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).
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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.
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.
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.
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: