Our Top 10 favorite places
A thousand year old city, one of the 4 pillars of Christendom in the Middle Ages alongside Jerusalem and Rome. Set against a cliff in the most dramatic fashion, Rocamadour has been attracting travellers and pilgrims alike since 1166. And it is only 10 km from Laborie ;)))
The biggest concentration of medieval buildings in France, Sarlat is used time and again for epic film sets, including the latest Ridley Scott film. All around Sarlat, there are more castles than you can probably count in French. From Beynac (remember Joan of Arc ?), Castelnaud ( full of swords, shiny armor and even real catapults!), to Château des Milandes where Joséphine Baker lived…. Sarlat is the heart of Périgord Noir with events happening all the time.
This is our favourite place to hang out and eat. With over 20 really good restaurants, a lovely market twice a week, and little bars to have a beer in, Martel has it all: the gorgeous medieval buildings, the cute boutique shops and the chilled out atmosphere and truffles...12 km from Laborie.
A truly unique village all built in red sandstone and named as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Once you are in Martel, Collonges is only 15 mn up the road. Be ready to take hundreds of pictures. And stop in Curemonte on your way back, it’s amazing.
Les Tours de Merle
A bit of a hike but well-worth the detour, you are going into unchartered territory in the upper Dordogne Valley: The Corrèze. The Tours de Merle is an early medieval citadel completely left untouched, right in the middle of nature. It looks like a film set and they also do medieval shows with knights and horses. Take good hiking shoes and be ready to get blown away.
Le Gouffre de Padirac
Equally mesmerizing down under, the Dordogne Valley holds a fascinating world ready to be discovered underground. There are many caves to visit and the most impressive of them all has to be the Chasm of Padirac, where you take a boat ride 103m below the surface before carrying on by foot through stunning galleries.
If you like history, you will love Carennac. Set beside the Dordogne River, it boasts outstanding monastic buildings including a 11th Century church and castle (free entry) as well as an abbey. Nowhere amazing for lunch though so you can push 4 km further on and eat at Le Relais de Gintrac, typically French and relatively cheap.
A picture perfect village overlooking the Lot River below, full of art galleries, nice restaurants, boats rides and a walking path carved in the cliff. Going to Saint-Cirq Lapopie means crossing the Causse Regional Park, an absolutely beautiful, wild and scarcely populated area. Biking there is the best!
Domme and La Roque-Gageac
Gorgeous villages in the Périgord with the best views over the Dordogne Valley, very close to Sarlat. And while you are there, you should pop into Les Jardins de Marqueyssac, a boxwood paradise for all garden lovers. Once a week in the evening, they light up the gardens with candles for a true magical experience.
You may arrive here by plane if travelling from London. Brive is a bustling town, with tons of shops, cafés and restaurants. It’s quite hip, easily accessible and a great day-out for anyone wishing to experience a French city atmosphere. Fantastic market every Saturday morning.