To finish up my posts about my time in the Dordogne Valley I wanted to share with you some photos from just three of the beautiful towns and villages we visited all over the region. If I had to describe the area, I'd call it somewhere that has the best of the two regions of France I'm most familiar with; the style of the buildings and their design to deal with the heat reminded me of the Pyrenees where I used to summer with my grandparents, but the rolling green fields and some of the stone structures reminded me of my beloved Brittany. If you're in the area I've already given you a whole host of recommendations for places to eat, stay, and do. Here are three villages that are worth stopping exploring if you're passing by.
In Corrèze, Collonges-la-Rouge is a beautiful little village that has been classified as a historical monument since the 1940's, and it is a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, France's society for its most beautiful villages. The first thing you notice when you arrive is that every single building, without fail, is bright red (which is what gives the village its name) as they are build with red sandstone laced with iron.
The town of Beaumont-du-Périgord in Aquitane has more of a Mediterranean feel to it. It was created by the British in 1272 by Edward I, but was taken by the French during the one hundred years war. While obviously it attracts tourists, it is not a massive target for visitors, so unlike Collonges-la-Rouge where you have to dodge them, Beaumont-du-Périgord still has that quiet, traditional, community feel to it.
By the time we'd made our way into the town square in the heat (most of our time in the Dordogne it was a nice temperature around 20 degrees, but we had one day when temperatures were pushing 30), all we wanted was the chance to sit in the shade with something nice and cold to drink. We settled ourselves outside a cafe off the main square and ordered a table full of Perrier, Diablos (fruit syrups mixed with lemonade) and Monacos, a new drink for me (above): beer, lemonade and grenadine.
Issigeac is just a short distance from Beaumont-du-Périgord in Bergerac, so it would be pretty easy to explore them both in one go. If anything it felt even quieter than Beaumont-du-Périgord, but I would only say that is true off season; almost every single shop front listed prices in both English and French, and there were a staggering amount of estate agents geared towards Brits wanting to buy property in the region (though, if this remains the case post-Brexit remains to be seen.) While you're exploring, listen out for the village loud speakers positioned on the tops of buildings announcing upcoming community events, births, deaths, marriages and even special offers at the the weekly market with apparently is common in the area.
The Dordogne Valley is a frankly beautiful region of France with great food, great people, wonderful weather and a truly lovely atmosphere. I feel lucky to have been invited for such a great few days in the region, and it has cemented my view that I need to get out to explore other regions in France other than my little corner in Brittany. You can find all of my posts from the region here. No one knows what is going to happen now with regards to travel to and from the European Union now Britain have voted to leave, but they are still our closest neighbours, so I urge you to still get out and explore parts of Europe like the Dordogne Valley, and they are honestly worth the extra effort you'd put into travelling to other parts of the world.
I was a guest in the Dordogne Valley of Brive and Bergerac Airports and the local tourism boards. Thank you to representatives from the local tourist boards and social media agency We Love Travel for playing tour guide not just around these villages, but over the whole trip.