Like pictures from a book of fairy tales, the pretty Dordogne villages cling to their hillsides. In this wooded landscape there's a surprise at every turn of the road - a glimpse of broad river, perhaps, or a higgledy-piggledy roofscape. This beautiful pastoral landscape provides the backdrop for unforgettable Dordogne holidays.
Self catering Dordogne holidays with Rent Villas France allow you the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. To the north is the regional capital Perigueux, a city with Roman origins, medieval and cathedral quarters. Here, the attractive towns of Brantome and Bourdeilles span the River Dronne and Hautefort, with its chateau, offers fine views over the picturesque Perigord countryside. But it's the River Dordogne, to the south, which lends its name to this French department. Rising in the Massif Central to the east, its waters have swollen by middle age, enabling it to cut through the landscape, looping and twisting past rocky outcrops where bastide villages cluster for defence. Clinging to their cliffs, Domme, la Roque Gageac, Beynac-et-Cazenac and Castelnaud-la-Chapelle occupy idyllic settings. Down river, the pretty market town of Bergerac is famous for its tobacco and sweet white wine.
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No holiday in Dordogne would be complete without a visit to Sarlat, the region's jewel in the crown, which lies at the heart of the Dordogne valley although not on the river itself. This well-preserved town, with its golden stone buildings, twisting lanes and great food market owes its prosperity down the years to its loyalty to the French Crown during the Hundred Years War, and is one of the most beautiful and visited towns in France.
Staying on a self catering Dordogne holiday you can also see its most precious treasure, which lies hidden from view in caves along the Vezere valley, where prehistoric hunters practised their art. At Lascaux, bison, elk and horses gallop across the walls but, sadly, for their preservation are not on public view. Visitors are admitted to a faithful replica on the same hillside. At Les Eyzies, the original cave paintings and engravings can still be seen.
On your Dordogne holidays don't miss Cahors and its famous 14th century bridge, the Pont Valentré, or a visit to one of the many wine growers where you will be able to buy some of the so called ‘black wine' for which Cahors is so well known. Another ‘don't miss'on your holiday in Dordogne is Rocamadour, built precariously on the edge of a cliff overlooking the river Alzou. Once a major town on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella, Rocamadour is now a popular tourist attraction.
When you holiday in Dordogne there is more than just sightseeing to enjoy, as this region has many activities to offer the outdoor enthusiast. There are trails for walking and cycling, but perhaps the best way to explore the Dordogne is by water and there are countless opportunities for hiring canoes at various locations along the river. Dordogne holidays are also about wandering around the many local markets, full of local fresh produce from melons to foie gras, truffles to walnut oil.
Rent Villas France has a great choice of self catering Dordogne properties to suit all budgets from apartments to luxury villas.