The Dordogne is one of France’s five great rivers, as well as one of the most picturesque parts of France. Few regions sum up the attractions of France better than the Dordogne. With its rich food, impressive history, château-studded countryside and picturesque villages. Today it’s known to the French as the Périgord, and is divided into four colour-coded areas: Périgord Pourpre (purple) for the winegrowing regions around Bergerac. Périgord Blanc (white) after the limestone hills around the capital Périgueux. Périgord Vert (green) for the forested regions of the north and ofcourse the most beautiful one of them: the Périgord Noir (black) for the dark oak forests around the Vézère Valley and Sarlat-la-Canéda. This is where Petite Vallée is based.
The Perigord Noir with its rivers, limestone cliffs and forested hillsides is the perfect location for the active among us or for kids with energy to burn. Enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities in one of the most picturesque landscapes in the world.
The Dordogne is a true canoeists paradise. With hundreds of kilometres of meandering river, you’ll paddle through forested valleys, past ancient villages, and beneath chateaux perched high on limestone cliffs. There are canoe rental companies all across the Dordogne. For the full experience, rent a canoe for a full day and take the time to stop for swims and a picnic on one of the many beaches along the river.
Hiking is a great way to experience the Dordogne. It gives you the chance to breath in the fragrant air, watch out for wildlife and chat to locals along the way. Whenever the trail dips down to the river, there’s an opportunity for a refreshing swim. There are several great walking trails from the property into the forest, to the guarded beach in Coux-et-Bigaroque or to the village itself. All trails are well marked, but you can also pick up maps of the walking trails from tourist offices.
The Dordogne’s gentle rolling hills are criss-crossed with hundreds of kilometres of waymarked cycling routes and trails. Minor roads and gravel tracks provide plenty of opportunity for leisurely cycle touring. And, forested valleys provide mountain bikers with superb terrain to explore. If you don’t feel like bringing your own bike, there is a bike rental nearby. They also deliver bicycles to Petite Vallée
The beautiful landscape is dotted with fairytale like castles & caves. There is plenty of opportunity to dive into the rich history of the Périgord Noir. Villages like Marqueyssac, Milandes, Castelnaud and Beynac all have beautiful châteaux, each with their own story to discover. With Roman origins and an abundance of architectural treasures. Within this region the Vézère valley has a wealth of prehistoric sites with painted or engraved caves, in particular a series of 15 listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Home to lively markets and fine cuisine, the Dordogne Valley is synonymous with some of the most acclaimed foods in France. Whether it be bought from a market stall or served in one of the many great restaurants or bistros, the region’s fabulously flavoursome food is enough to tickle your tastebuds. With local specialties like foie gras, truffles, Bergerac wines, strawberries, walnuts, goats cheese and porcini mushrooms.
All summer long, visitors get the chance to nibble their way around farmer’s markets. Every town has it’s own market and you can find one on every single day of the week.
The Dordogne’s summer night markets are a convivial way of meeting the locals and checking out the region’s specialties! How does it work? Buy your food from the local farmers and producers on the stalls and cook it on the shared barbecues or brick ovens. Live music, dancing and wine are also usually on the programme.
The Dordogne Valley is home to an enchanting mix of picture-perfect villages that have retained their French countryside charm. We have listed a few we think you shouldn’t miss. All of these are within 30 minutes from Petite Vallée.
Beynac-et-Cazenac (20min drive), which is built on cliffs above the Dordogne river. One of the Plus Beaux Villages of France. With its creamy-coloured stone houses that line steep, cobbled lanes. At the top is a castle that was the scene of battles in the Middle Ages. The fortress is one of the best-preserved in the region and its sweeping views over the Dordogne Valley make the climb all the more worthwhile.
La Roque-Gageac (25 min drive) mainly consists of a row of yellow-stone houses between the River Dordogne to the front and overhanging cliffs to the back, La Roque-Gageac occupies a dramatic and much-photographed setting. The village enjoys its own microclimate, thanks to the sunny, south-facing position and the cliffs protecting it from cold northern winds. Palm trees and banana plants grow in a tropical garden, which you can marvel at along with several troglodyte caves, as you climb up the narrow streets towards the cliffs.
Domme (30 min drive). The bastide village of Domme is perched high on a cliff and retains much of its medieval fortifications. A large, double-towered entrance gate leads into the steep main street lined by stone houses, many of which are decorated with balconies and external staircases. At the top of the hill lies the town square, where an open market hall nestles among a cluster of cafés. Order a café crème and enjoy it on a terrasse overlooking the Dordogne river.
And many more…
For more info about the region check out the Perigord Tourism website.
Impasse Fontaine d'Amour
24220 Coux-et-Bigaroque Dordogne