Dordogne, the Land of a Thousand Chateaux


Dordogne’s coat of arms

Dordogne is located in Aquitaine in southwest France and corresponds roughly to the historic county of Périgord.

The rivers Vézère, and Dordogne after which it was named, traverse it.

The department of Dordogne is divided in four geographical areas known as White, Green, Purple and Black Périgords.

Dordogne is the third largest province of France.

The capital is Périgueux.

The first traces of occupation date back to about 150,000BP as attested by the countless archaeological remains recovered.

Neanderthal men settled in the natural shelters hollowed by the rivers in the limestone cliffs.

Homo sapiens sapiens, the first early modern humans anatomically similar to us appeared about 40, 000BP.

Cro Magnon men decorated, engraved and painted the countless rock shelters in the Vézère Valley.

The sophistication and specificity of their art, since known as Magdalenian Art after the initial discoveries made in La Madeleine Shelter, earned the valley to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The Vallée de l’Homme boasts 147 prehistoric sites and 25 painted or engraved caves dating from the Paleolithic.

Dordogne’s outstanding archaeological sites generate today a thriving tourist industry that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Dordogne has a rich history and is also known as the Land of a Thousand Chateaux.

At the heart of the territorial conflict that opposed French and English during the Middle Ages, the region was built with countless bastides, walled cities, fortified troglodyte villages and castles clinging on rocky spurs.

It is renowned for its picturesque architecture that uses the local golden limestone.

Dordogne is a region of dark oak forests, limestone plateaux and vast alluvial plains.

This diversity in landscapes and soil allows it to specialize in cereals, fruits, wine and tobacco cultures and cattle breeding.

Dordogne produces 80% of the French foie gras (goose liver paté).

It is the most famous black truffle producing region of France and the first European with 45% of the production of Diamonds of Périgord.

It is the first French producer of strawberries with 44 000 tons per year and the second European producer of walnuts with 36 000 tons.

Dordogne is very popular with French and foreign tourists as there is much to discover!

Area: 9,060 km2
Population: 406,793

Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Dordogne coat of arms Public Domain