Your perfect 3-days travel itinerary in the Dordogne Valley

The Dordogne is the quintessential French destination offering the perfect blend of culture, nature, typical stone villages, busy farmers markets, plenty of good food and wine....basically a dream coming through.

It is also the area where the ancient Cro-Magnon men left their traces many centuries ago creating the most peculiar examples of rock art in the world.

With such a rich heritage, and so many things to do and see, it may be difficult to organise your visit and fit everything in, so we decided to put together a few suggested itineraries to give you some ideas and inspiration depending on the time you have available.

This is our recommendations for a 3 days itinerary.

3 DAYS IN THE DORDOGNE



(we have to admit that it's not much but you can still have a taste of this beautiful region).

Day One

No doubt that your first day in the Dordogne should start with the exploration of the medieval city centre of Sarlat. Possibly choose to do it on a Wednesday or Saturday that are market days, when the city livens up with the hustle and bustle of the local producers and the people browsing the stalls looking for delicacies.

Sarlat Market
Sarlat Market
Start your visit from Place de la Liberté; it is a pleasure just to walk around and get lost. Explore the little alleys. Enjoy the perfectly preserved perigourdine architecture, the golden stones, the decorated portals, the beautiful towers and the Reinassance windows. Don't miss the many small niches with the Virgin Mary statues...
And after all that turn and turn around often with your nose up, get a rest, stop in a cafe or a little restaraunt, have lunch and take your time to feel the atmosphere, feel Sarlat!

Sarlat, le Badaud
Le Badaud statue, Sarlat

Later in the afternoon, enter the Manoir de Gisson for an experience back in time and end up the day with dinner in town.
 
Day Two

Once you come to the Dordogne you should devote a day to the Vézère Valley, and there is no better way to start it then with a visit to the Lascaux caves. They are close to the village of Montignac and, on your way to the caves make a little detour through the villages of Saint Geniès and St Amand de Coly.

Saint Geniès
Saint Geniès

Saint Amand de Coly
Saint Amand de Coly
Once in Montignac follow directions for Lascaux IV. This is the exact replica of the original Lascaux site (that cannot be visited anymore in order to preserve it) and has been designed to evoke the sense of the prehistoric rock shelters for which the Dordogne is famous. The visit of the caves should normally take around 2/3 hours.

After that, follow the Vézère on your way back to Sarlat and take the time for a stop with lunch at one of the most beautiful villages of France, Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère.

Your next stop should now be Les Eyzies, where you will find the two small (though original and extremely fascinating) painted caves of Font de Gaume and Combarelles or the Pôle International de la Préhistoire (in case no tickets are available for the caves). 
In summer you may rather prefer a canoe ride - that can be rented in St Leon - instead of visiting the Les Eyzies caves especially because tickets for these caves cannot be booked in advance an usually ends pretty soon in the morning. 

Vézère
Vézère river

Dinner in Marquay at the Ferme du Brusquand for the perfect bucolic experience.

Day Three

At this point you have not yet seen the river that gives the name to the region...so this should be the day you encounter the Dordogne river and get to know the valley around.

From Sarlat you should direct south towards Montfort and its cingle, then following the river course, visit the medieval bastide of Domme, and the elegant village of La Roque Gageac.

La Roque Gageac
La Roque Gageac
Next stop will be the Jardin de Marqueyssac a terrace overlooking the Dordogne.
Have lunch in Beynac. A stroll along this lovely village up to the castle will help digestion and will get you ready for the last unmissable visit of the day, the castle among the 1001 of the region, that you should absolutely not miss no matter what: the Chateau de Castelnaud with its Middle Ages museum and its reconstructed catapults. Don't miss the view and the sunset from there...it will be the best way to say goodbye to this amazing area of France!
Castelnaud
Chateau de Castelnaud
Insider tips:
1. There is little or no public transport in the area, so in order to move around, it is suggested to rent a car.
2. Find an accommodation in Sarlat or in the neighborhood. From here it is easy to move around. Check out our B&B for more info.

Le Casse-Noix Sarlat
Le Casse-Noix B&B Sarlat

3. Sarlat tourist office is a great place to start your exploration. There you will find a city plan and knowledgeable staff that will try to answer your questions.
4. Book your Lascaux tickets online in advance. Unfortunately this is not possible for Font de Gaume and Combarelles.


Comments

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