When it comes to planning your next holiday to France, it’s worth delving into the heart of the country to discover the Dordogne. This region is rich with history, culture and plenty to do whether it’s just the two of you or you have kids in tow. Here are 6 things to do on your next visit to the Dordogne:
1. Europe’s largest fresh water aquarium
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Aquarium Le Bugue is home to over 6,000 fish and is the largest fresh water aquarium in Europe. It’s a brilliant day out for families and adults alike, especially with the snappy edition of an alligator park. After all of the excitement, why not head back to Le Port de Limeuil (8 km away) and relax by the river?
2. The music legend’s château
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Château des Milandes was built in 1489 and is a beautiful example of renaissance architecture. Although the building fell into ruin during the French Revolution, it was eventually restored to its former glory during the 20th Century by legendary music hall star Josephine Baker. It’s worth a visit not only to wander the gardens or stop for lunch on the patio beneath its turrets, but to explore the 1930s interior decorated by Baker, which now acts as a tribute to the woman herself. The château is a 20-minute drive from Le Moulin de Paulhaic, a small river-side parc.
3. Brilliant local markets
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For a cheap and authentic way to pass the afternoon on holiday in the Dordogne, visit one of the brilliant markets that take place throughout the region. Most towns hold weekly markets, selling a range of homemade food, drink and souvenirs. One of our favourites is in medieval Sarlat, a stunning town in its own right, but a place that really thrives on the fantastic market atmosphere on Wednesday and Saturday. Les Grottes de Roffy is one of our closest parcs to Sarlat (6 km) and has a great restaurant on site too!
4. 3-in-1 theme park
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If you’re holidaying with toddlers then add Jacquou Parc to your list of places to go. This family-friendly parc has a water park, amusement area and animal farm, which are guaranteed to keep little ones occupied all holiday day long. After a few rounds on the bouncy castle or making friendswith the llamas and goats, stop for a picnic at the snack area or restaurant. Mini Paradise Parc St Avit Loisirs is packed with great extras for tots and a 15-minute car ride from Jacquou Parc.
5. Panoramic Périgord views
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Les Jardins (or The Gardens) de Marqueyssac are dominated by the vibrant green of thousands of boxwoods. Listed as a National Historical Monument, the gardens are perfect for summer days and evenings in the Dordonge. Visit during daylight and head to the Belvedere balcony that sits 130 metres above the Dordogne valley for Panoramic views of Périgord. On Thursday evenings during July and August the garden is lit by candlelight and is simply magical. Another pretty magical spot is Camping Le Capeyrou, the ultimate parc for glamping just 3 km from the gardens.
6. Stone Age artwork
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Did you know that the Dordogne Valley was one of the first places on earth to be inhabited by ancient man? That’s the story according the the Lascaux Caves, which house incredible Palaeolithic cave paintings created over 20,000 years ago. The original caves are closed now in order to protect the artwork, but you can visit the incredible replica next door to find copies of ‘The Great Black Bull’ and more! Stay at Le Paradis and you’ll be just 20 minutes from the caves.