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Which Dordogne village to stay?

We are headed to the Dordogne area the first week of June. I've always dreamed of staying in Beynac, but then have found less expensive options in La Roque-Gageac that also seem good. And, there are other villages in the area.

What are the differences and which would you choose? I'm looking for a village with quintessential french charm.

Posted by
1003 posts

I certainly enjoyed staying at Beynac (https://www.hotelduchateau.fr/).

I spent one day kayaking down river from Carsac to Beynac. First I went to Sarlat on market day to pick up a picnic lunch of sausage, cheese and wine. I left my rental car at the facility in Carsac, and they came and picked me and the canoe up on Beynac to bring me back to my car. I pulled the kayak out at a few places along the river, including La Roque-Gageac.

I personally found La Roque Gageac to be too much of a tourist shop and not enough of a real community. Beynac is touristy in its own way too, but I felt it was slightly more authentic. Both are beautiful.

I spent another day driving up to Montignac and the Lascaux caves, then down along the Vézère River to La Roque Christophe, where early French people hid from Viking raiders (http://www.lascaux-dordogne.com/en/patrimoine-culturel/historic-site-and-monument-cave-dwelling-village-site/la-roque-saint-christophe). Then to the Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies.

The third day was spent roaming the village, the chateau above, the riverside trail below, and enjoying local duck two meals a day.

Enjoy!

Posted by
1629 posts

If you will have a car I would suggest this location:

https://www.clos-lascazes.com/fr/

Read reviews to verify, but I will tell you it is a great location, quiet and a beautiful French country setting with excellent hosts who know the area and can make excellent recommendations. I stayed there for 10 nights because it is so central in the Dordogne region.

Posted by
1911 posts

Thank you!

It's so hard to get a feel for a place with just photos. I guess I dream of waking up early and walking thru the village, stop of coffee and pastry, meandering thru cobblestone narrow streets. I imagine a small village but hopefully authentic.

We plan to rent a VRBO or airbnb since there are three of us on this trip.

Which village would come closest to my idea? I read about Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, Castelnaud, Rocamadour.

Thanks for the help!

Posted by
26480 posts

I think you can do better than Rocamadour, which is the only one of the places you list that I've been to. The main street in the historic area is full of what I thought were tacky tourist shops. I guess there must be some restaurants, too. But perhaps there are lodgings and cafes on the way up to the Cité Réligieuse. Being dependent on buses, I didn't have time to go up there after I hoofed it from the nearest bus stop miles away.

If you decide to go to Rocamadour, be sure you allow plenty of time to go to the Cité Réligieuse; otherwise, what I saw of the village wasn't really worth the trip by comparison to other places in the area. However, it wouldn't amount to such a time investment with a car, so you might have a different opinion.

Posted by
6341 posts

Rocamadour is fine to visit, though can be very crowded, but pretty remote from other Dordogne sights. La Roque is pretty but also pretty vertical as I recall, with the buildings crowded against the main road and then rising back up a steep hillside. Didn't appeal to me except visually.

We spent five nights in Beynac, at a small B&B about 15 minutes' walk uphill from "downtown," with views over the river. I know there are rentals nearby. We liked the town and the castle, including the easy drives to places like Les Eyzies, Castelnaud, Sarlat, Lascaux II, and Domme, not to mention La Roque.

Posted by
12157 posts

I really liked Domme. Great town, not right on the river. I also liked Sarlat, though even further from the main river area.

Beynac is a good suggestion for close to the River.

I camped at a campground near La Roque Gageac (in June) and like it. I could see how it would get too crowded in summer because it's essentially just one row of buildings right on the main road.

I didn't like Rocamadour at all. It's seemed run down and touristy in the most kitschy ways possible. If that seems like a good idea, visit Conques (Lot Valley) instead. Conques is similar in the sense that it has a very famous church and sits on a cliffside. It's better than Rocamadour in every possible way.

Out that direction St. Cirque Lapopie is another beautiful town.

Posted by
26480 posts

Agree on St-Cirq-Lapopie. Much less touristy than Rocamadour. But without the major religious sights. St-Cirq, though small, is quite hilly.

Posted by
2916 posts

We stayed in Beynac for a week 3 years ago, and loved it. It's charming, and although busy, it's not a tourist trap. There is one bakery (which was very good), one butcher shop, and a small epicerie. There are just a few restaurants, but we didn't try any. You can read about our stay there on my blog: http://mainelywinenews.blogspot.com/2016/04/from-bearn-to-dordogne.html (and posts following that one).
Out of all the towns you mention, Rocamadour is the one I'd avoid. Our one night there was too much. A total tourist trap, although worth seeing.

Posted by
10047 posts

You need to be aware that these are on some steep inclines. There’s no way I’d saunter out for café and a croissant in the morning in any of these villages. The shops Bob mentions are at the bottom and chances are your rental will be up a steep and sometimes slippery incline. Give me a B & B with breakfast served to me in any of these villages; let someone else go get the morning croissant.

They’re all visited in the summer. St. Cirq won the most beautiful village of France competition one year and has at least three huge parking lots up the hill. Beynac is nicely built up too, with several tourist parking lots, but like St. Cirq has the charm you are looking for.

We stayed at a farm/inn in the Dordogne, up a hill, away from any town.

Posted by
1911 posts

Thanks everyone!

We decided to go with Beynac! I've really always wanted to stay there, so decided to go with it. It will be a bit more expensive, and a tough hike, I'm sure! I hope the crowds are not to bad. We'll make a point to see Saint-Cirq--Lapopie while we are in the area.

This will be our first time renting a house for a week each in St. Remy and Beynac. We normally do BnB's so this will be different. But, I'm still not cooking :-)

Posted by
1911 posts

Thank you for that VRBO! Looks wonderful! We are three traveling this time so we need a two bedroom, but I did find a nice one.