The Dordogne, a beautiful and much-acclaimed town, is named after the river of the same name. On both sides of the river – at 490 kilometers one of the longest in France – stretches a holiday region par excellence. Discover the most beautiful sights of the Dordogne while camping in Dordogne (camping Dordogne) and Sarlat (camping Sarlat).
The mother of all holiday regions in France: the Dordogne. The vast green landscape through which the river of the same name meanders is a feast for the eyes. The Dordogne is one of the most popular and iconic holiday destinations in Europe. Not surprising, with more than a thousand castles, prehistoric finds, and impressive valleys. Who knows the murals of Lascaux, the medieval beauty of Sarlat, and the rapids of the Dordogne river? A visit to the 13th-century bastide village of Monpazier with the medieval arcade houses and castles of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle should not be missed. These are the most beautiful sights of the Dordogne.
Honey-yellow medieval Sarlat
The charm of the Dordogne is that the region has almost skipped the industrial revolution. Likewise in Sarlat. This medieval village fell into disrepair after the 16th century but was restored to its former glory in the 1960s. The main street, Rue de la République, leads you through the pedestrianized downtown area with more than 250 Renaissance houses. The houses in Sarlat are built with the characteristic honey-yellow limestone, which exudes warmth, especially at the end of the day. The cafes and restaurants adapt to this by covering the terrace tables in red, yellow, and orange.
The heart of Sarlat is Place de la Liberté, a square surrounded by mansions. In the center of the square is the former Sainte-Marie church, which was converted into a market hall by the French architect Jean Nouvel. Take a glass elevator up the market hall to arrive at a cube-shaped lookout with panoramic views over Sarlat.
The castles of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
The Dordogne is bursting with castles. You kill two birds with one stone during a visit to the town of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. Here, two 12th-century castles face each other, rising high above the Dordogne River and glaring menacingly at each other. Both castles leave a haunting impression from the ground floor, with the heavy walls and towers set against the rock walls of the valley. During the Hundred Years War Castelnaud Castle was in the hands of the English and Beynac Castle was in the hands of the French. Daily battles between the two armies were the order of the day.
Beynac Castle had an infamous reputation in the Middle Ages. The story goes that the barons of the castle were so cruel that the castle was nicknamed ‘Satan’s Ark’. Their victims were tortured and imprisoned in the dungeon, overlooking the free life around Castelnaud Castle. An additional torment: freedom was visible, but not attainable.
Cadouin: the pilgrimage village
The village of Cadouin does not have much to offer, but there is a well-known abbey. The abbey, founded in 1115, is hidden in the Bessède forest. In the past, the abbey has been frequently visited by pilgrims because of the presence of a piece of cloth that is said to have been part of a robe of Jesus. In 1993, however, researchers discovered that the piece of cloth did not belong to Jesus at all – it dates from the 11th century AD. ch. After this revelation, the Bishop of Périgueux forbade further visits by pilgrims and the abbey fell into disrepair.
In 1998 the abbey gained a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List and was restored. Characteristic is the beautiful combination of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with the impressive cloister with decorated arches as an example. The abbey is open daily for visitors and the famous robes can still be admired.