A postcard from the Dordogne

A Postcard from the Dordogne

Often referred to as France’s 'Little England', there is no getting away from the fact that the Dordogne is a beautiful, culturally rich and historically interesting corner of France. Today our Postcard from the Dordogne comes from Périgueux, which is the capital of this department. Set in the South West of France, the Dordogne is officially part of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region and finds itself set firmly between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees.

Named after the river that runs through it, Dordogne was originally inhabited by the Gauls and played host to four tribes of Gaul. It was from this origin that it became known in Gaulish as Petrocore, a name that developed into Périgord. To this day, this notion of “four” still holds true, with the four different Périgords that exist even today. They are: green, white, purple and black. The colours of these different areas relate mainly to the characteristics of the different corners of this department. Green represents the countryside, which is full of valleys, rivers and streams; white, referring to its infamous limestone buildings; purple, the wine region and black, the part where woods and forests abound. Each of these colour-coded areas have their specific town attraction, and these are Périgueux, Eymet, Bergerac and Sarlat respectively. As you can imagine, each is visually very different, but the cultural similarities are there for all to see.

So here we are in Périgueux. Summer is just around the corner, so the Marche au gras isn’t on because it’s already too hot, so we’ll have to make do with buying our foie gras at the market this time. Because it’s Thursday, we’re at the market on Place du Coderc today to buy fresh fruit and veg for our evening meal. Yesterday we were at the Grand Marché outside l’Hôtel de Ville, where we bought lots of cheese and some charcuterie, so we’re well stocked up. There’s a market every day in Périgueux, which is one of the things that makes it such a charming place to be. The other of course is the restaurant choices that abound here.

Like much of the South West, duck and goose take pride of place here. Foie gras, confit de canard, magret and all the trimmings are to be found pretty much wherever you turn. However, when you add the abundance of fresh fruits and of course black truffles to the equation, the cuisine in this neck of the woods really does reach serious highs. Earlier in the week, we decided to plump for the restaurant Un Parfum de Gourmandise, which is very highly rated on TripAdvisor. Described as contemporary, local cuisine with a medium-range price tag of anywhere between 30€ and 45€ per head, our expectations were running high and we weren’t disappointed. The atmosphere was cozy and the food was inventive, intuitive and delicious. Service came with a smile and we were made to feel that we were the only diners in the restaurant, even though it was packed out the night we were there (that’s not easy to do!).

When it comes to property in the Dordogne, there’s an abundance of grand chateaux and mansions to be found; but this doesn’t mean that you can’t ‘do Dordogne’ if you’re on a budget. In fact, there are some great opportunities to be found and no matter whether you’re looking for something really basic where you can turn up and enjoy a few weeks away from the hustle and bustle of real life, or you’re looking to move lock, stock and barrel for a completely new life, you won’t need to explode your budget to get something great. Have a browse at the properties we have for sale in the Dordogne.