Things to do in Dordogne

Our most recommended things to do in Dordogne

From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

1. From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

Dordogne is the world capital of prehistory. Here, Cro Magnon, the first early modern humans, settled and left some of the most fascinating artwork inside caves created by thousands of years of erosion. This 8-hour tour will take you to the most famous caves at Lascaux, and to admire the drawings and etchings of Rouffignac Cave. The tour begins at Les Eyzies de Tayac, where the first 5 skeletons of the Cro-Magnons were discovered in 1868. You will take a guided tour of the National Prehistory Museum, which opened in 2004, and possesses the largest collection of prehistoric artifacts in the world. Continue to Montignac, where you will visit the famous Lascaux IV Cave. A perfect reproduction of the original cave and its cave art, Lascaux IV opened in 2016 as a triumph of technology, unique in the world. Rigorous scientific and artistic methods were used to recreate the incomparable atmosphere of the original cave. A reinforced concrete shell was created using shipbuilding techniques, and the relief of the cave was reconstituted down to the tiniest detail. The polychromatic paintings were executed just as the originals were 17, 000 years ago, using natural pigments. End your tour at Rouffignac Cave, to see original etchings and drawings. The Renaissance poet and author François de Belleforest mentioned the Rouffignac Cave as long ago as 1575 in his “Cosmographie Universelle.” The cave paintings proved a popular tourist attraction back in the 19th-Century. Famous archaeologists, such as Henry Breuil, André Glory, and Martel, had visited the cave in the early 20th-Century, but it was only in 1956 that 2 historians from the Pyrenees confirmed the cave art as from the Upper Paleolithic period. Rouffignac Cave, which had once served as a shelter for Resistance fighters in World War 2, was officially opened to the public in 1959, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Beynac & Domme villages - Dordogne boat ride

2. Beynac & Domme villages - Dordogne boat ride

Drive to the beautiful village of Domme. With its trapezoid city plan, Domme is a bastide (a fortified medieval town) adapted to the surrounding terrain, and thus falling short of the rectangular city plan characteristic to bastides. The village is classified as one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" ("The Most Beautiful Villages of France"). In 1307, Knight Templars were imprisoned in Domme while during the Hundred Years' War, the bastide was coveted by the English who first took the town in 1347 and repeatedly changed rulers throughout the war until 1437 when it finally fell under French rule again. Then drive to La Roque Gageac and enjoy a peaceful cruise on the the Dordogne River on board an authentic Gabarre to admire mighty castles that line the river. Finally, reach Beynac to admire the village and the Castle. This Middle Ages construction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River. The castle was built from the 12th century by the barons of Beynac (one of the four baronies of Périgord) to close the valley. The sheer cliff face being sufficient to discourage any assault from that side, the defences were built up on the plateau: double crenellated walls, double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine, double barbican.

Sarlat-la-Canéda: Dordogne Valley Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

3. Sarlat-la-Canéda: Dordogne Valley Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

Discover the great sites of the "Golden Triangle" on this unique sightseeing tour with live commentary. After meeting in Sarlat-la-Canéda it's only a short drive to the Dordogne Valley, where you'll visit many fascinating historic sites. After a private guided tour of Richard the Lionheart's castle at Beynac (replace by a visit of Castelnaud castle from january 2 to february 3 as Beynac castle will be closed), stop at the foot of Castelnaud Castle, an impressive fortress occupied by the English during the Hundred Years' War. Then take a guided tour of La Roque Gageac, one of the most beautiful villages in France, built into the cliffs along the Dordogne river. Afterwards, continue to the hilltop village of Domme for breathtaking panoramic views over the surrounding area. Walk around the village to get a feel for the local atmosphere.  Visit the medieval village of Montfort. Stop at a romanesque church from the 12th century, built on an ancient site of Celtic worship, before returning to Sarlat-la-Canéda.

Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

4. Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

Get in touch with your primeval nature as you discover some of the oldest relics of prehistory. Your tour begins with a thorough demonstration of techniques used by Paleolithic humans to make fire, to illuminate the dark caves in which they lived, and to paint.  After getting a taste of prehistoric life, you’ll head in to the chilly, dark caves to gaze upon cave paintings that date back over 30,000 years. Marvel at the evidence of a bygone culture that existed before civilization began. Wander through the caves, gazing at the veritable forests of stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.  After viewing the cave, you’ll discover a beautiful, hilltop medieval castle, before heading back to the meeting point, enriched by millennia of history.

From Sarlat: Rocamadour Half-Day Tour

5. From Sarlat: Rocamadour Half-Day Tour

Climb aboard a comfortable van in Sarlat and after a 1-hour trip punctuated by photo stops through the majestic landscapes of the Dordogne Valley, you will reach Rocamadour. Rocamadour is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in France, built in a vertiginous setting against a cliff face nestled in the heart of the Alzou canyon, a thousand-year-old historic UNESCO site. During this guided tour you will learn about the legends at the origin of this sacred place. After crossing the main street of the village, you will discover the sanctuary and its chapels by climbing the 216 steps of the Grand Pilgrim's Staircase (elevator also available). You will admire the miraculous chapel and its black virgin, the sarcophagus of St. Amadour dug into the rock of the cliff, and the legendary sword Durandal. On the way back, you will cross the majestic and wild landscapes of the Causses du Quercy and make a stop to visit a unique place either the Cougnaguet medieval watermill or Souillac Romanesque church.

Salignac-Eyvigues: Gardens of Eyrignac Manor Entry Ticket

6. Salignac-Eyvigues: Gardens of Eyrignac Manor Entry Ticket

Immerse yourself in a verdant haven with this admission ticket to the Gardens of Eyrignac Manor in Salignac-Eyvigues. Make finding your way around the vast gardens easy with a map in 6 different languages. Get access two nature trails so you can see the flora and fauna of the Dordogne region. Take a stroll through hornbeam, yew, boxwood, and cypress trees that offer different views in each season. Discover the unique collection of topiaries (shaped plants) in the French garden. Walk through the white rose, kitchen, and the flower gardens. Marvel at views of the hills from the white garden. Have the chance to walk through the picturesque oak forest. The garden and the 17th-century manor are classified as historical monuments and have been in the same family for over 500-years. Enjoy access to the Botanical Paths which are comprised of two nature trails of 2.5 and 4.5 kilometers.

From Bordeaux: Lascaux and Dordogne Valley Private Tour

7. From Bordeaux: Lascaux and Dordogne Valley Private Tour

See the famous prehistoric cave paintings and explore the Dordogne region with a private English-speaking driver-guide. Depart from Bordeaux, and drive about two hours east, into the heart of the Dordogne. The first visit is to the Grotte de Rouffignac, the cave of 1000 mammoths. For this visit you'll tale a ride on a small electric train deep into the cave to see some phenomenal drawings of horses, aurochs, bison, horned sheep and mammoths. Then head to Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the first five skeletons of Cro-Magnon, the earliest known examples of homo sapiens were found. This is a good place to stop for a quick lunch. Next, drive to Lascaux to see the incredible new Lascaux international center for cave art, a truly impressive place.

Bordeaux to Dordogne: Castles & Villages Private Tour

8. Bordeaux to Dordogne: Castles & Villages Private Tour

Enjoy a private full-day tour of Dordogne and discover the history of the King’s Musketeers, learn about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and visit prehistoric cave paintings. After the pick-up from your hotel in Bordeaux, Sarlat, Limoges, Toulouse, Agen Bergerac, or elsewhere nearby, you will head off on an exciting day filled with history, magnificent panoramic vistas, the finest gastronomy, and wine tasting. Whatever you desire can be incorporated into this private tailor-made tour. One of the places you can visit on this tour is Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, a lovely town which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site partly because of its proximity to the famous Lascaux Caverns and partly because of the newer site of Grottes de Cougnac. Here you can visit the caves and see the original art. Les Eyzies is also home to the National Prehistoric Museum. You also have the option of visiting Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of the most attractive and alluring medieval towns in south-western France. The town was developed around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin. Its town center of impeccably restored stone buildings – now a pedestrian zone – is perhaps the most representative of 14th century France. Discover another UNESCO World Heritage Site – Château de Rocamadour – perched up high on the side of a gorge of one of the Dordogne River’s tributaries, famous for its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can also explore the Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, with magnificent views over the landscape. Among other castles you can visit is the Château de Beynac, one of the best preserved and best known castles in the Dordogne region. Its austere appearance perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town on the north bank of the Dordogne River over the sheer cliff face. It boasts double crenelated walls, double barbican, and double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine. Another castle to visit is the Château des Milandes, once the home of the Josephine Baker, an American dancer, singer, and actress who found fame in her adopted homeland of France. Josephine Baker and her husband renovated this beautiful castle, installing central heating, electricity, and running water. They lived here with 12 adopted children from 9 different nationalities to create what they tenderly call the “World Village”. You can also explore Domme, another typically charming Bastide village built on the cliffs overhanging the Dordogne River. It was here that many of the Kinghts Templar were imprisoned and you can still see some of their graffiti on the tower gates. Another option on this tour is to visit the Jardins de Marqueyssac, an amazing garden filled with topiary creation and a picturesque promenade with panoramic views over the Dordogne River. Visit the Eyrignac gardens, the French garden inspired by the 18th century Italian design. They were entirely modified into an English romantic garden in the 19th century. On this private tour you also have the possibility of visiting Chateau de Commarque, Chateau de Jumilhac, Monpazier, Puymartin, Eyrignac, Monbazillac, La Roque Gageac, Montfort, and Salignac.

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What people are saying about Dordogne

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 126 reviews

This was a highlight of our trip to France and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. We were able to experience some history and places we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable and it was appreciated to have our tour in English, as all the regular tours given at the cave are in French. We were also able to have extra time to examine the drawings alone without being in the big tour group. All I can say is book this tour, you will not regret it.

We had a small group of 4 with our guide Benoit. Benoit provided good information about the area and he was very easy to understand. The amount of time spent in each of the 3 towns was just enough to get a feel for each small town. The river ride from La Roque-Gageac was pleasant, even though we had to take a different route due to too shallow water. I would definitely recommend this tour if you don't have a car in the Dordogne.

Communication was very good, with helpful information. Our guide was very punctual and proceeded to give us a comprehensive overview of the area’s history and prehistory with humor and relevant anecdotes. We were very comfortable with all aspects of this road tour. The river ride was less exciting for non-French speakers, but our headphones with taped commentary was satisfactory.

We had an excellent all day tour with Benoit! He was very informative, made the historical aspects so interesting and he was very easy going and helpful to answer our many questions. He made the day most interesting and we have many great memories to take home. Highly recommend this tour!

Highly recommended. We had a spectacular time. Stopping in Sarlat for lunch is a must. Cristian explains a lot and very well.