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Travel guide
Dordogne

The Dordogne department is made up of 4 Périgords, each with its own colour and identity: Purple in the south reminiscent of Bergerac wines, White in the centre is a country of limestone plateaus, Green in the north with its rivers, Black with its forests and truffles. Cradle of prehistory, the department has major sites that can be found in all tourist guides: Les Eyzies known for its many caves and its National Museum of Prehistory, and especially Lascaux IV, an almost complete replica of the Lascaux cave with its magnificent rock paintings. It is also the country of a thousand and one castles. Many fortresses are perched on rocks like Beynac and Castelnaud, others dominate the countryside like Hautefort and its magnificent gardens or the Milandes, formerly owned by Josephine Baker. Brantôme-en-Périgord is nicknamed the "Green Venice of Périgord". Sarlat, the birthplace of La Boétie, is adorned with superb 15th-16th century mansions and Domme offers a breathtaking view of the Dordogne valley. Nature also has its place. Hiking is practiced over 200 km of GR, on the road to Santiago de Compostela or on footpaths open to mountain bikers. Thanks to its rivers and streams, the department is rich in nautical activities, particularly on the Vézère, Dordogne and Dronne rivers. Périgord is also a land of delicacies. Truffles, strawberries, ceps, walnuts, foie gras and Bergerac wines make it a mecca for gastronomy.

What to see, what to do Dordogne?

When to go Dordogne ?

When to go to the Dordogne? The Dordogne remains an ideal family destination all year round, but the high season is summer because many sites, accommodation and restaurants close in winter, especially in the Périgord Noir. Spring and autumn are to be favoured, not only are there fewer people but accommodation prices are falling drastically. On the other hand, the Dordogne often enjoys mild weather during the off-seasons which are never very cold. In summer, the tourist manna is concentrated mainly in the Périgord Noir, which offers many activities: swimming, canoeing on very congested rivers, visits to the heritage and caves, hiking. There are many events and festivals. Not to be missed on the 1st weekend of July, the Félibrée. It is a great Occitan celebration organized each year in a different town. In Nontron, the knives are sharpened at the beginning of August with craftsmen and designers from all over France. At the end of July the International Mime Festival invades Périgueux while Sarlat welcomes more than 7,000 spectators each year at the end of July and beginning of August for the Sarlat Theatre Games Festival. At the end of July, Montignac is in the spotlight of international folklore with its festival Cultures au cœur. The concerts of the Festival du Périgord noir take place from July to October in Romanesque churches in different villages. Sportsmen can try their hand at the 3rd weekend in April at the 100 kilometres of Belvès. As for gourmands, they will enjoy the farmers' markets on summer evenings, the fat and truffle markets from October to March and the truffle festival in Sorges and Ligueux in January.

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Discover Dordogne

It is definitely a favourite destination! Anchored in its land and its traditions, it is no less known and appreciated throughout the world, thanks to its landscapes, its history and especially its gastronomy. The Périgord has preserved an identity that is strongly rooted in its land, but which today is nourished by a renewed interest in simple, genuine, natural things. Dordogne, a department with a sense of welcome, celebration and sharing, as shown by its many festivals. The Périgord is rich in contrasts and stone heritage, from ornate caves to castles. Nature is of a rare generosity, as it has been feeding mankind since the dawn of time. It offers its visitors grandiose scenery for outdoor activities, on land or on water.

Pictures and images Dordogne

Gabare sur la Dordogne VINCENT FORMICA
Château de Beynac. OSTILL is Franck Camhi - Shutterstock.com
Bourdeilles JIMJAG - FOTOLIA
Le château des Milandes fut le

The 12 keywords Dordogne

1. Jimbourat

In the not so distant past, each family killed its pig between Christmas and February. Then, the neighbours would come and dip the jimbourat, the broth used to cook the pigs, in which vegetables and bones were simmering. This broth was poured over slices of bread to make a very fatty and comforting soup, for a nice moment of conviviality.

2. Gouyassou

It is the commonly used francisation of an Occitan term for a little boy. The term is declined in gouya for the teenager and gouyate for the teenager. These two terms have somewhat pejorative connotations in their contemporary use. Before being a gouyassou, the young man is a funny man and the girl a droléta. So be careful

3. Lauzes

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This is the roofing system used in the traditional dwellings of the Périgord Noir and in the dry-stone huts of the vernacular architecture. The lauzes are flat stones, roughly flattened. The basic stone is limestone. There are still craftsmen in the Périgord who are able to make this type of roofing.

4. Meita se, meita pork

"Half dogs, half pigs". This is the line, far from being an insult, that referred to the Périgourdins in reference to their resourcefulness during the struggle between the State and the Caussenards. Taxes, salt taxes, and requisitions were at the origin of this insurrection. It was not good to be a tax collector at that time!

5. Cingle

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The term "cingle" represents a hill that follows the meanders of the Dordogne, Vézère or Lot rivers. Its slope facing the river is generally steep. From Trémolat, you will admire a unique panorama on the cingle of the Dordogne. Moreover, the term of cingle also indicates a large snake, reptile living in the wood.

6. Verjuice

The verjuice is the very acid juice extracted from grapes that have not had time to ripen. In cooking, it was a good substitute for lemon juice (rare here in the past) or vinegar in vinaigrettes, mustards, in the preparation of meat or fish dishes and sauces. It was emblematic of traditional Perigordian cuisine

7. Cavage

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The word cavage is derived from the Latin cavus, meaning hollow. It gave rise to the words cavern, cavity. The verb caver is borrowed from the Latin cavare which means to dig. It is a vocabulary nowadays linked to truffles. To caver is to extract the truffle from the ground. The caveur is the person who looks for it using the cavadou, or truffle pick.

8. Buffadou

It is a traditional "blower" to fan the fire. It is a long wooden tube, in which one blows to direct the air towards a precise place of the hearth that one had lit. A remarkably efficient precision tool, its use can sometimes produce a farting noise that does not fail to amuse young and old alike!

9. Blanche

Blanche is the brandy obtained from the grape marc, also called goutte or fine. It is often perfectly translucent, but can be coloured after a passage in oak barrels. Note that in Périgord, brandy was made from all the local fruits, especially mirabelle plums and cherries, especially to avoid wasting

10. Trempil

A summer snack, which consisted of drinking a bowl of red wine cut with iced and sweetened water, in which bread was soaked. The dip had the property of shaking, satiating, refreshing and quenching at the same time, both adults and children at snack time. Other times, other customs... far from the food industry

11. Chabròl

Faire chabrot, or chabròl in Occitan, is a local custom which consists of adding red wine to the plate to dilute the liquid when there is still some soup left. Then, the whole thing is brought to the mouth, and swallowed with great gulps while making as much noise as possible. No, that's a grandfatherly joke!

12. Gabarre

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The gabarre, from the Occitan gabarra, was a flat-bottomed boat called a "sol", with a shallow draught, which was used to transport goods. The Dordogne River thus became a major trade route between the Périgord and the Atlantic coast. It made merchants rich by transporting wine, wood, minerals and food.

You are from here, if...

If you say "rapiette" to designate a lizard. An Occitan word par excellence, you won't hear it anywhere else, unless it's been stolen from us.

If you eat bread with your pasta and each of your dishes. The Perigordian has a solid appetite and this is not a local legend.

If your heart beats for the oval ball. Here, when you are little, you play ball, when you are big, you play rugby.

If cooking is second nature to you. You buy your raw foie gras at the market and you make your own winter preserves. When you were a child, your family also "made" the pig, which was sometimes called "le Monsieur" on certain farms. This shows the respect we had for the animal that provided the meat for the year.

If you say "Cabanes" and not "Bories", to designate these rural constructions lining the formerly cultivated lands along your hiking trails.

If you like to tease those who have the sharp accent that you have managed to lose.

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