Home France The most charming villages of France – Along the Dordogne River

The most charming villages of France – Along the Dordogne River

written by ipanematravels 13th May 2017
Argentat, France, Dordogne River, clear sky, mirror effect water

Small charming villages is the specialty of France and as the summer is just across the corner, here is my suggestion of what to visit along the Dordogne River. This is my choice of places we had visited last summer during our 10 days holidays in France. If you have no idea how to spend those precious days from your annual paid leave, I’ll be happy to inspire you and to make you follow my itinerary.

Normally, I always choose a beautiful place as a base to explore a region. Thus, we have a home base, we don’t need to move and we can explore everything around in a radius of one day travel. If we don’t want to go to places, then we just stay and enjoy the little gem I’ve chosen. During our last summer’s holidays we were staying in a camping near Argentat. Most of the places included on this itinerary are already on the official list of the Most Beautiful Villages of France (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France), which, of course, was my primary reference material when putting together this journey.


The Dordogne is a river in the central part of Southern France. It crosses 5 departments (Puy-de-Dôme, Corrèze, Lot, Dordogne and Gironde) and 3 regions (Auvergne, Limousin and Périgord) before it flows into the Gironde near Bordeaux. The upper part of the Dordogne is characterized by fast waters flowing through deep gorges with vertical cliffs and steep banks. After Argentat the river gets calmer and in Périgord the valley opens wide.



Argentat-sur-Dordogne is a small town on the Dordogne River with tiny streets, old houses and lively riverside. We enjoyed a few lovely evenings sitting outside at one of the numerous restaurants on the riverbank, watching the sunset colouring the houses on the other bank in gold, red and purple. I must admit that Argentat is not on the official list, but you can judge it yourself – isn’t it simply postcard-worthy?

Les Jardins d’Eau

We are great lovers of parks and gardens and I always try to include at least one or two on our itinerary. This time we went to this beautiful botanical garden in Carsac, near Sarlat. They have a lovely collection of water plants, water lilies and lotuses. You can easily spend there a whole day, walking around and enjoying the beauty of this water inspired garden.


My favourite place from these holidays! Domme is another small village on the Dordogne River that offers absolutely stunning views on the valley. It has also a busy market street with a lot of little shops where you can buy souvenirs and handcrafts.


Rocamadour is a medieval village clinging to the rocks and hanging above the Alzou River gorge, offering some dramatic views of the countryside. Besides of being a popular tourist destination, it is also a famous pilgrimage place.


Loubressac was the cutest of all villages we had visited along the Dordogne River. Very small, perched on a hill, it will make you feel as if you go back in time. Not very touristy but absolutely worth the visit!


Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne has a lovely historical town centre. It doesn’t have the dramatic setting of some of the other villages on this itinerary, as the river flows slowly and majestically through the place calming down the nature and the visitors.

Les Tours de Merle

Well, technically, the Tours de Merle are not located along the Dordogne but along one of its tributaries – La Maronne. These picturesque ruins of a 13 c. castle are sticking out of a lavishly green island in the middle of a forest. You can almost sense the ritters passing by and the jangle of their heavy armour.

Les Fermes du Moyen Age

Les Fermes du Moyen Age is an open-air ethnographic museum depicting the rural life in the Middle Ages in France. There’s a medieval garden with plants and the various farms are actually functioning – animals are bred and kept there, crops are grown and harvested.


Bort-les-Orgues is famous for the Château de Val – a beautiful castle on the lake created after the building of the dam on the river. The dam itself is pretty impressive, as well. This part of the Dordogne River is marked by a series of dams and hydro-electrical power stations.


10 days were quickly over and I must admit that I had planned more than we could have visited even if our holidays were a whole month. But that’s the best part – to leave a place with the feeling that you are not done yet there, that you have to come back and back again, although you perfectly know that next time it’s gonna be another place, another country… always following this insatiable wanderlust to visit the unknown, to see the unseen.

Where to stay?

The Dordogne region offers different types of accommodations, from fancy hotels, to B&B’s (the so called gîtes), and resorts. We chose a camping exactly on the river with great views and a small castle.

Ready to head to France and discover this beautiful region? Here you can find the best deals on accommodation. Click for more information.



Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The whole trip was exclusively paid by me. However, it contains affiliate links. If you click on the above link and book accommodation I will earn a small amount at no extra costs for you. This will help me run the blog. 

Do you want to know more about the specific places from the itinerary – follow my blog. I will publish a separate guide for each place from the above itinerary.

And you, how many places have you visited from the official list of the Most Beautiful Villages of France? Which is your favourite one?

Where are those charming places located? Click on the map below:

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[…] France […]

erynmacgillivray 10th June 2017 at 10:12 am

This post made me miss France so much!! Your photographs are absolutely gorgeous and they make me want to visit again ASAP!

ipanematravels 10th June 2017 at 11:04 am


Amy - Page Traveller 8th June 2017 at 7:49 pm

Oh wow, this place looks so beautiful! It looks like a fairytale village. Thanks for sharing – the photos are gorgeous.

Minna 8th June 2017 at 9:11 am

I’ve not visited any but they all look so pretty! They remind me of the village in Beauty & the Beast! I’ve always wanted to travel France- perhaps in a few years!

Erika 8th June 2017 at 4:31 am

Stunning towns! What a cool trip! Isn’t that so true, leaving a place wanting to go back but knowing the road will take you elsewhere?

ipanematravels 10th June 2017 at 11:04 am

Exactly! I would love to go back, but in another lifetime. This one won’t be enough to see everything!

Isadora Koller 8th June 2017 at 3:10 am

I just love these small villages that look like time capsules, they totally make you feel like you are in medieval era!!

missairportsandpassports 8th June 2017 at 2:36 am

These are all great suggestions!! When I return to France, I would like to take a tour of the countryside. The pics I’ve seen are beautiful!! I can’t wait to visit southern France!!

Jamie Joyner 8th June 2017 at 12:49 am

I could spend my entire vacation photographing that Monet garden! What a beautiful and serene location.

Meg 7th June 2017 at 11:27 pm

These are wonderful! Each of these towns looks like something out of a storybook, not to mention the castles! And I am a big fan of maps in posts, and you gave me one. Perfect!

Danielle Jones 7th June 2017 at 7:01 pm

I love France, this village looks incredibly beautiful! Your pictures are stunning

Genie | Gallivanting Bean 7th June 2017 at 6:38 pm

omg what a cute little place! I’ve never ventured out of Paris and it’s definitely time to. This village looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale

neha 26th May 2017 at 6:23 pm

the true beauty of europe really lies along the countryside. This village is so beautiful. It looks like a postcard picture. I will definitely visit here when I go to Europe next

Sara 25th May 2017 at 7:36 am

There is so much beautiful in all of these river side towns and villages. France has so much to offer when it comes to the variety in regions but there is something about this place that makes me want to visit 🙂

Jewels 25th May 2017 at 4:49 am

These are lovely!!!!! I want to visit them all. I have to see them in person!

The Wanderlust Dietitian 25th May 2017 at 2:44 am

OMGOSH! This is something out of Beauty and The Beast! I love these villages. We went on a 3week road trip last year throughout France! So much Beauty!

Alice Ford 25th May 2017 at 1:02 am

What beauty. I especially like the water lilly garden. Straight out of a Monet.

ipanematravels 29th May 2017 at 8:17 pm

Yep, it reminds on the water garden in Giverny.

Natalie Anastasia 24th May 2017 at 11:54 pm

What an amazing idea for a post! I love charming villages like this so I would be thrilled to visit any / all of these! I’ve only been to Paris and Marseille in France so far but hope to return soon <3

csaradar 24th May 2017 at 11:40 pm

Chateau de Val looks fabulous! France has just an endless supply of charming villages it seems! I hope to visit soon!

Theresa 24th May 2017 at 9:08 pm

Absolutely gorgeous photos. Your post illustrates just how different, and charming, all of these villages are!

broganab 24th May 2017 at 7:37 pm

Oh wow! They all look like fairytale villages. I need to explore France more. I’m not that far after all… Thanks for sharing! 🙂

This Epic World 24th May 2017 at 6:56 pm

France has my heart! Such beautiful villages make me want to shift there ! <3

Memoirs of a Globetrotter 15th May 2017 at 12:35 am

I haven’t been to any of these villages. They all look so charming! I’m most interested in Château de Val. I’ll keep these villages in mind the next time I visit France.

tourdelust 13th May 2017 at 10:37 pm

These villages are charming indeed! They’re so cute and I need to visit! I hope I can make a trip here soon!

Katy Clarke 13th May 2017 at 11:20 am

Simply beautiful. This is my favourite region of France and you’ve captured it splendidly. Rocamadour is straight out of a fairytale isnt it?

ipanematravels 13th May 2017 at 2:01 pm

Thanks! And I absolutely agree about Rocamadour!


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