villages in the dordogne


If you’re planning a visit to Dordogne, you’re in for a treat. A department located in southwest France, Dordogne is home to some of the most alluring, beautiful villages and towns in the whole country. In fact, 10 of Dordogn’s villages are labeled as the most beautiful villages in France by the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France association. And even this impressive number doesn’t come close to the actual number of stunning villages and towns Dordogne has to offer. 

In this article, you’ll read about some of my favorite places to visit in Dordogne – quaint, enchanting fairytale villages. You’ll get personalized recommendations about the towns you simply can’t miss, including the ones on the official list but also some hidden gems.
If you struggling to decide where to base yourself on your trip in the region, check out my article about where to stay in Dordogne.

Beautiful villages and towns in Dordogne, France
Beautiful Villages in Dorodgne – Lost in Bordeaux

A quick note: this article doesn’t mention Périgueux and Bergerac, because while both delightful and worth seeing, they’re Dordogne’s main cities and don’t feel as cozy as the rest of the villages mentioned.

Before we dive in, here’s my first tip: grab a map from the local tourist office so you can locate highlights like historical buildings and markets at the beginning of your visit. Also, if only have a few days in the region, think about taking a tour that will take you to some of the most beautiful villages in Dorddogne. This half-day tour, for example, will offer you a visit to Beynac and Domme and a  boat ride on traditional gabarre at La Roque Gageac.

If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to read my guide to Dordgone with kids first. And if beautiful villages are your thing, check out my article about the most beautiful villages in the Bordeaux region (Gironde).

Fun fact: Dordogne was historically called Périgord and is still referred to as such in colloquial or touristic terms. The department is divided into four parts, named by color after each one’s resource. Curious to know, what each color means, keep reading 🙂

The beautiful villages of Perigord Noir – the Sarlat region in Dordogne

Perigord Noir (black), named for the dark oak forests and rich soil, and the decadent truffles found there, is where most of the stunning villages of Dordogne (and maybe even France!) are located. No visit to Dordogne is complete without visiting this extraordinary area. In this article, you can find quite a lot of stuff to do in the Perigord Noir area.


Sarlat-la-Canéda is one of France’s most famous and photographed medieval towns. Known for its incredible architecture, food, and history, Sarlat is located just north of the Dordogne River.

The town is thought to have originated around the 11th century and many buildings still standing today are from the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. It’s a history aficionado’s paradise! But also a foodie heaven with an incredible about of restaurants and gastronomic shops.

I have a full article dedicated to visiting Sarlat with plenty of recommendations for what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Sarlat. However, here I just wanted to summarize some of the best things to do in this magical town.

Best things to do Sarlat , Dordogne
A perfect trip to Sarlat – by Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss in Sarlat:

Head to the Sarlat market, the biggest and best food market in all of Southwest France! On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the city center comes alive with bustling market vendors and smells of food fill the air.

Locals and tourists from all over come to enjoy the cheerful atmosphere and colorful stalls adorning the lovely streets of this medieval town.

If you happen to visit Sarlat in winter, don’t miss the famous truffle and foie gras (rich goose or duck liver spread) market, which takes place between December and February. You can watch a truffle dog at work, sample the region’s best foie gras, and taste Bergerac Duras wines. Come with an empty stomach because it’s a decadent-tasting expedition! You can see the full list of Dordogne truffle markets taking place from December to the end of January here.

La Roque-Gageac

La Roque-Gageac is situated 12km south of Sarlat on the banks of the Dordogne River. It’s one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see, it’s thus doesn’t come as a surprise that La Roque was labeled as one of France’s Plus beaux villages (most beautiful villages).

La Roque-Gageac - one of the most beauitul village in Dordogne
La Roque-Gageac – Lost in Bordeaux

This fairytale-like village is built into the limestone cliffs cascading down into the river and goes back as far as the 12th century. Once a bustling river port town for regional trade, today it’s one of the most popular touristic destinations in the Dordogne thanks to its medieval architecture and natural beauty. It’s one of the best day trips from Sarlat.

Most of the kayaking trips on the Dordogne River pass through this La Roque-Gageac, which is another great way to explore it. Even if you don’t have a full day to dedicate to visiting the village, you can make a stop there during a kayak outing. Find out more about kayaking on the Dordodge river here.

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

What not to miss La Roque-Gageac

La Roque-Gageac is just a perfect village to wander around and you can have a perfect day there even if you spent it entirely outside. However there’s a place nearby, I must recommend.

The gardens of the Château de Marqueyssac, a mere 5-minute drive from La Roque-Gageac, are an unforgettable experience. Magical green mazes and 150,000 neatly manicured boxwood shrubs are surrounded by waterfalls and panoramic views. It’s one of the most family-friendly places in the Dordogne with picnic tables and playgrounds for kids, too. See ticket prices and opening hours here.

If you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner, La Roque is home to one of the best restaurants in the Dordogne region, called O’Plaisir des Sens. The family restaurant offers an exquisite menu of regional specialties with a touch of modern cuisine. It has been recommended by the Michelin Guide, however, it’s not a starred restaurant so it’s still affordable.


Beynac-et-Cazenac is possibly the most famous of all the villages in the Dordogne region and as one would expect, is also included in the exclusive group of the most beautiful villages of France. Its breathtaking views, yellow-stoned houses, and cobblestoned streets soaked in history make it one of the most visited destinations in the Dordogne.

Beynac et Cazenac on of the most beautiful villages in Dordogne
Beynac et Cazenac – by Lost in Bordeaux

The village is home to the famous Château de Beynac nestled between a steep limestone cliff and the magnificent Dordogne river. The castle is so well-preserved and boasts such magnificent views, movie directors often choose it as the backdrop for their films. One famous movie that used Beynac as a backdrop is “Chocolat” (2000), starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.

One of the best ways to start your visit to Beynac is from the riverside. Rent a Kayak in the nearby village of Cenac and be amazed by the stunning view of the cliffs and the castle as you approach Beynac. Kayaking is a very popular attraction in the Dordogne in the summer, so be sure to book in advance

Beynac is also home to a beautiful port which was once a very active trade port accommodating ships transforming goods to Bordeaux. Today it has become a leisure port where you can take a guided tour on one of the traditional boats, called les Gabarres. 

What not to miss:

A visit to Château de Beynac is an absolute must! The medieval fortress is famous for its defensive architecture which was mostly built in the 12th century. Just a warning for people with little kids or mobility issues, the streets of Beynac are very stiff and hard to climb so be sure to park on the top of the village near the castle.

Head to the top of the village and look for the cross. There you’ll find the best backdrop for a photo souvenir, with views stretching over at least five different nearby castles! That alone should tell you how strategically important Beynac has been throughout history. 

As you look out across the river, straight ahead you’ll see the extraordinary Castelnaud-la-Chapelle and its castle. Yet another village under the label of “Les plus beaux village de France“.

The Castel of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
The castle of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle near Sarlat – Lost in Bordeaux

While it is indeed a stunning village, I did not include it on this list because it’s tiny, and the most interesting thing to see there is the chateau itself. If visiting Château de Castelnaud is on your list, then you should also spend some time walking around, otherwise, I think there are more interesting villages to visit in the Dordogne.


Next on my list is Domme, a slightly less touristy village but not a less charming one. It’s adored by locals and expats living in the region for its peaceful charm, beautiful architecture, and dreamy views.

Domme - the village with the most beautiful views in Dordogne
The View from Domme – Lost in Bordeaux

Domme also falls on the official list of France’s most beautiful villages and has been well preserved through the centuries. Dating back to the 13th century, Domme was once a strategic defense lookout during the Hundred Years War between France and England. Today the Bastide town is a captivating voyage back in time.

You can take a walk under the fortress arches, stroll around the ramparts and explore the stunning streets with almost golden color houses. The village, located on the right banks of the Dordogne River, has one of the more impressive views over the Valley, so getting to the top of the village is a must.

The stunning houses in Domme - a village in the Dordogne region
Domme – Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss in Domme:

One of the most impressive monuments in Domme is the entrance gate to the village, La Porte des Tours. In the past, the two half towers have served as the guards’ rooms, and for a short few years in the 14th century were used as a prison. During their years there the proisoners have engraved messages on the prison’s walls. Today you can still see the engrave graffitis if you take the les-mysterieux-graffiti visit in the towers. 

La Porte des Tours - one of the most impressive buildings in Domme, the Dordogne region
La Porte des Tours in Domme – Lost in Bordeaux

The village is also home to Les Grotte de Domme, a cave with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, draperies, and water mirrors. If you have time to visit other caves of that type I’d recommend Grottes de Maxange or Grottes de Padirac. However, if your time is limited and you’re visiting Domme, this cave is a fun one-hour activity. 

If you’re there on a Thursday, check out the local market and get your fill of local meats, cheeses, and wines. Otherwise, you can enjoy the many restaurants situated around the main square of the village, Place de la Halle.


Moving away from the Dordogne River for a minute, we’ve now landed on the banks of the Vézère. This delightful little village sits snugly in a curve of the river and is full of quaint, meandering lanes and charismatic old houses. 

Strolling the streets of the charming village you’ll find a few nice art boutiques and galleries as well as a nice selection of places to eat. If you’re looking for a bite to eat in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, I can personally recommend the restaurant La Poste for a lovely meal.

Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère - a lunch in a charming setting
Stop for lunch in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère – Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss in Saint Léon sur Vézère:

The small but perfectly constructed 12th-century Roman-style church has a fascinating domed ceiling and bell tower with arched windows. In front of the church, you’ll find picnic spots and beaches along the river, perfect for a family lunch. 

The Romanesque Church of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère – Lost in Bordeaux

A visit to the Manoir de la Salle is also highly recommended. The impressive 15th-century house and its large dungeon are both open for visits.

The village is located a 5-minute drive away is La Roque St. Christophe, an immense limestone wall 300 feet high and more than half a mile long with prehistoric cave dwellings. Ancient caves carved into the rock still house prehistoric wall paintings today. A visit there is highly recommended and is a fun activity to do with kids


Further North on the banks of the Vézère lies Terrasson-Lavilledieu, a town full of hidden surprises. It’s one of the biggest towns of Perigord Noir (although still relatively small, with a population of about 6k). Many tourists visiting the Dordogne region skip this charming town, but in my opinion it’s one of the most special towns in the region. 

Terrasson-Lavilledieu - one of the most beautiful towns in the Dordogne
Terrasson-Lavilledieu – Lost in Bordeaux

The town is divided by the Vézère river into two parts, the modern one and the old city, which is where you should be focusing on. Like many other towns/ villages on this list, the old town of Terrasson is built on a hill, and stolling around requires to be in shape. Bit it’s so pretty that it worth the effort. 

Atop the hill above the village sits an ancient church and down by the river, an impeccably-preserved 15th-century bridge. The heart of the old town, Place Bouquier, boasts incredible architecture and nearby, one of the village’s twelve cluzeaux – ancient caves cut into the rock.

What not to miss in Terrasson-Lavilledieu:

Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire are some of the most visited gardens in the Dorodgne, and it’s easy to see why. With magnificent water features, contemporary art, and panoramic views over the valley below, no trip to Terrasson is complete without stopping by these magical gardens.

If you’re visiting on a Thursday, you’ll be in the middle of the action on market day. The riverside fills up with food vendors and in the summer months there are stalls all the way across the bridge to the opposite bank. You’ll get to try all the best local delicacies, like walnuts, foie gras, cheeses, wines, and duck.

The market of Terrasson-Lavilledieu – Lost in Bordeaux

One of the more special parts of this town in the village of Craftsmen, Un village d’artisans d’art, located on the upper part of the old town. You can find around twenty art workshops hidden in the stunning alleys of the city, from a wood turner to a cutler, a glass blower and more. You can get a map with all the workshops in the Tourist office. 


This village might not be on the official list of the most beautiful villages, but it’s on my personal list of places to see. Filled with charming streets and impeccably-preserved old stone buildings, Saint-Cyprien is the perfect spot for a day trip in the Périgord Noir. The village offers a lovely historic center and sweeping views across the Dordogne Valley.

Saint-Cyprien - a hidden gem in the heart of the Dordogne region
Stunning views from the top of Saint-Cyprien – Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss in Saint-Cyprien:

The fabulous weekly market is a must-see. Every Sunday, locals flood the traverse, the narrow street that crosses the whole town, to shop for fresh produce and stop for coffee at the cafés. 

You should also see the medieval town center with architecture typical of the region and an ancient abbey. 

To get there you’ll walk up narrow, steep lanes, almost like the Montmartre district in Paris. From up there, the views over the Dordogne River are breathtaking.


South of Perigord Noir you’ll stumble upon another one of France’s official most beautiful villages, Belvès. The village is known for its well-preserved architectural treasures and vast views over forests in the valley down below. 

In fact, the word Belvès literally means ‘beautiful view’ in the Occitan language (previously used in the region). This postcard-like village looks out over the Nauze stream and is sometimes referred to as the “Town of Seven Bell Towers.” 

The beautiful streets of Belves
Belves – Lost in Bordeaux

The tourist office of Belves offers guided tours of the town as well as booklets that allow one to discover the village in a fun way with kids. 

What not to miss in Belvès:

The town has a number of monuments worth visiting that will transport you back to the Middle Ages. Among them are le Chateau de Belvès (Hôtel de Commarque), a 13th-century church called Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, and the 13th-century tower named Tour des Filhols.

One of the highlights of Belves is the 15th-century covered market located on the main square Place des Armes. The market really comes to life on Saturday mornings for fresh bread, vegetables, nuts, and cheeses. On other days of the week, you can also enjoy plenty of restaurants located around the square.


Nestled in the Vézère valley lies this fairytale-like village, home to what is known as the most impressive fortified church in all of the Périgord. The town is named after Saint Amand, a recluse who was holed up in a cave in the hillside during the 6th century. The yellow stone homes with their grey lauze roofs underneath the imposing church tower’s shadow make for a very pretty picture.

Saint Amand de Coly - one of the most beautiful villages in France
Saint Amand de Coly – Lost in Bordeaux

Saint Amand de Coly too is labeled as one of the most beautiful villages in France. However you should know that it’s a tiny village with just a few streets around the church. You’ll finish your visit there in less than an hour, that’s why I recommend combining it with a visit to Terrasson-Lavilledieu or to the Lascaux caves. 

What not to miss in Saint Amand de Coly:

Sit down for a coffee across the road from the church to take in the magnificent views, then take a walk inside. If you’re feeling adventurous, there is a hiking path that goes around the church and into the countryside.

The most beautiful villages in Dordogne – Perigord Vert 

The northern part of Dordogne, Périgord Vert (green), is quieter than the Périgord Noir but still has amazing places to offer. This region is filled with lush meadows and a few splendid villages to visit.


This idyllic village on an island in the Dronne river with its majestic abbey is a must-see in the northern Périgord. A famously charming town loved by tourists, Brantôme is busiest in July and August. The magnificent bell tower, dating back to the 11th century, is one of the oldest in all of France. You can get a great view of the village from a boat if you do a short river cruise!

Brantôme - the most charming town of Perigord vert
Brantôme – Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss in Brantôme:

Behind the abbey we see today are ancient man-made caves carved into the limestone cliff where the monks used to reside. Inside the troglodyte caves you’ll discover incredibly detailed stone carvings called “The Last Judgment” and the Saint-Sicarius Fountain, known to contain miraculous properties in its water. Visits are open all year long.


This medieval village, another one on the official list of France’s most beautiful, is an architectural gem. Situated on the Côle river with a fairytale bridge crossing, it’s a charming stop during your visit to the Périgord.

What not to miss:

Château de la Marthonie dates back to the 12th century and is bound to take your breath away. You can do a guided tour from July to September and dive into the history of Saint-Jean-de-Côle and its surroundings. And don’t forget to stop for a photo on the old bridge over the Côle.

Every May, the Saint-Jean-de-Côle is hosting a beautiful flowers festival. If you’re doing a day trip to Perigord Vert, try to combine it with the lovely town of Thiviers. The city has a great market on Sunday mornings.

The most beautiful villages around Bergerac

Périgord Pourpre is the unofficial name of southwestern Dordogne, with its capital being Bergerac. Purple Perigord is the second-largest wine region in Nouvelle Aquitaine, after Bordeaux, and so the color of the grapes is where it draws its name from.

I have an article with all my recommendations about the best villages to visit around Bergerac. But if you’re short on time and want my recommendations in a nutshell, here are some of the most pleasant and stunning villages to visit around Bergerac, the Purple Périgord.


This small medieval village dates back to Roman times and is located about 20km from Bergerac. The stunning ancient architecture that characterizes the town center was built in a circular design. Many of the historic 13th- to 18th-century buildings have been well preserved, making for a wonderful day trip.

Issigeac - one of the best markets in Dorogne
Issigeac market – Lost in Bordeaux

Issigiac is known to be one of the best markets in Nouvelle Aquitaine and many people are taking the route every Sunday to enjoy the market spirit. From what’s usually a small quiet village, Issigeac transforms into a bustling marketplace where you can shop, taste, explore, and people-watch. After 11 am (especially in the summer period) the town gets very busy and the waiting line for every stall is getting long. So be sure to get there early for a better experience. 


While most of the ”Plus beaux villages of Dordogne” are located in the black Perigord, here in Périgord Pourpre there are two honorable representatives on the exclusive list. The beautiful village of Limeuil is one of them. 

Built at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère rivers, this medieval town boasts one of the absolute best views in all of Dordogne. Wandering through the narrow streets that meander up the hill from the river banks will transport you back in time as you gaze upon the delightful old houses.

Limeuil - one of the mist beautiful villages in Purple Perigord
Limeuil – Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss:

Limeuil is home to one of the most stunning panoramic gardens in the region, Jardins Panoramiques de Limeuil. On top of the impressive scenery inside the garden, you’ll also get to enjoy a sweeping view of both the Dordogne and Vézère Rivers. 
For adventurers who want to see the village from a different angle, take a kayak tour on the river. 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.


Monpazier is one of the most impressive bastide towns in the southwest of France, labeled as one of France’s most beautiful villages. A slice of paradise for history fans, the town has remained practically untouched since its creation in 1284. 

The few new cafés and boutiques match the ancient architecture perfectly and are a great spot from which to enjoy the view of the village’s main square.

Monpazier - a well preserved bastide town in Dorodgne
Monpazier – Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss Monpazier:

The Bastideum museum, set in the building that housed a former convent on the main square, is not to be missed. Here you’ll discover the history of Monpazier, its special architecture, and important historical events, and you’ll see how life used to look there during the Middle Ages. It’s also one of the most interesting places to visit with kids around Bergerac.

If it’s your first time visiting Dordogne you might also want to read these articles:

Where to stay in Dordogne
What to do and where to stay in Sarlat
The most beautiful villages near Bergerac
A day trip to Eymet in the Dordogne region
One day in Bordeaux – in case you decided to do a day trip to Bordeaux
Day trip to Saint Emilion

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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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

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!