Real Family Friendly Dordogne Holidays
Are we there yet? How many times have we sat in the car, listening to the kids in the back slowing chipping away at our patience? Well, at least on arrival in the Dordogne they will not be disappointed. This little part of what we like to think of as paradise is a veritable treasure trove, offering truly family friendly Dordogne holidays.
Child Friendly Activities In The Dordogne
We all know, from years of experience, that little people need entertainment, excitement, plenty of activities. Whether it be canoeing down the Dordogne River, mountain biking or climbing through trees on high wires, there are plenty of activities for little people here at our Holiday Barns.
Places To Visit In The Dordogne
It can wear you out all of this running around, so having a multitude of slightly calmer places to visit on your doorstep can help. Whether it be pre-historic caves, monkey sanctuaries or medieval castles, there are plenty of options for the intrepid young explorer.
Goufre de Padirac underground caves. Visit their facebook page.
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Enjoy Cycling In The Dordogne
Many guests who visit us here at Dordogne Holiday Barns comment on the lovely rides on offer for those who enjoy cycling in the Dordogne. In fact many come to visit specifically for the cycling.
The hills are gentle, the countryside stunning and the rewards are simply breath-taking for those who venture out on two wheels. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a lycra lover or Bernard Hinault to get out and enjoy the quiet country lanes.
Cycling Les Voies Vertes In The Dordogne
Les Voies Vertes are a network of cycle routes which run throughout France. Although many guests leave the barns here with their map or gps in hand ready to plough their own furrow, another great option is making the most of the existing network of cycle routes – Les Voies Vertes.
Voie Verte – Sarlat Dordogne
The routes displayed on the map below (from Sarlat Toursime) offer some great opportunities for the recreational cyclist in Dordogne. There are various start and end points and you will be treated to a wealth of châteaux and beautiful towns and villages along the way.
Our friends at Freewheeling France have a lovely route which takes in 10 Châteaux, Sarlat, La Roque-Gageac and many other stunning little places, all in under 60km of beautiful cycling.
Bike Hire In The Dordogne
We know that once you have packed the clothes, the children’s clothes, the dog and what seems like everything but the kitchen sink, well there isn’t much space left for bikes!
We enjoy working with Bike Hire Direct who offer good quality mountain bikes and deliver direct to the gîtes. If you’re looking for more specific bikes such as a good quality road bike you may wish to consult the Freewheeling France website or ask on their facebook page.View Other Activities
La Roque Gageac, Dordogne France
Renowned as one of France’s Plus Beaux Villages de France, here’s a taster of what they say about La Roque Gageac:
‘In Périgord Noir, at the foot of a south-facing cliff, the creamy stone houses with their “lauze” stone slab or brown-tiled roofs are mirrored in the waters of the River Dordogne where the famous “gabares” (traditional flat-bottomed boats) laden with goods used to pass in the 19C.’
Yellow Stone Buildings of La Roque-Gageac
Like so many pretty little villages in this part of SW France, La Roque-Gageac is typified by the traditional houses made from the local yellow stone of the Dordogne. Many of these pretty houses follow the contours of the river, with others perched precariously on cliff-sides.
La Roque Gageac Troglodyte Forts
Perched even more precariously some 40 metre up the cliffs are the 12th Century Troglodyte Fortresses of La Roque Gageac, looking down on the village they were built to protect and the impressive Manoir de Tarde.
Canoeing At La Roque Gageac
Like so many parts of the Périgod and Dordogne, some of the real pleasures are to be had upon the water. Gently paddle your way down-stream past La Roque Gageac to appreciate the true splendour of this lovely village.View Accommodation
Sarlat-la-Canéda, Dordogne, France
Sarlat is probably the Dordogne’s best known town. It is a delightful medieval town which developed around the Benedictine Abbey and the impressive cathedral. The Jewel of the region know as Périgord Noir, Sarlat attracts a multitude of visitors each year.
The History Of Sarlat
Sarlat is a Medieval Town which grew around the Benedictine Abbey which was initially founded in the 9th Century. Through Medieval times Sarlat became an extremely important market town and many of the impressive buildings and houses we see now were constructed by wealthy merchants during this period.
Following the French Revolution Sarlat, like the rest of France, took on a more secular feel and lost its Bishop. The town, although remaining an important market town locally, never gained national notoriety due to the distance from major trading routes. This is what undoubtedly means the many impressive buildings remained un-touched and manage to maintain their original beauty.
Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful old French town, jam-packed with nonsensical planning, maze-like streets and amazingly pretty old stone buildings. This is Sarlat.
The old town of Sarlat is a tourist’s dream, largely bereft of cars and a splendid hotch potch of cobbled streets and old stone houses. You will find yourself stumbling upon such delights as the last remaining ramparts, the Cathedral and the Jardin des Enfeus.
No day trip is complete without a lazy coffee in the mid-morning sunshine or lunch on the terrace of one of the town’s stylish cafés or restaurants.
Food In Sarlat – Le Gastronomie
The town of Sarlat, like many in SW France, is particularly renowned for truffles (les truffes) and foie-gras. Should you happen to visit in January then be sure to look out for the Fête de la Truffe, and February is when you may be lucky enough to stumble upon the Fest’Oie which celebrates the goose.
Sarlat Markets – Les Marchés
Sarlat grew as a commercial focal point, and so markets have played an important part in the town’s development since medieval times. This tradition continues today with a vibrancy rarely replicated. There is a blend of markets on most days in the town.
Saturday is the traditional Market Day, with a large market in the town centre all day long and a food market in place at the Place de la Liberté from early morning until lunchtime. Wednesday morning also sees a smaller food market welcomed to the Place de la Liberté.
Sarlat’s indoor market is housed in the former church of Sainte Marie and is open every day throughout the year (except Thursdays in the winter months). Generally open (and thriving) in the mornings, you can also shop throughout the day on Fridays in the summer season.
At specific times of year you will also find seasonal markets such as the truffle and foie-gras markets in winter or the organic food market in the summer.
As with all of the information, the local tourist office is very helpful.
The Village Of Rocamadour
Rocamadour, one of France’s most visited villages, clings to the cliff of the Alzou canyon. Famed for its stunning location and historic monuments the village is set within a gorge high above a tributary of the Dordogne River.
This stunning village is just one of many wonderful places to visit in the Dordogne.
Pilgrimages To Rocamadour
Rocamadour is classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and forms part of the Chemin St Jaques or Santiago De Compostella.
As with many pilgrim sites, the origins of the miracles and legends are somewhat blurred. One thing we do know, however, is that following war and the French Revolution the village became practically deserted. Rocamadour became revived in the mid nineteenth century and thrives on a staple diet of year-round tourism nowadays.
Rocamadour is home to its own cheese. A goat’s cheese which is generally eaten young, one particularly delicious way to enjoy is warm on fresh bread or toast with a fresh green salad to accompany!
Aged Rocamadour cheeses, which become harder and more intense, are perfect with a local red wine.