Excideuil is a charming town with an attractive town square, and a castle dating back to the 12th century. It is in the northern part of the Dordogne department, about 30 kilometres south of Jumilhac and 15 kilometres from Hautefort.
The town originally developed around a 10th century monastery, in a peaceful setting in the valley of the River Loue. There are a couple of reasons to visit Excideuil, apart from the interesting old-town itself with its gothic church and 16th century houses:
The first is the Thursday market, when the village leaps to life with reputedly the busiest market in the region.
One of the oldest buildings in the Dordogne department is in Excideuil. This is the Hospital and probably dates from the 12th century when the building was a convent, the Couvent des Cordeliers. It can definitely be traced back to the 14th century. It is a very attractive building and is now a retirement home.
Walking uphill from here you get to the main town square of Excideuil and the very attractive church which is all that remains of the 10th century monastery. Its lovely stone doorway dates to the 15th century when quite a lot of work was carried out on the church. Inside the church the altar dates back to the 12th century and belonged originally to the Couvent des Cordeliers.
The town square also has a fountain and is surrounded by lovely houses. Wandering around the streets leading from the square are a large number of imposing houses dating back to a period of wealth particularly in the 17 and 18th centuries.
Brantome is a very beautiful and interesting town sometimes known as the Venice of the Dordogne. The town has a nice mix of medieval and renaissance architecture to admire and is classed as one of 'les Plux Beaux Detours' in France.
The Benedictine Abbey on the river's edge is superb and this along with the old stone bridge, weir and pretty mill now turned into a splendid hotel and restaurant all make for a very photogenic scene. The town is situated on the river Dronne, that encircles a large part of the town, and the steep wooded slopes around the town add to its attraction. The river is calm and gentle at this point and in season is covered with water lilies and sheltered by weeping willows.
It is very pleasant to walk along the edge of the river and through the river-side gardens. Canoes can be hired for a relaxing glide along the river and a visit on market day adds to the attraction.
Brantome really is one of the most attractive towns of the Dordogne area and well worth a trip.
This very pretty village on the Vézère River is most famous for being home to the Lascaux Caves. However as well as visiting the caves, Montignac is also well worth a visit.
The town has an attractive stone bridge and balconied houses along the river front and the Chateau de Montignac, once a very important castle in the region, now stands largely in ruins.
As you are walking round you will find plenty of nice bars and restaurants to stop for refreshments, and shops for those holiday gifts. This town is well worth a visit in between cave adventures!
Bergerac sits on the banks of the Dordogne River. It is among the largest towns in the region and is classified as a town of Art and History. The ‘old town’ has some lovely streets and squares to explore, and a variety of boutique type shops. The Place Pelissiere is a lovely square edged with cafes and restaurants and always full of flowers.
During the summer months there are regular concerts which take place in the cloister of Maison de Vins de Bergerac and in December there is usually a small but good quality Christmas Market here with products from local artisans.
Up from the old town, there is a newer, more modern part to Bergerac, with more conventional streets and a larger range of 'modern' shops.
After exploring Bergerac you can take an organised boat trip up the river to see the town from a different perspective. Bergerac is an important wine growing area with a selection of good wines.
The 'capital' of the Dordogne department. Perigueux sits of the banks of the Isle River. Of the large towns in the region this is one of our favourites. The architecture is amazing and the setting is wonderful. If you want a great day out in a town with a buzz Perigueux is the place to go, morning, noon or night. There are countless shops, bars and restaurants to choose from, a great day will be had by all.
Sarlat is possibly the most famous town in the region and one of the most renowned and visited in France. Architecturally it is quite simply staggering. The old town, dating from both medieval and renaissance times is a pleasure to visit with plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes to visit. This is a must. Words cannot do this gem justice. Please go and experience it for yourself. The Saturday morning market is outstanding and a wonderful experience. It also has a large market at Christmas time, offering activities, gifts and of course vin chaud (hot wine).
Beynac et Cazenac
The pretty village of Beynac spreads along the northern bank of the Dordogne river, and up the hill behind, reaching the castle that stands poised above the village and river. The narrow lanes wind up through the traditional Dordogne white and yellow stone buildings - best seen around sunrise if you are up and about early! On the rivers edge you get some lovely views with the river, often full of canoes, a long stretch of wonderful stone houses and rising above the village the imposing chateau of Beynac.
La Roque Gageac
La Roque Gageac is one of France's most beautiful villages. In a stunning position on the north bank of the Dordogne River, and backed by a steep hills and cliffs, with little to suggest that much has changed there in the last 300 years. La Roque-Gageac is truly the perfect picture postcard village. Boat trips available.
Domme is another villiage in the area that is classified as one of the most beautiful in France and occupies a splendid position high above the Dordogne river. The village is lovely and the views are a bonus as is the cave system that sits right underneath the main square.
St Jean de Cole
St Jean de Cole is a charming village with ochre coloured houses, including many half-timbered ones with lovely tiled roofs. Indeed the roofs once won the ‘finest roofs in France’ competition !!
The river Cole runs along one edge of the villiage and you can admire it from the lovely little humpbacked bridge or the small river beach below. This stretch of river is very green and tranquil. The village square is flanked on one side by the Chateau de la Marthonie. Every Spring (May) there is a flower festive, which is truly magnificent and is a must go to event.
Segur le Chateau
Segur-le-Chateau is a very charming place and as you amble through the tranquil setting and the narrow streets of the village it's hard to guess that in the Middle-Ages this was an important local centre for the region. A cluster of unspoiled medieval houses run along the river and the village is overlooked by the ruins of the castle that stand on a raised hill behind and dates from the 12th century. A couple of restaurants can be found here too.
Thiviers is a pretty, active town that has seemingly remained unchanged with the passing years. The town falls between the more deeply valleyed landscape to the north and the more gently rolling countryside to the south, and is a great place to spend the day with cafes, bars and restaurants aplenty.