The wider region

If you do want longer trips, here are some of our suggestions.

The country to the east of the A20 motorway, called “La Causse” is open limestone country with gorges and caves along the Dordogne river. The most famous tourist destination is Rocamadour, a medieval town build almost vertically up the side of a very deep gorge . You can park at either the top or the bottom and go up and down by funicular railway or by walking 1000s of steps!  It is a famous pilgrim site and the faithful climbed the steps on their knees! Also go on to visit the spectacular caves at Padirac and travel on the underground river.

Further south-eastwards you can travel back in time to ancient man and the cave paintings of Peche Merle.

To the west of the A20, from the River Dordogne in the north to the River Lot in the south, is “La Bouraine”, rolling country of woods, small fields and pretty villages – Cotswolds in the sun.

It is worth exploring both the Lot and the Dordogne river valleys. They are both very pretty, but the scenery is different.

The Lot valley, to the south, is home to the Cahors Appellation vineyards.

Drive along the south side of the Lot, westwards from Cahors to Fumel to visit these and enjoy wine tastings. The wines from this area are full bodied and almost purple in colour, dominated by the variety Malbec. They are little known in the UK but well worth trying.

The Dordogne valley is famous for its wealth of castles, most dating from the 14th and 15th centuries and the hundred year’s war, when they were either held by the English keeping out the French or vice-versa.  Towns worth seeing (moving from east to west along the river) include;

Souillac; an attractive market town with one of the best markets and a range of concerts and galleries.

Sarlat; a typical regional market town but with a stunning mediaeval centre.

Montfort; a renovated castle on the edge of a very high cliff looking down on the river. 

Domme; a bastide village perched high on a rock with breathtaking views along the Dordogne valley and lots of good retaurants.

La Roque-Gageac; a narrow village squashed between the river and vertical cliffs. There are troglodyte caves in the cliffs and one of the best restaurants in the area, La Belle Etoile, on the main road.

Beynac; an ancient castle perched high above the village with dramatic views over the river valley

Castelnaud-la-chappelle; another ancient castle high on a rock!

Explore some of the area on youtube and be amazed!

Moving east from Souillac, visit;

Martel; a beautiful town with good restaurants and a restored narrow gauge steam railway.

Collonges la Rouge; a mediaeval town built in red stone.

North of the Dordogne, it is also worth visiting the pre-historic caves at Lascaux, pre-historic sites at Les Ezies and the spectacular topiary in the gardens at Marquessac and Eyrignac.

Further afield, you might enjoy a train ride from Gourdon to Toulouse and a visit to the city’s pink brick mediaeval centre.

For very local Chateau;

Chateau Fenelon; a family owned chateau with spectacular views and glorious period furnishings is well worth the visit.

Chateau la Treyne; a beautiful chateau with luxurious accommodation and gourmet food.