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Exploring the Dordogne River Valley

Exploring the Dordogne River Valley

Charming towns dotted with medieval architecture, dramatic French countryside scenery, fertile vineyards, and rich culture: the Dordogne region is an alluring corner of rural France. Here are a few ways to make the most of your time in the Dordogne River Valley.

Sarlat

The medieval town of Sarlat in the Périgord region draws many visitors, especially in summer. With more than 250 buildings dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, the town’s sense of history is strong. Take a walk along the Rue de la République, then use Sarlat as a base for other destinations in the region.

Rocamadour

Nestled in a gorge overlooking the Dordogne River, Rocamadour has been a popular pilgrimage site for centuries. Visitors come for the maze of cliffside chapels and spectacular scenery in equal measure, and highlights—that can be enjoyed via a guided tour—include the sacred Notre Dame Chapel and sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No visit is complete without heading up to the 14th-century hilltop castle to gaze out over the landscape below. 

The Lascaux Caves

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the prehistoric caves at Lascaux are home to primitive drawings of animals dating back to the Upper Paleolithic era, about 50,000 years ago. Believed to have been painted over many generations, the images depict hunting scenes from daily life at the time. Some tours combine these caves with the National Prehistory Museum in Les Eyzies de Tayac and the UNESCO-listed Rouffignac Cave.

Saint-Émilion

Guarded by no fewer than seven imposing medieval gates, the UNESCO–listed town of Saint-Émilion features Romanesque churches and ancient ruins hidden along its narrow, cobbled streets. Most famous for producing some of the finest wines in the Bordeaux region, the town remains a popular base on the Dordogne’s wine route. The vineyards were first planted by the Romans roughly 2,000 years ago and continue to thrive in the sun-soaked hills today.

Domme

The fortified medieval village of Domme is one of the most beautiful in France, and it boasts impressive 13th-century ramparts along with spectacular countryside views. The Esplanade du Belvédère, which offers sweeping views over the valley, is the best spot to take in the scenery.

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5 Tours and Activities

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Saint Emilion Day Trip with Sightseeing Tour & Wine Tastings from Bordeaux

Saint Emilion Day Trip with Sightseeing Tour & Wine Tastings from Bordeaux

star-5
384
Spend a day sipping French reds and whites in the Saint-Emilion and Pomerol wine region. Departing from Bordeaux, visit two chateaux to taste the region’s famous wines and wander the streets of beautiful Saint-Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$155.79
From
$155.79

Medoc or St-Emilion Small-Group Wine Tasting and Chateaux Tour from Bordeaux

Medoc or St-Emilion Small-Group Wine Tasting and Chateaux Tour from Bordeaux

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415
Spend an afternoon wine tasting in the French countryside in one of two famous wine regions – St-Emilion or Medoc – during a tour from Bordeaux. On this half-day tour, stop at two charming châteaux to sample the local wines. Nibble on French cheese and cured meats with fresh bread as you sip. Cap off the small-group tour with a mini-class, during which you'll learn some wine-tasting tips from an expert.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$108.47
From
$108.47

Prehistory and The Art of the Caves in Sarlat

Prehistory and The Art of the Caves in Sarlat

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49
Journey back to prehistoric times on this full-day small-group tour of the Dordogne’s historic highlights from Sarlat. Start with a visit to the National Prehistory Museum in Les Eyzies de Tayac to marvel over the world’s largest collection of Paleolithic artifacts. Next, enjoy skip-the-line entry to the Lascaux IV cave, a remarkable reconstruction of the original Lascaux cave, famed for its prehistoric reliefs. Finally, view the original drawings adorning the UNESCO-listed Rouffignac Cave, which dates back over 15,000 years.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$178.87
From
$178.87

Saint-Emilion Small-Group Bike Tour with Wine Tastings & Lunch from Bordeaux

Saint-Emilion Small-Group Bike Tour with Wine Tastings & Lunch from Bordeaux

star-5
155
Experience the beauty of St-Emilion by bike on this day-long wine-tasting tour from Bordeaux. Begin with a guided walking tour of this UNESCO-listed city, then enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the verdant countryside. Learn the history of St-Emilion wine country as you to cycle past famous chateaux, stop at a lovely vineyard for lunch and a wine-tasting class, and visit a classified-growth estate to sample fine local varietals.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$171.94
From
$171.94

Half day Tour of The Villages of the Dordogne

Half day Tour of The Villages of the Dordogne

star-5
15
Grab your camera and make a beeline for some of the Dordogne’s most photogenic landscapes on this 4.5-hour small-group tour from Sarlat. Learn about the region’s rich history as you visit the medieval town of Domme and explore the 12th-century caste of Beynac. Finally, drift down the Dordogne river onboard a traditional wooden Gabarre and admire the majestic châteaux that loom over the riverside.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$79.62
From
$79.62