The Dordogne has long been a popular destination for summer visitors and those looking to buy a property and make a new life in France. With its soft rolling hills, woodland, fields of sunflowers, vineyards and sparkling rivers it presents a warm and welcoming environment.
The countryside is dotted with pretty villages and peaceful hamlets, chateaux and farms. With a thriving year-round population you'll always find shops, bars and restaurants open.
This is a region criss-crossed with footpaths for walking and riding, the rivers are perfect for leisurely canoeing or fishing and there are historical sites at every turn. The principal town of Perigueux has a charming medieval centre with a wide range of shops and restaurants and twice weekly markets spilling through the winding streets. Don't miss the excellent Vèsunna Gallo-Roman museum.
Riberac has, reputedly, the department's biggest market (on a Friday) and Ste Foy La Grande's Saturday market is well worth a visit.
From Bergerac along the Dordogne valley through Lalinde, to Sarlat there is an almost endless parade of breathtaking towns and villages.
Foodies will find plenty to please them including the locally produced ducks and foie gras, walnuts and prunes and wines from the world-famous Bergerac vines.
Forget any stereo-typing you've heard. Come and see it for yourself.
Dordogne fact file
Land area: 9000 square kilometres
Population: just over 400 000
Population density: 46/km²
Main town: Périgueux
Local property styles
In the north of the department it is white stone walls and terracotta roman tiled roofs; further south the stone turns a honey colour and roofs are steeper and covered in darker clay tiles.