The Périgord is a natural paradise of unspoilt countryside. Known for its gentle river valleys, the area is also home to a variety of impressive landscapes, e.g. the granite rock in the north, the Double and Landais forests, the hills of the White Périgord, the gorges of the Auvézère, and the limestone plateaux to the east of the département , a varied mosaic that provides endless opportunities for nature lovers.
So many rivers cross the Périgord , the Dordogne is undoubtedly the most famous of these rivers, but also others, such as the Vézère, Isle, Auvézère, Dronne, Bandiat, Loue, Coly and Céou have their own indelible charm. Having played a major role in transporting goods in the past, these waterways are now popular for leisure activities such as fishing, canoeing or boat trips on a traditional gabare. Water has always been used as a force of energy and a number of old buildings bear witness to this. Examples include paper mills (Moulin de la Rouzique), flour and walnut oil mills (Moulin de la Tour), paper manufacturers (the Papeteries de Vaux) and forges (Savignac Lédrier).
Mysterious underground caves at Périgord
The Dordogne harbours an underground network of countless treasures, including its natural caves, also known as crystal caves. These differ from parietal caves in their formation of concretion, columns and stalagmites. Five of these underground caves are open to the public, Tourtoirac being the most recently discovered. The Black Périgord features quite a number of limestone caves that are open to the public, for instance: the abyss of Proumeyssac (Audrix) Grottes de la Halle (Domme) Grand Roc (Eyzies de Tayac), Grotte de Maxange (Buisson de Cadouin) and the cave Tourtoirac (near Hautefort).
“With our extraordinary natural landscapes, countless paths, trails and rivers, the Dordogne is the perfect destination for outdoor pursuits enthusiasts”.
Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin
Extending across the départements of the Dordogne and Haute Vienne, this park is perfect for hiking and getting away from it all. The park covers 1,800km2 of protected countryside with a range of rare flora and fauna.
Delightful gardens and towns full of flowers
Other natural features in the region include 33 parks and gardens, 14 of which have been awarded the “jardin remarquable” label. These gardens are very different in tone and atmosphere, ranging from the Classical-style gardens of the Manoir d’Eyrignac, listed as a Historical Monument, to the formal gardens at the Château d’Hautefort, the romantic hanging gardens at Marqueyssac, or more contemporary gardens such as the Jardins de l’Imaginaire in Terrasson.The Périgord is also home to 13 towns and villages which have been recognised by the France in Bloom organisation with awards ranging from one to four flowers; Périgueux and Bergerac have won theNational Flower Prize for several years running. Garden fans will love the Jardins de Sardy a half hour drive to the west of Bergerac.
The Périgord alone has close to 1,130km of long-distance footpaths, known as Grandes Randonnées (GR). These include part of the Way of St James heading to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain, and the GR 36, which skirts the prehistoric sites of the Vézère valley. Not forgetting the additional 5,600km of paths and circular walking routes.
There are several ‘discovery tours’ (400 kilometers of trails) plotted in the surrounding area of Lalinde. You can also walk “a Grande Randonnee” (23) from Lalinde to Louyre and / or travel around with mountain bikes. Voie Vertes are a network of ‘green routes’ crisscrossing the Dordogne. The routes can only be used by pedestrians, cyclists horse riders and all motorised vehicles are not allowed. The routes are therefore safe and ideal for use by families and those with young children. A route nearbij Les magnolias is Canal de Lalinde – 9 km(Tuilieres commune de Mouleydier, Saint Capraise de Lalinde, Baneuil, Lalinde).
This is just one of the many walking routes. In addition there are also local short and medium-distance routes around Monpazier so called “Petites Randonnées” plotted by the Office de Tourisme. They are circular walks with varying distances between 5 and 40 km. When plotting these routes people make maximum use of the existing natural and quiet paths. Maps and information of hiking trails trails are free available at our reception.
Cycling and mountain biking
The Dordogne department has hundreds of kilometers of marked cycling routes, providing safe and interesting rides across the region, for cyclists of all abilities. The majority of our bike trails are suitable for mountain bikers, with centres located at Montagrier, Brantôme,Cherveix-Cubas, Lalinde, Vitrac and Biron. Cycle-touring enthusiasts can take advantage of the Périgord’s 34 road-based routes, which together cover a distance in excess of 2,000km. Maps for these routes are available from the local tourist offices, as well as on line from Tourism Dordogne
We are glad to help our customers on the way. Check out our 4 day bike tour.
There’s plenty of space in the Dordogne to enjoy a wide range of equestrian activities, including endurance trails and trekking. The “Le Périgord en Cheval” (Périgord on Horseback) brochure highlights 900km of marked trekking trails and overnight stops for riders covering one of our long-distance equestrian routes. Alternatively, why not embark on a tour of the Green Périgord by horse-drawn caravan? You can go horseback riding on several riding schools in the area of Lalinde. For beginners and skilled horse riders. Go and experience an adventurous ride through the beautiful countryside of the Dordogne.
Canoeing On a warm summer’s day in the Périgord, there’s nothing quite like an invigorating river descent by canoe. The combination of water and exploring the sights and landscapes at the foot of the cliffs of the Dordogne, Vézère, Dronne, Isle or Auvezère rivers is a pleasure without equal. From Easter to October, over 60 local companies offer a range of aquatic adventures along some of France’s longest waterways.
As the leading département in France for leisure canoeing, the Dordogne Tourist Board and its partners have just launched a new website dedicated exclusively to canoeing in the Dordogne. The site provides a full list of canoe rental operators who must meet certain criteria, such as offering rental services for 6 months a year and providing a rental package which includes a bus transfer in addition to all canoeing equipment. The website allows operators to post the canoeing trips which they offer, as well as their prices and contact information. Visitors are also able to book trips with their chosen operator ahead of time, via a pre-booking form. We can heartily recommend canoe-roquegeoffre, here you can make a reservation in English. The route we can recommend is La Roque Gageac 14 km.
A new funny way to explore the Dordogne river is stand up paddle.
A paradise for swimmers.The département boasts numerous state- and privately owned lakes which are perfect for a refreshing dip. The Étang de la Jemaye, in the Forêt de la Double, the Plan de Saint-Estèphe, in the north of the département, and the Base de Loisirs de Rouffiac are all owned by the Conseil Général (County Council), which ensures that they are open to the public free of charge throughout the year. In summer, lifeguards are on duty and lots of sports and leisure activities are on offer.
The Bassin de Trémolat is a major venue for watersports and its waters, regulated by the Mauzac-et-Grand-Castang dam, are ideal for water-skiing and canoeing. In addition, a sailing club located at the end of the Trémolat meander (cingle) at Mauzac-et-Grand-Castang offers a variety of courses for beginners. At the Retenue d’eau de Miallet, one of the largest reservoirs in the département, nature-lovers will truly be in their element. A stopping point for migratory birds in winter as well as in spring, the lake also boasts a discovery trail and an observatory. The majority of rivers, such as the Dordogne, Vézère, Dronne and Auvézère, are teeming with popular and more secretive bathing spots which tourists will happen upon as they explore the region’s valleys.
For waterlovers the Dordogne has lots of indoor and outdoor pools and beautiful water parks. For those who love to explore underwaterlife is the aquarium in nearby Le Buque worth a visit.
Public leisure areas
The Conseil Général de la Dordogne (Dordogne Local Authority) has created seven dedicated leisure areas and one green route, all of which can be used for free by the general public. Open to local residents and visitors alike, these public facilities offer a range of leisure activities (swimming, hiking etc) and areas of interest to explore. The list includes two protected areas of natural beauty (the Campagne du Bugue forest and the Grand Etang de la Jemaye, a lake close to the Le Parcot farm), the Mallet reservoir, the Rouffiac outdoor pursuits centre, the Grand Étang de Saint-Estèphe (a man-made lake with facilities for disabled visitors), the Trémolat aquatic centre on the banks of the Dordogne, the forges at Savignac Lédrier, the gorges of the Auvézère, plus the green route between Thiviers and Saint-Pardoux la Rivière.
The Dordogne Périgord, a new golf destination
Whether you live for the game or indulge in a casual tee-off, a golf stay in the Dordogne is the ideal chance to practice your swing ! The Dordogne has seven golf courses, four 18 hole (or more) and three 9 hole courses, giving golfers of all levels the possibility to enjoy their passion for the little white ball. Their pride and joy are their courses set in both natural, untamed surroundings, or near well-known tourist sites.
Golf 27 holes of Chateau des Vigiers in Monestier – www.vigiers.com
Golf 18 holes of Périgueux in Marsac – www.golfdeperigueux.com
Golf 18 holes of la Marterie in St Félix de Reilhac – marterie.bluegreen.com/en
Golf 18 holes of Lolivarie in Siorac- en- Périgord – www.lolivariegolfclub.com
Golf 9 holes of Essendieras in Saint Médard d’Excideuil – www.essendieras.fr
Golf 9 holes of la Forge in Siorac-en-Périgord – www.golfdelaforge.fr
Carp fishing, cat fishing, trout, and even salmon and let’s not not forget of course pike fishing are just some of the fishing possibilities that you can enjoy in the Dordogne. If you like trout fishing, please note that you will need to book from around the middle to end of March up until around the first week of September.This is the only time you are allowed to fish for trout in France. There are lot of fishing opportunties near or on Les Magnolias. You can fish in the Dordogne River or the lake of Le barrage de Mauzac just 5 kilometers upstream from Les Magnolias. But also in the many lakes in the area and the canal across from Les Magnolias, you can fish to your heart’s content. A fishing licence can usually be obtained from the local fishing tackle shop or alternatively from the local bar or tabac shop. Additional information is available at our reception. Useful Link : Fédération de Dordogne pour la Pêche et la Protection du Milieu Aquatique
Gold prospecting. Centuries Jumilhac le Grand was known for her goldmines. Still there can be some goldprospecting done on a small scale in the river l’Isle. This happens under expert supervision. the gold museum is also worth a visit.
Hot air ballooning in the Dordogne Like the birds, come and fly over the Dordogne valleys, hills, green meadows, towns and villages and many castles.You’ll fall in love with its varied landscapes, architecture and unspoilt breathtaking scenery. Experience an unique experience with Périgord Dordogne Montgolfières: whether you give this flight as a gift to those you love, or you decide to spend an unforgettable moment yourself, no one will ever forget the magic of this experience.