Discover the Delights of the Dordogne

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When we travel to France we are laden with expectations of all this country symbolizes to travellers: its rich food and wine scene, grandiose chateaux, cultural offerings and inimitable style. It never disappoints. But it sometimes surprises!

Joining us today is our guide Ann, who lives and works in the Dordogne region in southwest France. The Dordogne is home to the beautiful Vezere Valley, where travellers will find the largest concentration of prehistoric sites in all of Europe. We don’t often associate France with pre-history, but Ann is an expert in the field of pre-historic cave art, and can show you an art scene that goes beyond Renoir, Matisse and Gaugin!

Discover the Dordogne in the Perigord – rich in culture, history and natural beauty, this is one of the most beautiful areas in France.

The Dordogne is a treasure trove of fascinating places to visit; from the Paleolithic Age to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

There are the picturesque and unspoiled fortified medieval villages such as Sarlat and Domme with their cobbled streets and warm, honey-coloured sandstone walls. The Dordogne also holds a thousand chateaux all in different styles, with rich and turbulent pasts, and there are many beautiful, listed, landscaped gardens.

The area is renowned for its delicious gourmet cuisine, with local specialties of duck, wild boar, cépes (porcini), walnuts, truffles and freshly made chocolates. And of course we can’t forget its excellent red, white and rosé Bordeaux and Bergerac wines.

The Vezere Valley is a listed UNESCO site, where the Dordogne River meanders through a stunning countryside of rolling hills and dramatic cliffs. This valley is the heartland of prehistory where you will find the largest concentration of prehistoric sites in Europe. There are wonderfully inspiring decorated caves and rock shelters containing art work that dates back 30,000 years. Prehistoric man chose these caves to speak across the centuries. Their artwork is emotive and enigmatic. Fifteen of these ancient sites are now UNESCO world heritage sites.

The region also hosts two of the largest collections of prehistoric art in Europe. One is in the beautiful National Prehistoric Museum in Eyzies.

Other caves in the region offer huge, spectacular caverns filled with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites.

Or you could simply float down the ‘hope river’ on a comfortable gabare, a replica of the 18th century barge once used to transport wine, wood and spices up and down the Dordogne River. A major river trade centre in the heyday of inland navigation, here you will learn about the working history of the river, legendary castles and the local bird and wild life.

As a professional artist I can create art tours where I will show you how to make your own diary journal. On this tour you will be able to create something personal that you can expand on and take with you on all your future travels. Walk in the footsteps of Matisse and Monet as we breathe in the landscapes of the Dordogne, exploring your own creativity.

Tailor-made, engaging, informal tours to suit each traveller’s individual interests are Ann’s specialty; if you’d like to get off the beaten track and explore with her in 2016, start a conversation with her! You can reach Ann through her ToursByLocals guide profile.
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