Top-12 tourist attractions in the North Dordogne
There are so many places to visit and things to do in our area that it is quite a task to list them all on our site. So just to give you a taster we have made a list of our top 12 favourites.
To help you further, within our gite we provide an up to date folder full of leaflets and brochures for not everything appears in the general tourist guidebooks.
1. BRANTOME is an attractive town near the northern edge of the Dordogne department, sometimes known as the Venice of the Dordogne. The Abbey started life as habitable caves which can also be visited at night during the peak holiday season. Brantome has a nice mix of medieval and renaissance architecture and is classed as one of 'Les Plus Beaux Detours' in France.
What to do/see there:
- Benedictine Abbey
- Grottes de L’Abbaye
- Oldest bell tower in France
- Artist Ferdinand Desmoulin museum
- Jardins Tranquille
- Dronne river cruise
- Chateau de la Hierce
- Brantome Police Horses
- ST JEAN DE COLE is officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its ochre-coloured and half-timbered houses, and renowned tiled roofs make it a photographer’s delight. The main square is dominated by the beautiful 12th-century Chateau de la Marthonie (private). There are 15 more of these beautiful villages to see in our region, highlighted in red.
What to do/see there:
- Roman-Byzantine Church of St. John the Baptist
- The old bridge and the miller's house
- The priory with its cloister
- Clovis Reymond old distillery shop
- GROTTES DE VILLARS is a huge natural cave formed in the Jurassic period full of spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. This cave is one of a kind because it also features pre-historic paintings including an extremely rare human figure. Outside there is a trail with plants that prehistoric man would have eaten and information boards about how he lived.
- CHATEAU HAUTEFORT stands proudly above the village and is listed as a historical monument. It’s, without doubt, one of the most remarkable 12th-century chateaux in the Dordogne. Its elegant rooms inside are luxuriously decorated with furniture from the 17th and 18th However, it’s the meticulous French-style gardens that most people go to see which are particularly beautiful. Landscaped by top French designer Comte de Choulet in 1853, the geometrically cut flower sections and topiary are very photogenic. Below is the village, where there is a small museum dedicated to medicine.
- JUMILAC LE GRAND is a small hillside village dominated by one of the most beautiful castles in the Perigord, listed as a national monument. Its spectacular fairy tale roof is unique in France and it also has lovely terraced gardens.
What to do and see there:
- Chateau Jumilac
- River walks
- Gold Museum
- ST YRIEIX LA PERCHE a pretty medieval town located in the Limousin and is one of the ‘Plus Beaux Detours de France’. It was here in the 18th century that kaolin (white clay) was first mined from a nearby quarry site in Marcognac and used to develop the famous Limoges porcelain. Kaolin was discovered by J.B Darnet in 1768 on a site now known as the Village of Porcelain.
What to do and see there:
- 12th-century church
- Gardens of the Maison du Patrimonie
- Cultural centre with 12th century illustrated Bible
- Tourist Information office Heritage tour
- Porcelaine MP Samie outlet shop
- Saturday market
- Marcognac Terre de Porcelaine (Historic monument)
- Village de la Porcelaine outlet and museum
- Boule d’Or Madeleine factory visit and outlet shop
- LIMOGES is the 'capital' of the Haute-Vienne department and the Limousin region. With a long history dating from the early middle ages, its early value can be closely linked to the porcelain industry. The town is large and is split into two parts, the high village, and the cathedral and station area. Between the two are many narrow cobbled streets full of artisan boutiques and delightful eateries. The impressionist artist Renoir was born here, see his paintings in the L’Eveche museum. For porcelain lovers, there is much to excite including the Adrien Debouche Museum that not only has the largest collection of Limoges porcelain in the world but also other works representing the greatest stages in the history of ceramics.
What to see and do there:
- Jardin d’Orsay
- Quartiere de la Boucherie
- Saint Aurelien's chapel
- Church of St Michel de Lions
- Place de Motte covered market
- Verdurier Pavilion
- Place Denis Dussoubs
- Saint-Etienne Cathedral
- Museum de Beaux-Arts
- L’Eveche Garden and Museum
- Resistance Museum
- Boulevard Louis Blanc – Porcelain makers street
- Limoges Benedictine Art Deco Railway Station
- Adrien-Debouche National Porcelaine Museum
- Casseaux Oven Museum (Porcelaine furnace)
- Bernardaud Porcelaine and outlet
- Limoges Town Hall
- ORADOR SUR GLANE is renowned in France as the village whose inhabitants and contents were destroyed in the final months of World War 11. It has been preserved in its bombed and burnt out state as a poignant tribute and memorial to those that perished. Visit the museum for full details of the events and then explore in quiet contemplation, the village with its wreckage and burnt out buildings and sites where more than 400 people lost their lives that fateful day.
- PERIGUEUX capital of the Dordogne is an ancient city, dominated by its UNESCO heritage Byzantine cathedral a model for the Sacre Coeur, Paris. From this area radiant many small streets brimming with medieval and Renaissance buildings. Perigueux is also home to possibly the best Roman remains outside of Rome including a glass-covered Gallo-Roman villa part of the museum. The city’s most celebrated building is the 14th Century ‘Maison de Patissier’ from which it is reputed that the Perigueux ‘pate de fois gras’ was first produced. Food is important here and nothing illustrates that better than the bustling Saturday morning market. After which there is nothing better than to lunch and people watch from delightful leafy corner cafes.
What to do and see there:
- Cathedral St-Front
- Saturday food market
- Maison de Patissier
- St Etienne Church
- Vesunna Gallo Roman Museum
- Vesunna Temple 2AD
- The Musee du Trompe de l'oeil (optical illusions)
- The Military Museum
- Perigord Museum of Art and Archaeology
- Tourist train
- ARNAC POMPADOUR located just over the border in the Correze department is the home of the national stud. The racecourse opened in 1837 and is one of the most beautiful in France. Sun King Louis XV gifted the chateau there to his favourite, the Marquis de Pompadour.
What to do and see there
- Orangerie stables
- Puy Marmont equestrian stadium
- Domaine of Chignac
- Le Chateau de Pompadour
- Lubersac castle
- 14th Century Saint Yreix fountain
- TERRASSON-LAVILLEDIEU sits on either side of the Vezere River and is an attractive town with unusual blue slate rooves. Halfway up a hill towards the old town lies Place Bouquier, lined with many fabulous buildings and a gardened area leading up to the abbey church. The biggest attraction is the remarkable ‘Jardins de l'imaginaire’, unique not only in France but Europe too. Its 13 gardens are presented in a highly imaginative manner designed to stimulate the senses.
What to see and do there
- 12th-century bridge
- Chateau Seigneurial and ramparts
- Place Bouquier
- Eglise Abbatiale Saint Sour
- Les Jardins de L’Imaginaire
- Bovetti chocolate museum (close by)
- VELORAIL DU PERIGORD VERT offers a very different and fun way to spend an afternoon on an old disused railway line. The Velorail is basically a small coach on four wheels that move by pedal power. One or two people take the saddles whilst the others sit back in a hammock type seat. With minimal effort, the journey is a very pleasant one through the glorious countryside. There are a number of Velorails operating in the same manner in France, this one operates a number of different routes throughout the year between Cognac Sur L'isle to Thiviers.
There are so many places to discover when on holiday in our area that this top 12 serves only as a brief introduction to a few of our favourites.
If you have a look at our region, you will be amazed at the amount and range you can see within a 2-mile radius of Mialet.
Within our gite there is a more comprehensive guide to what’s available throughout the Dordogne and surrounding regions. To help our guests we also include recommended days away so that you can maximise sight-seeing without having to spend precious time researching guidebooks.