The Perigord Noir is a region of outstanding natural beauty, stuffed full of ancient castles and fortifications, prehistoric painted caves, majestic rivers and numerous ‘beaux villages de France’. The markets feature some of the best in the country, with many designated as ‘marches de France’ Some of the nearby towns and villages such as Belves and Cadouin run weekly open-air evening food markets during the holiday season where you can sit back and sample the local specialities. For active holidaymakers, the Dordogne and Vézère rivers are full of kayaking and canoeing centres and for walkers there are many ‘pre-planned’ walks in the area. There’s also golf, fishing microlighting, horse-riding and tennis nearby. Activities for children are plentiful here ranging from tree-top climbing and prehistoric dinosaur parks to aqua parks and mountain biking. Food lovers are drawn to this gastronomic capital of France where you can sample local specialities such as confit of duck and goose, foie gras, truffles and walnut cakes. Local wines include Monbazillac, Bergerac and Pecharmant.
Special Places to Visit
Belves, the local town is a 10 minute drive away and is officially listed as one of the ‘plus beau villages de France’. Located on a rocky spur at the edge of the Besede forest, it has commanding views overlooking the Nauze valley. It is a lovely medieval town with a typical bastide layout and centre including a preserved 15th century market hall.
10 minutes in the other direction is Monpazier, “The Best of the Bastides”. A perfectly preserved architectural wonder, with food festivals, outdoor music on market days, and even a racecourse.
Other towns well worth a visit include: Sarlat (the market hub of the region), Beaumont, Cadouin (with its UNESCO heritage Abbey), Domme, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac and St Leon-sur-Vézère.
Castles and troglodyte villages abound in this area and include: the Roque St Christophe, Village Troglodytique de la Madeleine and castles: Beynac, Castelnaud, Les Milandes and Biron. There are over 150 prehistoric sites along the Vézère river alone, with the best know being Lascaux II. Others include: Font-de-Gaume and Combarelles in Les Eyzies, Rouffignac and Bara-Bahau. Geological treasures such as Gouffre de Proumyessac and are a wonder to behold, featuring ‘cathedrals of crystal’ with majestic stalactites and stalactites. For garden lovers, the Marqueyssac gardens are a must see with their intricate and beautiful topiary. For a Telegraph guide to the region see Dordogne attractions