Out and About

St Emilion By Jordy Meow (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So much to see – South West Dordogne is tourist heaven

One of the reasons, the Dordogne region is so popular with tourists is that there’s such an abundance of wonderful, uniquely French sights and experiences to discover. This is a place rich in visual delights, both natural and man-made, reshaped over centuries of civilisation. From prehistoric cave paintings to world-famous wines, chateaus and fortified towns to plus beaux villages resplendent with medieval architecture.

On the doorstep

Lac de Gurson

Just a short 2.5km drive away, Lac de Gurson offers a great alternative day out when you feel like a break from sightseeing. Sandy beaches watched over by life guards, canoeing, fishing, horse riding, a children’s playground, cafés, restaurants and evening entertainment…

Less than 5 minutes by car.

Lac de Gurson

Photo: © Dordogne.fr

Saint Emilion

A breathtakingly beautiful medieval village in the heart of Bordeaux wine country. This World Heritage site may be best known for its fine wines, but with a history that stretches back 2000 years, it has much more to offer and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

More info about what to see and do in Saint Emilion

A 25-minute drive.


Within easy reach


One of the most important towns in southwest Dordogne, Bergerac offers visitors a glimpse of a bygone era with its many and magnificent medieval half-timbered buildings. Be sure to wander down to the quay and along the banks of the Dordogne river, where you can follow the footpath, take a picnic and admire the traditional gabarres boats ambling by.

A 35-minute drive.



Another of the region’s delightful bastide towns, with numerous half-timbered buildings, many adorned with ancient carvings and engravings. The town’s centre retains its original layout comprising a grid of eight straight roads around an open central square.

Around an hour away.

Photo: © Père IgorOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Once the seat of a 6th century monastery, Issigeac is now a warren of medieval buildings that delight the eye. The town’s tourist office is housed in one of the most elegant of the more recent and grander constructions, the Château d’Evêques de Sarlat.

Around an hour away.

By MOSSOT (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Another of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is remarkable for its monolithic underground church hewn into the rock face. Local houses make use of the region’s beautiful white stone – from which the town gets its name, aube terre meaning white earth.

Around an hour away.

Aubeterre sur Dronne

© Cobber17 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL


The capital of the Dordogne, Périgueux is a must for any history buffs. The Byzantine cathedral is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the model for the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre, Paris. There are many other buildings from the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. The Gallo Roman Vesunna Museum houses the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa, complete with mosaics and underfloor heating systems.

Around an hour away.

Aubeterre sur Dronne

Perigueux Cathedrale by Luidger [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Further afield


One of the most spectacular cities in Europe, Bordeaux is a World Heritage Site overflowing with sensory delights. The city has 11 museums, featuring some of the world’s finest art collections, along with natural history artefacts and insights into French customs and traditions.

The Place de la Bourse is a picture of architecture magnificence – breathtaking by day, captivating by night. La Cité du Vin is an incredible immersive and interactive cultural centre telling the story of the region’s iconic wine industry.

More information on Bordeaux’s wealth of attractions

1 hour 15mins by car. Or take the train from nearby Montpon-Ménestérol station, which is only 12 minutes drive from Belle Surprise.

Bourdeaux place de la bourse


Picturesque town with a mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture and distinctive old stone bridge and weir – the adjacent mill is now a hotel and restaurant. Aside from the buildings, be sure to make time for a stroll along the banks of the River Dronne, or if you fancy getting closer still to the water, hire a canoe. Around 1 hr 15 mins by car.

© Monster1000 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL


A popular break from the mainstream tourist trail, Angoulême is home to a fabulous comic and cartoon museum and host to the world’s biggest annual comic festival. Artists pay tribute to this heritage with a series of arresting and colourful murals around the city.

Every September the twisting hairpin roads leading up to the city centre are closed to traffic in preparation for the annual Circuit des Ramparts, which sees vintage racing cars compete over a three-day motoring extravaganza.

Around 1 hour 30 mins.

© Martin Brackstone, GiteWise

Sarlat-la-Canéda, Lascaux, Beynac, La Roque Gageac and more

If you don’t mind venturing out on a slightly longer trip, you’ll find several jewels of the Dordogne around an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes away. These include the Dordogne darling Sarlat la Canéda, the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, and two more feasts for the eyes rightfully acknowledged among Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: the fairy-tale charm of Beynac-et-Cazenac and the exquisite town of La Roque Gageac, perched under the cliffs alongside the Dordogne river.

Sarlat la Caneda

Sarlat-la-Canéda by Gilbert Bochenek (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons