful villages and impressive chateaux on the way. The enchanting scenery on the banks of the river includes picturesque villages like Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Domme as well as local flora and fauna near Bergerac. In this article I gathered the best places from which to start your kayaking and canoeing experience on the Dordogne river. There are of course many other good kayaking clubs on this immense river but I chose a few that are nicely spread around and offer good tours at reasonable prices. Enjoy and leave a comment if you have any other kayak and canoe clubs to add.

Visit the most beautiful villages in the Dordogne on a canoe

There’s a beautiful scenery along most parts of the Dordogne river, but there’s one region that will leave you truly speechless. The Perigord noir region is located in the south east of the Dordogne department and has one segment of the river that passes right through it. The area is known for its marvellous villages, labeled among the most beautiful in France, with several of them located on the river banks. If you have only one day to discover the villages and castles of Dordogne, canoeing in Perigord Noir is your best choice.

The most beautiful villages in France - by lost in Bordeaux
The most beautiful villages in France – by lost in Bordeaux

River canoe kayak

River canoe kayak is located at Saint Vincent de Cosse, just next to Beynac, which many consider as the most beautiful village in France. The company’s minibus will take you to your preferred starting point on the Dordogne, from which you’ll start discovering the amazing villages and chateaux on both sides of the river. They offer three different tours: a half day tour, a 4-5 hours tour and full day tours. The bus will bring you to different starting points according to the tour you choose. Departure times are 9h15 – 10h15 – 11h15 – 12h15 – 14h15 – 15h15 – 16h15. Open from April to September

During the summer it’s recommended to make reservations by email rita.leurs@wanadoo.fr or by phone : or
For prices check out their website.
Address: Le Bourg, 24220 Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse

Canoe Dordogne

If you’re visiting the beautiful village of La Roque Gageac, you should definitely consider experiencing it from the river side. Canoe Dordogne proposes a one hour trip near La Roque-Gageac, which was chosen as one of the most beautiful villages in France. You can also take longer tours, from 9 to 25 km and the company bus will take you to the appropriate starting point depending on the trip you choose to take. If you come with kids, they offer different canoes for 2 to 4 people, meaning that it could fit the whole family. Unlike many kayak operators who are open only during the summer season, this one is open all year long. 
Details for contact and reservation: canoedordogne@hotmail.fr or by phone at : 05 53 29 58 50. For prices check out their website.
Address: Le Bourg, 24250 La Roque-Gageac

Canoe sans Frontiere

Canoe sans frontiere offers you a special trail they call the ‘Circuit des Châteaux’. It’s a 19km route (about 4 hours on a canoe) in which you discover five beautiful castles located on the Dordogne river. You start your journey in front of Château de Grolejac, followed by Château de Montfort, Castelnaud-La-Chapelle, Château de Fayrac and finally the famous Château de Beynac. If 19 km is a bit too much for you, this club also offers shorter trips with plenty of beautiful scenery on the way. Open from April to the end of October.

Reservations by phone at 06 31 70 40 08. For more details and prices check out the website 
Address: Pont de, Grolejac, 24200 Carsac-Aillac

Canoeing on the Dordogne river
Canoeing on the Dordogne river by Lost in Bordeaux

Canoe Soleil Plage

If you want to combine canoeing on the Dordogne river with a beach day, this is the place to go. Canoe Sun Plage is located on the Caudon beach, about 6 km from Sarlat and Domme (two of France’s most beautiful villages). There are three itineraries to choose from, one covers the castles of Dordogne, the second emphasises nature and the third combines both. On the long tour you’ll get to see the châteaux of Castelnaud and Montfort and the beautiful villages of Domme and La Roque Gageac. They operate from April to October.

Contact details: canoesoleilplage@gmail.com or Phone : +33 (0)5 53 28 77 61 and +33 (0) 6 58 08 99 34
For more details check out their website.
Address: Plage de Caudon, 24200 Vitrac

Canoeing in the Dordogne around Bergerac

Another great location for water activities on the Dordogne river is the Pays de Bergerac, the western part of the Dordogne department. It’s a region full of beautiful bastide towns and vineyards. A canoe or a kayak can be a great way to discover the particular nature and architecture of this area. 

Limeuil by Lost in Bordeaux

Aquafun Canoes Dordogne

Aquafun Canoes Dordogne is located next to the  beautiful village of Limeuil situated on the confluence of the Dordogne and the Vezere rivers. They offer several trips on both rivers that can start at different locations, depending on how long you want to paddle. On the Dordogne river, you can make short tours (starting from 5km) from places like le buisson or whole day routes from La roque gageac (32km). You have plenty of options in between which makes this place very flexible and adaptable for families. You can also discover the Vezere river from locations like Le Bugue and La Roque St. Christophe (another amazing place to visit in Dordogne). You start the tours at the port of Limeuil, from which you are bussed to your location of choice, with all the trips ending back at the same port in Limeuil.  

Contact details: info@aquafundordogne.com or phone : 06 77 18 66 46
Open from May 1st to September 20th. For more details and prices check out their  website.
Address: Port de, 24510 Limeuil

Canoë Kayak Port Ste Foy

This small water sports club is located next to Sainte Foy la Grande, yet another charming town along the Dordogne river. The town is located right in between Bordeaux and Bergerac, making it a great option if you’re staying in Bordeaux (less than an hour drive). Every Saturday Sainte Foy la Grande hosts one of the biggest markets in the region, so this is the best day to visit. The club has a very friendly staff and offers Canoës, Kayaks and Stand Up Paddles. 

Contact details: Canoekayakportstefoy@orange.fr or Phone : 05 53 24 86 12

Open the whole year, prior reservations are required (apart from July – August when you can come anytime).  For more details go to their facebook page or their website (currently under construction). 
Address: Base nautique du Cléret, Allée Paul Ducou 33220 PORT-SAINTE-FOY

Pessac sur Dordogne 

Kayak and Canoe on the Dordogne
Kayak and Canoe on the Dordogne by Lost in Bordeaux

Another Canoeing club between Bordeaux and Bergerac is located on the riverfront of Pessac sur Dordogne. The town is not very interesting on its own but the club has a nice restaurant with an amazing view on the river. They offer two tours, one from Riberon (8km) and one from Eynesse (15km). The 8km tour is a good distance to do with kids, but it’s important to know that it doesn’t have a stop spot for a picnic. So if you want a more relaxed trail with a break, take the longer tour. Both trails start at Pessac sur Dordogne from which you are bussed to the chosen starting point.

Reservations by phone  06 63 82 34 53 / Open from mid June to mid September. For more details and prices check out their website 
Address: Les Quais, 33890 Pessac-sur-Dordogne

If you want more ideas for amazing day trips from Bordeaux you should check out my article about day trips which includes plenty of beautiful villages, history and nature. If wine is your things, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion and about the Bordeaux wine route in Medoc. Enjoy your stay!