Driving Holidays In Dordogne

Le château de Hautefort, Hautefort,  Dordogne.
The Dordogne region is one of the most rewarding and pleasant holiday destinations that you could drive to easily from the UK. It is not excessively far from the Channel ports in France and many consider it to be perfectly situated for people who want to drive and tour over the course of a week. For locations that are further south, then you really ought to think about a ten day or fortnight’s holiday.

Heading to the Dordogne usually means navigating your way through Normandy, itself an enjoyable place to visit. Many holidaymakers like to experience the fun of the open country roads in Normandy and the Loire Valley, noticing the changing landscape as they enter Dordogne. Even from the main road you will begin to notice the difference in the local architecture as you head further south into this fascinating region.

Rural Dordogne

The region is mostly made up from rural communities which reflect the agricultural roots of the area. However, by far the majority of Dordogne’s villages and hamlets are in excellent condition and well-maintained. Rural it may be, but rustic it is not. One of the best times to go is in spring when the roadside verges are full of wild meadow flowers. Dordogne is also a wine growing region of some repute. Late summer can be busy, as a consequence, due to the influx of grape pickers. At most times of year, over than the harvest season, vineyard owners will welcome passers-by to stop and sample the local produce. You can do this for free, but expect something of a sales pitch before you leave.

Urban Dordogne

Bergerac is well worth a visit if you want to give the kids something to do other than look at chateaux. There’s a great water park here which all of the family can enjoy. There is also an art gallery and a karting centre if you want to try something adventurous. Those of a romantic nature will like to seek out the statue of Cyrano de Bergerac located on Place de la Myrpe.

In Périgueux, the region’s capital, there is a wonderful twelfth century cathedral worth driving to. It is listed as part of the World Heritage Sites. There is also Roman ampitheatre and villa to discover. Périgueux is blessed with some excellent places to eat and gastronomy features high in many of the restaurants here.

Getting About

Roads in Dordogne are generally in excellent condition. Most of the major N routes are easy to navigate your way around. Some of the smaller roads, especially the D class, have high hedges in places. Because the area is so popular with cyclists, always take care when heading around bends as you may not be able to see them in a right-hand drive car. Taking out additional car excess insurance is always worth it when driving abroad, but particularly so in this part of France.


Self catering accommodation comes in the form of gites in Dordogne. You can always find plenty of hotels in the larger built up areas, but in rural parts you may need to book a bed and breakfast, especially in the summer. There are also plenty of campsites and the municipal ones are usually very high-quality indeed.

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