Aquitaine Geography and Natural Beauty

La Roque Gageac on River Dordogne, Aquitaine, France

The Dordogne

With over 2,000 hours of sunshine and temperate climate, the natural beauty of the Dordogne (Perigord) is pleasing whatever the season.

The landscape varies enormously from the white chalk bluffs and limestone plateau of the Perigord Blanc to a land of evergreen oaks and enclosed valleys of the Rivers Dordogne and Vezere in Perigord Noir. Villages such as La Roque and the walled Bastide town of Domme are amongst the most beautiful in France.

In Perigord Pourpre, the wide fertile plains support agriculture and vineyards. Follow the ‘route des vins’ through Bergerac, Mobazillac and along the Dordogne River. Perigord Vert in the north has high hills and lush green valleys.

Walking, watersports and fishing are available in the protected Perigord-Limousin Regional Natural Park, and the Romanesque churches and Renaissance chateaux around Riberac display Dordogne’s rich cultural heritage.

Vezere Valley

Sometimes called the ‘Valley of Man’, the Vezere Valley contains evidence of 200 pre-historic settlements. This World Heritage Site is home to troglodyte dwellings carved into the soft limestone cliffs at La Roque St Christophe.

Discover wonders underground in caves displaying drawings of hunting scenes, horses, mammoths and rhinoceroses, along with magical symbols. Caves such as Ruffiac are open to the public.

Find out more at the Musee National de Prehistoire in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, and small village museums of local finds. The beautiful Vezere River is ideal for canoeing and kayaking in the summer months when it’s shallow and slow flowing. Hire equipment, including lifejackets at places such as ‘Canoe-Kayak’ in Montignac.

Dune du Pilat

The highest sand dune in Europe rises over 100m, 12km south of Arcachon. Steep as a ski jump, climb to the top using steps or the wall of sand for fantastic views over the Atlantic, Arcachon Bay and forests of the Landes.

The 2,700m long sand mountain has grown from 35m high since the mid nineteenth century and is constantly re-sculpted by wind and tide. A favourite with sand-boarders and paragliders, Dune du Pilat attracts a million visitors a year.

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