Périgueux is considered the capital of the Dordogne Department; however it is not situated on the Dordogne River but north on the Isle River. Although quite commercial on the outskirts the old centre branching out from the Byzantine Saint-Front Cathedral is very attractive with old buildings with cobbled streets and a lively market on Saturday and Wednesday.
The city has many roman remains from the Vesone Tower, remains of the Amphitheatre to a Roman Museum housing a Roman Villa that was uncovered during construction of another building. The city was just as large in roman times as it is now housing 80,000 people.
Although further away than Limoges Périgueux has many outstanding restaurants and bars in the old part of town that make an enchanting way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Angoulême is encircled by boulevards above the old city walls, known as the Remparts, from which fine views may be obtained in all directions. Within the town the streets are often narrow like many medieval towns and cities. There is a lovely cathedral and the city hall is built into two towers of the ancient castle that protected the city. In the center of the city is the "old town" which has been preserved, maintained and largely reserved for pedestrians. It has a cobbled restaurant quarter, with galleries and boutiques. Many buildings have been restored and including the attractive covered market Les Halles, on the site of the old jail.
Many important historical events took place in and around the city ramparts from attacks and occupation by the Visigoths, Vikings, and Normans to the marriage of local aristocracy to Richard the Lionheart and King John of England and events during the 100 year war.
Today there are numerous events throughout the year such as the comic festival and an annual motor race around the city streets and ramparts. Tours of the town include the murs peints, various walls painted in street-art cartoon style, a feature of Angoulême and related to its association with the bande dessinée, the comic strip. A statue has been erected to Herge the creator of The Adventures of Tintin.
Les Eyzies is situated in the UNESCO Listed Vezere Valley and has many caves with prehistoric drawings and other evidence of early man dating back 40,000 years.
This is the area where Cro Magnon Man was discovered and the town has the National Prehistory Museum situated built into a hillside and also nearby is the world famous Lascaux Caves discovered by four teenagers in 1940.
There are some lovely cafes and restaurants overlooking the river and the area with its many caves that can be visited is a great place to visit.
Rocamadour is on the eastern edge of the area across the border of the Dordogne to the Lot area and has been a pilgrimage site for over a thousand years. The village is built on the site of the Shrine to a Madonna and the shrine was famous for its healing powers. The village is on the pilgrimage path to the Santiago de Campostela. The village has a dramatic effect being built on a mountain and climbing up a cliff and is entered by two main fortified gates and is lined with medieval houses.
You need a bit of fitness to climb the many steps to the top of the village but it is well worth it. Consider the pilgrims when you are climbing up the stairs as they would climb them on their knees. Or you can get the lift down from the upper street near the castle.
The village gets very busy during the summer months with a million visitors recorded each year. When you get there you can understand why so many people visit the place, not just for a pilgrimage to the holy sites but just for the wonderful feel and history.
Bergerac is in the western part of the Dordogne and is one of the largest towns in the area. The town is situated on the River and appears initially to be very commercial; however the old centre is very attractive with some nice restaurants.
The highlight of the area is the wines it produces such as Pecharmant, Monbazillac and Saussignac. Visit the Maison de Vins de Bergerac in the centre of the old town. It is a lovely old cloister dating back to the 12th century. Wine Lovers can visit the exhibition there showing the history of Bergerac wines. You can buy a decent bottle of Bergerac Wine in most supermarkets for as low as $5 to $10 price range.
There are many statues of the Cyrano de Bergerac about the town; however it is believed he never actually lived or even visited the town.
Simply known as Sarlat, the main town in the local area and one of the most visited in France. Although there are tourists all year, particularly during the summer months where it can be quite packed, the town should not be missed. The old part of the town, dating from both the medieval and renaissance periods has been well restored and is very beautiful. It is a great pleasure to wander around the cobbled streets and see wonderful architecture.
The tourist office in town is very helpful and can give you a lot of information on nit just the town but also the local area Sarlat has the highest density of Historic Monuments and Classified Monuments of any town in the whole of France.
There is a cathedral on the South eastern side and has a mix of gothic and roman styles. A lovely town square surrounded by cafes and bars. There are many mansions and wonderful buildings with turrets and arched entrances.
Markets are held on Saturday and Wednesday and finding parking on those days can be difficult during the summer months.
Chateau Des Milandes was built in the 15th Century by the owner of Castle Castelnaud. The chateau was abandoned during the French revolution but was restored by the famous Music Hall star Josephine Baker in the 1930's.
It is a lovely building that can be visited and houses a museum to Baker and is maintained in the way she furnished it in the 1930's.
There is a great bird show that should not be missed when visiting the chateau.
Beynac is a stunning village situated on the banks of the River Dordogne. It has a castle at the top of a cliff that dominates the whole area. There are winding streets that lead up to the castle which when reached offers excellent views along the Dordogne valley.
There is a great restaurant right on the river and plenty of bars and cafes. Canoes can be hired nearby on the river as well as river cruises on the river boats. The castle can be visited and the film Joan of Arc and Chocolate were filmed in the village and castle.
The village is one of those rare places that stick in your memory. It really is one of the most beautiful and enchanting villages anywhere in the world and almost looks like a set from some Disneyland Movie. Photo opportunities are endless from the river to views from the castle.
The castle was one of Richard the Lionheart’s castles.
There is also an archaeological Park that has a number of reconstructed Neolithic buildings.
The gardens and chateau of Marqueyssac are set high on a hill overlooking the Dordogne valley with views covering Beynac, Castelnaud and many other chateau's in the area.
The gardens are quite remarkable with clipped boxed hedges that weave in and out and lovely walkways on the edge of the surrounding cliffs. There are apparently over 150,000 clipped boxed trees and hedges in the garden that is spread over the entire hilltop.
There is a great cafe and terrace that serves excellent salads and sweet treats where you can sit, eat, drink and be in awe of the view.
Domme still has some of its fortified walls and main entrances to the town in place. The towers of the main entrance known as the Porte Des Tours were converted to a prison when the Knights Templers in France were arrested on orders of the King in 1307. It is still possible to see engraved graffiti such as crucifixes and other marks carved by the Knights as they were held awaiting trial. This can be visited all year round.
The town is situated high on a hill and gives magnificent views over the Dordogne Valley. There are several great restaurants that have some of the best views in the Dordogne. There are many fine buildings dating back before the hundred year war with England. There are also caves and grottos right in the town with a 400 meter walk along and through caves that lead to a lift that takes you back to the surface.
The castle is situated high above the rivers Dordogne and Ceou not far from Beynac. The castle has excellent views around the countryside and to Beynac Castle. The castle was built in the 12th Century and the owners supported the Cathars and then later the English during the 100 year war.
The castle was lost and retaken by the English a number of times during the conflict. It houses a great entertaining museum and huge catapults on its ramparts.
There are some great little cafes near the castle and near the river and local fly fishermen appear to pull and endless supply of fish from the river near the bridge that leads to the castle.
La Roque Gageac is one of France's most beautiful villages. It is positioned on the north bank of the Dordogne River, and backed by cliffs, and is one of those postcard villages. You can take a boat ride on one of the replica 'Gabares', the old typical local river boat from here to explore the river Dordogne for an hour.
The local area, with its many castles situated along the river is explained by a guide on the boat, and this can be in English by using the audio guides that are supplied free once on the boat. Or hire canoes locally and paddle along the river and explore the area yourself.
There are several Michelin Star restaurants and many bars in the village is a lovely place to spend the afternoon having a lovely meal or cool drink by the river.
Poitiers is a city on the Clain river in west central France. It is the capital of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. The centre of town is picturesque and its streets include lovely historical architecture from the Romanesque period. Two major military battles took place near the city: in 732, the Battle of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours), in which the Franks halted the expansion of the Islamic forces of the Umayyad Caliphate, and in 1356, the Battle of Poitiers, a key victory for the English forces during the Hundred Years' War.
Historic churches, in particular Romanesque church buildings, are one of the main attractions in Poitiers. The town's centre is picturesque, with generally well-preserved architecture is zoned a pedestrian area. There are numerous shops, cafes and restaurants in the town centre.
The town gives its name to one of the world's best-known types of brandy. The spirit must be made in certain areas around the town of Cognac and must be made according to strictly-defined regulations to be granted the name Cognac. Cognac houses that make the spirit all have visitor centres. Most central in the town are Hennessy, Martell, Otard, Camus and Remy Martin. About 15 km East of Cognac is Jarnac, home to Courvoisier.
Cognac is situated on the river Charente about 62 km from Angouleme. The majority of the town has been built on the river's left bank and the town is situated on one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella.
The town's medieval quarter "Vieux Cognac" runs from the Tours Saint-Jacques, alongside the river, up to the Saint-Léger church. The area contains many unusual buildings, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, situated on narrow cobbled streets. Many contain sculptures of a Salamander which was the symbol of King Francois I, as well as gargoyles and richly decorated façades.
The town contains many Romanesque churches as well as several châteaux and has many restaurants and bars in town.
Futuroscope, or Parc du Futuroscope is a theme park based upon multimedia, cinematographic futuroscope and audio-visual techniques. It has several 3D cinemas and a few 4D cinemas along with other attractions and shows, some of which are the only examples in the world. It is located 10 kilometers north of Poitiers. The park gets around two million visitors a year. There are eight restaurants and ten fast food restaurants at the park.
Anyone who has any knowledge of wines would have heard of Saint Emilion. Saint Emilion is one of four Bordeaux wine regions and produces some of the finest wines in the world. The area is full of vineyards and chateaux.
The town dates back to Roman times and it was the Romans that brought vines to the region. The town has many open squares and lovely buildings and many cafes, bars and restaurants. There are many vineyards that you can visit that can offer a taste of the wines that are produced on the estates.
Bordeaux, France, La Riviere Fronsac vineyard.
Bordeaux is classified "City of Art and History". The city is home to 362 historic monuments with some buildings dating back to Roman times. Bordeaux has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble".
Bordeaux is home to one of Europe's biggest 18th-century architectural urban areas, making it a sought-after destination for tourists and cinema production crews.
Bordeaux has many shopping options. In the heart of Bordeaux is Rue Sainte-Catherine. This pedestrian only shopping street has 1.2 kilometers (0.75 mi) of shops, restaurants and cafés; it is also one of the longest shopping streets in Europe. The shops become progressively more up market as one moves towards Place de la Comédie and the nearby Cours de l'Intendance is where one finds the more exclusive shops and boutiques.
The vine was introduced to the Bordeaux region by the Romans, and wine production has been continuous in the region since then.
Bordeaux now has about 116,160 hectares (287,000 acres) of vineyards, 57 appellations, 10,000 wine-producing châteaux and 13,000 grape growers. With an annual production of approximately 960 million bottles, Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as some of the most expensive wines in the world.