Dordogne And Lot Travel Guide
Chateau de Beynac © Luc Viatour
The Dordogne, and the neighbouring Lot Valley, is one of the most beautiful regions in France; a magnetic holiday destination for food lovers and nature enthusiasts. The area has remained fairly untouched by 20th-century development and tourism and the rural way of life continues very much as it has for centuries. Local farmers seem happy to live a fairly subsistence lifestyle, and village markets continue to flourish here long after they have disappeared from the high streets of other European countries. This is due, no doubt, to the local taste for fresh ingredients and the disregard for what are seen as draconian EU health and safety laws.
Dordogne is home to more than 1,500 castles and 150 prehistoric sites, and thus has a huge draw for history enthusiasts. There is a popular museum of medieval warfare at the Chateau de Castelnaud in Castelnaud-La Chapelle, and the stone villages of Rocamadour, Domme and La Roque Gageac give one the feeling of having stepped into a time machine.
Although medieval villages and towns such as Conques, Cahors and Montauban are starting to be discovered by tourists looking for a more authentic France, they have managed to retain their old-world charm. Visitors don't come here for a busy nightlife, or indeed for the weather (which can be wet even in summer). They are drawn instead to the stunning countryside, pâté, truffles, succulent Limousin veal and fine wine.