The Dordogne has long been one of the most popular areas of France for British people (and others!) to visit and move to. Brimming with history, with utterly beautiful countryside and chocolate box villages, it’s easy to get to from the UK, offers fantastic local food and wine, and excellent value for property. Let me introduce you to some beautiful Dordogne villages for property buyers.
The lure of the Dordogne is deservedly very strong for anyone wanting to sample the delights of French living. Named after the river which runs through it, this is an area of hilltop villages, lush green stretches of land and romantic buildings. So, we’ve taken a look at five villages in the Dordogne that possess a certain buzz and charm which you just won’t find anywhere else!
Why the Dordogne and how easy is it to get to?
A road trip through the Dordogne will uncover many other stunning villages with a buzz. Check out also St Jean de Cole, Domme and Belves. This area generally has so much going for it, from its incredible history to its fine gastronomy and natural beauty. There are plenty of active things to do here from cycling, hiking, horse riding to golf and of course canoeing, kayaking and river swimming.
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Although it is a rural area, the Dordogne is well served for travel to and from the UK with its airports at Bergerac, Bordeaux and Brive-La-Gaillarde. For those with more time and who prefer a leisurely pace, there is a high-speed train from Paris down to Bordeaux in just 2 hours.
The minute you approach this stunning village, you are blown away by its beauty. Nestled alongside the river, it is buzzing with life and history which oozes from its ancient medieval fortress to its honey-coloured buildings, little cobbled streets and pretty houses. There are plenty of fine restaurants, cafes, art galleries and individual quirky shops, ideal for people watching or witnessing the canoers meandering along the river. It gets busy here in the summer months but you will always find somewhere to sit with a glass of local wine. If hiking or cycling are your bag, you will find some lovely countryside surrounding the village.
La Roque Gageac
Just along the road from Beynac, you will find this picture-postcard village, again with some wonderful soft yellow houses and pretty medieval streets. It’s best to walk into the village, which seems to have retained all of its charms. Aside from the shops and restaurants, it would seem that very little has changed here over the last 300 years!
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Officially noted as “one of the most beautiful village in France” there are nevertheless some modestly-priced properties here as well as some rather grand “maisons de maitres”.
This is located on a hillside above the river and is the perfect place to base yourself if you are keen on exploring the many local caves. The village is set on a hill, dominated by its 12th century church. As you come into the village you will approach the main Rue Gambetta where there are plenty of lovely restaurants, bars and small shops.
There is an excellent outdoor market here on a Sunday morning and lots going on all year round!
Some of the buildings in this street are amazing: pretty, wrought-iron balconies and carved stone surrounds. There is an excellent outdoor market here on a Sunday morning, perfect for a relaxing day out. There is lots going on all year round!
If you have never come across this stunning village, you need to make plans to visit! It truly has the “wow” factor. Perched on a cliffside, the setting is worthy of a movie. It will take your breath away. It was voted France’s favourite village in 2016 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since it is along the pilgrim route of Santiago de Compostela.
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The village is dominated by its main road, the rue de la Couronnerie, which has some wonderful medieval buildings. From here you come across a series of steps, “Le Grand Escalier”, which lead to a square with some significant religious buildings. Again, the village is busy in the summer months. Walking down the main street, you will find plenty of restaurants and cafes as well as small shops to explore.
One of the most popular villages in the Dordogne area, this large village is probably better known generally as one of the key places to visit in this region. It boasts the highest number of historical monuments of any town or village in France since 1962 when the Malraux law deemed it as such, with an aim to preserve the heritage of France’s medieval towns.
Close to here you will find the famous Lascaux caves with their Palaeolithic paintings. The village has appeared in many films, such is its beauty and is one of the most popular spots for tourists from around the world. There are plenty of pretty squares with pavement cafes in which to watch the world go by here.
This is not the cheapest area of France in which to buy property, but still, there are some remarkable bargains to be had, particularly just outside of the towns and villages. With average property prices at around €200,000 for a 2-3 bedroom house with a small garden, this is an area which is unlikely to lose its value and thus, any property purchase will be a good investment.
The Dordogne has come to be named “Dordogneshire”, such is its popularity with British people over very many years. If you are looking for somewhere beautiful to buy in France but with a strong expat community and lots to do, this will be the place for you. The French are used to us Brits coming over and doing up properties! Everyone rubs along very well indeed, in general. Maybe the very best of both worlds?