After passing through the delightful Bordeaux wine country our next stop was the famous Dordogne and the base city of Sarlat. Having tasted a glimpse of the region in December when it was dreary and wet, we vowed to return in a sunnier era. This time around we were blessed with above average spring temperatures and blue skies, perfect for being outdoors. The difference in weather from the previous visit and this one was incredible and made for an entirely different experience.
The Dordogne has some of France’s most pristine countryside and preserved villages, where the rural and small-town way of life is cherished. It is, in my opinion, France at its best. However, it is by no means a well-kept secret, with hordes of Brits and Europeans vacationing here every summer. Yet in the off-season and with a little wondering off the beaten path, it’s quite possible to have the countryside to yourself.
The highlight for us this time in the Dordogne was exploring the smaller villages and hiking through woods, orchards, and fields. I shouldn’t overlook Sarlat however. The city of Sarlat-la-Canéda is handsome in its own right and is a great place to wander and spend the night. We had excellent meals and friendly waiters eager to fill in my broken French with English.
The Dordogne is an unforgettable region with a lot to offer in the way of rural tourism. There are chateaux of every variety literally every few kilometers perched on scenic hills and bathed in sunlight. It is the antithesis of Paris. I’m not saying that Paris it bad, but that it couldn’t be a more different world. Go to the Dordogne for a chance to enjoy old world charm, good food, and a break from urban life. It’s a magical place.