- On Saturday: in the city centre – all products from 8.30 am to 6 pm
- On Saturday morning : Place de la Liberté – food market from 8.30 am to 1 pm
- On Wednesday morning : small food market – Place de la Liberté from 8.30 am to 1 pm
- Off season : everyday (except on Thursday) from 8.30 am to 1 pm
- High season : everyday from 8.30am to 2pm. On Friday : from 9.30 am to 8 pm
Dordogne Holiday Barns
At Dordogne Holiday Barns we offer the perfect base for your family friendly Dordogne accommodation. Our converted barns offer plenty of space inside as well as the large lawned gardens which allow children to let of steam until their heart’s content.
Family Group Accommodation In The Dordogne
Our two converted barns can also be rented together to offer the perfect option for a large family gathering mixing generations and extended family.
In addition to the nearby swimming lake, there are plenty of activities (see our dedicated page) such as canoe trips to keep the little people more than happy.
The Sarlat Tourisme website has lots more information on family activities in the Dordogne.
Climate and Countryside
Although the Dordogne really is splendid throughout the year, it’s most impressive in spring. The fruit trees are in bloom, the vineyards spring to life and the sun shines as the days lengthen.
Spring in the Dordogne is also impressive as the wildlife returns: one of the most impressive sights is the return of the cranes which happens in early March normally.
Spring Activities in the Dordogne
The traditional activities of the Dordogne can be best appreciated in spring. Walking and hiking on deserted trails in the April sunshine is a real pleasure, as is visiting any number of historical sites without the hoardes – battling your way through the crowds at Lascaux in summer can be quite trying!
There are also plenty of local events linked to Easter and other festive periods. The Ringueta games of Sarlat are a celebration of traditional games, language (la langue d’oc) and culture. Tourists are encouraged to take part in the event which happens on Whitsun Sunday.
By far the best times to visit in terms of beating the crowds are spring and autumn. The summer months can be hectic, especially in the very popular tourist destinations such as Sarlat and Rocamadour. Springtime in the Dordogne offers guests the chance to take their time and really appreciate the medieval playground that’s on our doorstep.
Prices and Availability
Yep, prices go up in summer. Whether it’s flights, accommodation, car hire or just your everyday items, it’s a fact of life that things get more expensive when there’s higher demand. That’s why visiting the Dordogne in spring is perfect if you’re travelling on a budget, and if you can avoid the school holidays and half terms then even better.
Dordogne: A Brief History
The Dordogne really does possess and incredibly rich history with plenty of impressive finds dating back to pre-historic times, châteaux dating back to the middle ages and a strong Roman influence.
The paintings at the Lascaux Caves are one of the most impressive and best known manifestations of pre-historic art. Discovered in 1940 the caves are now open to visitors despite being beset by problems since opening up to visitors in 1948.
Lascaux II is in fact a replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls which was opened in 1983. It allows visitors to view the paintings whilst having a minimum impact on the originals.
Romans in the Dordogne
The major Roman towns of the Dordogne were Périgueux and Cahors. There are plenty of Roman ruins such as splendid villas which remind us of the lavish lifestyles the Romans had in the region.
There are also plenty of Roman churches (link in French) to visit which are, for the fan of Roman architecture, a real treat. A good place to start is Brantôme.
Wars in the Dordogne
Throughout history various invasions and wars have helped shape the political, economic and general make-up of the Dordogne. The Hundred Years’ War which pitted the House of Plantagenet against the House of Valois is one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, and one which helped shape not only the region of the Dordogne but the whole of France.
The Hundred Years’ War was still fresh in the memory when the War Of Religion took hold in the region, Catholics and Protestants fighting primarily over the Protestant stronghold of Bergerac.
Second World War in the Dordogne
The region really did find itself on the borderline of occupied and non-occupied France during the Nazi invasion.
This meant that – as with many regions of France – there was a strong sense of resistance and the Maquis (as pictured) were a very present.View Accommodation
Walking Holidays In The Dordogne, France
Many guests who stay with us here at Dordogne Holiday Barns enjoy walking in the Dordogne, discovering the many routes perfectly suited for all abilities. Late September and October are, in our opinions, perfect for walks as the colours remain vibrant and autumnal. The days are slightly cooler but there is still plenty of sunshine to keep everybody happy. Springtime, as everything comes into bloom, is also picture-perfect.
The Cicero Guide by Janette Norton is a good place to begin as it lists 30 lovely walks based around Sarlat and Bergerac, all with detailed maps and plenty of local information.
Walking Tours Around Sarlat
Sarlat is the perfect place for a walking trip as you can take in many amazing sites in one visit of this mythical medieval town. There are plenty of tips and even guided walking tours via the Sarlat Tourism website.
Walking Tours Amongst The Vineyards
Why not combine a walking trip with a visit to a vineyard or two? For those who enjoyed reading our piece on wines of the Dordogne you’ll no doubt want to get out there and discover the wines, wine-makers and vineyards for yourselves.
A good place to begin is at the Maison des Vins in Bergerac (web page in French), where we are reliably informed the staff will be more than happy to advise intrepid oenophiles on the best wineries to visit depending on your chosen itineraries.
Walking The Dordogne Off The Beaten Track
If you have an adventurous side and enjoy discovering places slightly further afield, then the Walking Dordogne website is a good place to start searching for inspiration. With information on the gloriously entitled ‘Trail of Wild Garlic’ and the equally impressive ‘In The Footsteps Of The Mammoth’ trail amongst others, this is the place for those who want to discover the real Dordogne.
Visit French Markets In The Dordogne
Whether it’s truffles, pink garlic from Toulouse, local fromages or traditional saucisson you’re after, a wander around one of the traditional French markets is sure to make your trip to the Dordogne even more special.
French Markets – Sarlat
Day Market (all year long)
Covered market (all year long) : Former Sainte Marie church – Place de la Liberté :
Organic night market : From the 17th of June to the 16th of September, it takes place Place du 14 Juillet (in front of the Post Office) every thursday from 6 to 10 pm.
French Markets – La Roque-Gageac
Le Marché des Gourmets et des Gourmands is a lovely event which takes place on the banks of The Dordogne river in the picturesque village of La Roque-Gageac.
Not only are there over 50 stalls with plenty of fantastic local produce, but there is also a medieval feel with music, dancing and a traditional banquet. More details on the Sarlat Tourism website.
French Markets – Gourdon
Nearby Gourdon has plenty of weekly markets, especially throughout the summer months. Saturday mornings is traditional market day, whereas there are additional markets on Sunday and Wednesday mornings throughout the summer.
There is also the Fête de l’Asperge on the 3rd May, celebrating the asparagus season. More details over on the Gourdon website.
Visit Château de Beynac
Just a stone’s throw from Sarlat and La Roque-Gageac, and a short journey from us here, is one of the region’s many amazing Châteaux. What sets Château de Beynac apart, however, is the quality of its restoration and upkeep, meaning visitors have access to an amazing piece of medieval history.
Château de Beynac Through History
When visiting you will be able to trace the story of the 12th century château and the many famous characters to have spent time within the fortress. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard ‘Coeur de Lion’ are just two of the famous names from history.
The site fell into the hands of the English and Richard the Lionheart for a short period. It was also a crucial strategic post during the 100 years war.
Stunning Location And Views
The location of the château offers stunning views not only of the Dordogne River and the valley, but also the lush, undulating countryside for miles around.
Opening Times and Prices
The château is open for most of the year, and you are free to visit alone or join a guided tour. Full details of prices and up to date opening times are available on the local tourism website.
Have a look at the Périgord – Dordogne tourist information website (in French) for more details on opening times and prices.View Other Activities
Canoe Trips On The Dordogne
Say Dordogne to most people and chances are they instantly think of leisurely paddling downstream through dappled sunlight and surrounded by nature. Most guests here at Dordogne Holiday Barns come to canoe the Dordogne, or at least enjoy a few hours paddling about on this magical river.
Canoe The Dordogne – Short Trips
Most people will enjoy anything from a few hours to an entire day on the river. An excellent way to travel and soak up the local environment, day trips generally vary from 9km (2hrs) to 25km (5-6hrs).
Probably the most popular day trip for people staying with us here is a 16km paddle from Carsac to Laroque-Gageac. You will spend roughly 3-4hrs on the water and take in the sights of Vitrac, Cénac and Domme as well as some spectacular cliffs.
Canoe The Dordogne – Overnight Trips
More adventurous souls are tempted by overnight canoe trips on the Dordogne. Tour operators can transport you and all the equipment you will require up stream as far as Argentat (over 125km away) and let you descend the river at your own pace.
There are plenty of riverside campsites en-route and booking is not necessary. You can simply land, pitch up and enjoy a night under the stars.
As a rule of thumb you will expect to cover about 20km in a day and so you can plan your trip accordingly. The CanoeVacances website is a good place to start researching and planning your trip.
Canoe The Dordogne – Eye Witness
To get a true flavour of what the Dordogne can offer read this piece in the New York Times from Christopher Shaw. It gives nice insights into what’s on offer and some handy tips for those who have not ventured on the river before.
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Domme – A Little History
Domme was, like so many towns along the Dordogne, founded on un-inviting sheer cliffs primarily to keep invaders at bay. Two main public places – Place de la Halle and the Place de La Rode – preserve the telling signs of the medieval origins of Domme.
Domme has been the site of bitter disputes throughout history, most notably during the 100 years war and the wars of religion.
Domme – Plus Beaux Villages de France
Domme is now classified as one of the plus beaux villages de France. Here is what they have to say:
“Some ten kilometres south of Sarlat, Domme is perched on a breathtakingly high cliff that allows it to enjoy an exceptional view of the Dordogne valley and the neighbouring Most Beautiful Villages of La Roque-Gageac and Beynac-et-Cazenac. This creamy-stoned “bastide” or fortified village boasts a successful combination of architectural, natural and gastronomic heritage typical of Périgord Noir.”
Domme – Restaurants and Cafés
A trip to Domme should undoubtedly be rounded off with lunch or dinner. There are plenty of stylish cafés and restaurants to choose from such as Cabanoix et Chataîgne, a traditional place with nice, modern twists. They offer good value food with a strong emphasis on local produce ‘selon le marché’, which translates literally as according to the market.
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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