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The Four Perigords of the Dordogne
The Dordogne, also well-known under the former name Périgord can be found in the south West region of France and forms part of the Aquitaine region. Its name originates from the river Dordogne which runs through the whole region.
The locals are referred to as Périgourdins and the population is currently around 400,000. And the capital Périgueux has only 30,000 inhabitants Dordogne is the third largest province in France. For our standards the cities in the Dordogne are large villages.
The area is divided in four areas and each has its own unique style and believe it or not, it’s own colour.
Périgord Noir (The Black Périgord) This region gets its name from the many dark oak forests that can be found throughout. Its capital is the stunning medieval Sarlat, just north of the Dordogne River, and is famous for the exceptional number of buildings registered or classified as historical. Sarlat has been the backdrop to many historic films thanks to its buildings being so well preserved. The area is full of castles, prehistoric rockpaintings and caves, the most famous of which is probably the Lascaux II and Grotte de Rouffignac. The two largest rivers, the Dordogne and the Vézère dominate the area and they unite in Limeuil and continue as the Dordogne. There are plenty of river cruises that run which allows you to take in some amazing landscape views.
Périgord Vert (The Green Périgord) Périgord Vert was given its name thanks to the large amount of green landscape. The high amount of rainfall in the area allows for luscious leafy green scenery. The capital is Notron and is known for is relatively small population compared to other capitals in the region. The western part of Périgord Vert is known for having the better views thanks to its more hilly terrain, properties tend to offer better value for money here.
Périgord Blanc (The white Périgord) This area gets its name from the limestone earth layers. The capital is Perigueux, which is also the capital of the whole of Dordogne. The landscape is much more varied here with a mix of hills and flats. Although less visited than the other, more popular regions of the Dordogne, it has several must see attractions including the Foret de la Double (Double Forest), to the north of the region, reminiscent of the forests of story books and much loved ramblers.
Périgord Pourpre (The Purple Périgord) Périgord Pourpre is home to a huge grape region and in the autumn the leaves of the harvest turn purple. The capital is Bergerac. And is the most common arrival point for visitors to the area, since the opening of Bergerac airport. The region follows the lower stretch of the Dordogne River and many well known wines are produced in the Bergerac region. The landscape is home to beautiful rolling hills, sunflowers fields, and ancient farms set in attractive countryside, alongside the many vineyards in the region is famous for.
The Dordogne is one of the largest and most picturesque areas in France, as well as being one of the most prolific in terms of its number of listed historic buildings. With so much to see and do in the area, this should definitely be on everyone’s list of must-see destinations.