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This guidebook describes 30 walking routes in France's beautiful Dordogne region, based around Sarlat and Souillac regions (Perigord Noir) and Bergerac (Perigord Poupre). The walks range from short walks to more lengthy mountain circuits, and explore the spectacular gorges, chateaux and medieval villages of the region.
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The Dordogne region in southwest France conjures up a vision of England as it used to be 50 years ago - a green rural paradise of quiet little villages nestling in shallow valleys. It offers the walker a beautiful environment in which to walk, surrounded by delightful pastoral countryside, sweeping fields of crops and walnut orchards plus dramatic vistas from cliff tops.
The 30 routes, split between the regions of Sarlat and Bergerac, move through this countryside, taking you along valley bottoms and into woodlands and leave plenty of time for exploring the historic sites or just sitting in the delightful surroundings of a village café. Illustrated with the author's own colour photographs and sketch maps, this is a comprehensive guide to exploring the region on foot.
This walk does not actually go to the Lascaux Caves, as might seem to be implied by the walk introduction. Also, the paths in this area have been renumbered by the local tourist office since this book was written. The walk initially numbered CP8 is now CP6 and there is a mixture of signage along the route. The forthcoming new edition of the guidebook will naturally make all this clearer!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE ARE CORRECTIONS SENT IN BY READERS AND HAVE NOT BEEN VERIFIED BY THE AUTHOR. THANK YOU TO ALL OF THEM.
Walk 2 - A walk around St-Geniès
The car park is on north side of road (D61) and not south, as shown on map.
No.1 (line 4).. on a narrow road with a (the track is now fully metalled).
No.1 (line 6) Do not take first turning right but continue straight on until you reach a wooden signpost. Take left fork signed '4'.
You will pass the Salle.....
No.1 (line 10) - substitute road for track.
No.1 (line 13) - the yellow splashes are not only not obvious, I would say invisible.
No. 1 (lines 12-14) - I would just say: bear to the left, passing a house with a ..... archway, on to a grassy track, with a high wall on the right.
No.15 (line 6) ...crumbling stone walls as you go up and left, crossing a field...
Walk 3 - St-Crépin
No.1 (line 7) - after (15mins)
Add - go left past this B & B on a long straight track.
No.5 (line 4) ... and continues down and then left past a stone culvert/well(?) and up along the side of a hill ......
Walk 4 - Round the Gardens of Eyrignac
No.2 (line 9) - Ignore first track to right and another left. Left and right appear to have got reversed here.
No.8 (line 2) - No house name visible, no flowers in garden.
No. 10 (line 1) - We did not think that house that ugly! The track right is now easy to see as it hzas been widened and covered with white chippings.
No.11 - A bit confusing here: As the road veers left up to the hamlet, go straight on, on a jeep track towards an intersection.
No.12 - Confusing. At the intersection, go sharp right down a gentle incline on a broad grassy track, leaving the hamlet directly behind you. There is a yellow junction sign on the tree but on the back of it.
Nos.13/14 - This track is now metalled until it crosses over the stream.
No.14 (line 3) The track continues for about 500m, passing a line of poplars on the right, than an eroded bank on the left and then more poplars on the right (2hrs 45mins).
Walk 13 - Circuit round Mont Mercou
No.2 (line 6) - Go left past a field (not right).
No.4 - orange splashes now.
No.4 (line 4) - After oakwood add :
Look out for a good specimen of a 'gariotte' in field on right.
No.6 (line 1) A few minutes later fork left (the road right goes to Pouchou).
No.6 (line 5) ..bearing up to the right signed Mt-Mercou. In general the correct track is marked with indistinct yellow triangles.
No.7 (line 1) Two tracks here, take farthest left of the two, going uphill. The sign mentioned is some 10mins up the track just below the summit and shows info for hang gliders.
No.9 (line 5) - Presumably this means : If you go straight down the jeep track, which bears left off the GR46. As written it gives the impression that the GR46 bears off left?
Anyway we decided to do the shorter route, which turned out to seem as long as the recommended route. Going down the track we came to the garden of a house with some very unfriendly notices up beside the path as it lead into the front drive of the House, including some yellow crosses. We therefore followed the track south and west that went around the house and by generally going left we eventually picked up the D23 arriving finally in Le Columbier. Would not recommend as a short cut. Obviously was a direct way through at one time, we even found the other end of it.
No.14 (line 9) - Saw no sign for 'Fontaine' or 'Gluges'. The 'diversion' path now has wooden signpost Mantel 3.5km, Gluges 2.8km.
No.15 - the Maize Maze is now a walnut plantation.
No.16 (line 3) - No map of any sort seen.
Walk 15 - Rocamadour
No.3 (line 5) At junction with railway line there is a new wooden signpost.
No. 4 (line 5) - Then at intervals there are further new signposts, the one before the bridge saying Moulin de Saut 2.2km, Gramat 8.5km.
No.7 (line 1) - the sign at the junction only indicates Lauzau, Gramat left, Moulin not mentioned.
No.9 (line 5) - After passing the mill, follow the river path, ignoring the path going left to a small bridge. The path then follows the river for several kms and has to be crossed more than once, and occasional diversions made higher up the sides of the gorge, when too steep.Red and white GR signs appear at irregular invervals but not always where you would like to see one.
We got lost in Rocamadour: We climbed the pilgrim steps but could see no way up from there. Right seemed to be the entrance to a church or museum, left to start descending down hill again. However, a kindly French lady understood our somewhat limited French and produced from her house a copy of a tourist leaflet. This showed we had to go up the steps into the museum entrance and carry on through the alleways to the start of the 'Stations of the Cross' path which did lead us to the top of the cliff. Some directions to this effect might be useful to the weary walker speaking no French.
Walk 1 - Around Montignac and Les Caves de Lascaux
No 3 - In the 2nd line at the end, you say that the sign will say walk No.8: in fact, the first sign at that corner says Walk 6; later signs say Walk 8.
Walk 3 - St-Crépin
No.10 - At the point at which one needs to turn right to reach the churcgh, the path and the yellow splashes goes to the left. We walked a way along there before we realized we had gone too far. It would help if your instructions noted that the splashes will mislead you here.
Walk No.8 - Walk around Beynac
No.9 - We all found the path through the "two attractive fields" very steep indeed. Might mentioned that as a fair warning!
No.11 - Your instructions say that you will pass a vineyard and then enter woods with huge piles of logs, followed by a dog training field and a sign saying Royal Canin. We saw none of this. We kept going straight until we came to a gate blocking the track and then had to backtrack quite a ways to find the turning, which was clearly marked if you were coming from that direction, but not at all clear coming from the original direction.
Walk 9 - Around the village of La Roque-Gageac
No. 11 - The display of ironwork is no longer there.
Walk 12 - Roc de Monges, near St-Sozy
No.4 - The sign says Blanzaguet, not Roc de Coulon.
No.11 - When you come out into the fields there are two paths, one going straight and one going along the left, on the other side of the field. There are no blazes ofr any kind, and we first went down the left hand one because your instructions seemed to indicate that. Might make that clearer.
More general point :
With the first few walks, we would see the name of a village or hamlet on the map and assumed there would be a café or store in such villages - a place to get provisions or actual lunch. But this was almost never true. A couple to times you indicated that a particular spot was good for a picnic lunch, but it would be helpful to add to each walk some info on possible locations for refreshments - and if there aren't any an indication that one ought to take lunch.
No.5 Where it says "turn left towards a large house" the way is now blocked by a locked gate in a barbed wire fence, preventing access to and from the jeep track. There are no notices either side. Choice is to go back or negotiate the barbed wire
Note from author - the Tourist Office are hoping to redirect this walk to avoid the above problem.
From Victoria Rainsford - October 2009
Walk 21 Around Monpazier & the Château de Biron
No.8 Third paragraph should read :
At Les Potences (if you do not go to the château) go left by a wooden cross passing a small shuttered house into an open field. Follow the track across this field to reach chestnut woods. Approximately 100 metres after entering the woods bear right at a fork (yellow splash). Note: Follow the yellow splashes carefully ....
No.9 Careful - Take the second and narrower path right. Note: original text said between two pines but one of the pines has been felled!
Walk 31 - St-Félix-de-Villadeix
No.1 should read :
Exit the car park the way you entered. Look left and you will see the spire of the church down the road. Walk down the narrow road (ignoring a GR sign off to the left), passing the church on the left and a restored lavoir (wash trough) on your right. Just before you reach a wider road turn left, signposted Garridade........
Walk 9 - Walk around village of Roque-Gageac
No.11/12 We started up the road signposted "voie sans issue". After a gentle climb up and gentle curve to the left, we were signposted off the road to the right. Clear yellow X ahead and a wooden sign to the path. Clear path around the hillside (with good views of La Roque-Gageac and cables). Slow descent then a short drop through rocks at an intersection of paths, left up the hill (presumably the old path?) and right down to the town, with a sign and yellow splashes.
|The Dordogne River|
|The Périgord Noir (walks 1–16)|
|The Périgord Poupre (walks 17–31)|
|A Short History of the Dordogne|
|Using the Guide|
|Travelling to the Dordogne|
|When to Go|
|Clothing and Equipment|
|Vegetation, Flowers and Wildlife|
|THE SARLAT AND SOUILLAC REGIONS (PERIGORD NOIR)|
|1 Walk around Montignac and les Caves de Lascaux|
|2 Le Chemin des Combes: A Walk around St-Geniès|
|3 St-Crépin and Carlucet: A Stroll in the Périgord Noir Countryside|
|4 Round the Gardens of Eyrignac|
|5 Les Eyzies on the Vézère River|
|6 Les Gorges de la Vézère|
|7 Around the Château of Les Milandes|
|8 Le Chemin de Cazenac: Walk around Beynac|
|9 Walk around the Village of La Roque-Gageac|
|10 La Bastide de Domme|
|11 Les Hauts de Veyrignac|
|12 Roc de Monges near St-Sozy|
|13 Circle round Mont Mercou near Martel|
|14 Walk around the Gouffre de Padirac|
|15 Walk around the Mills of the Alzou Gorge: Rocamadour|
|16 Circuit de Notre-Dame-des-Neiges|
|THE BERGERAC REGION (PERIGORD POUPRE)|
|17 Around the Trémolat Horseshoe (Cingle)|
|18 Around the Cliffs of Mauzac|
|19 A Walk around Lalinde|
|20 Couze to the Château de Lanquais|
|21 Around Monpazier to the Château de Biron|
|22 Around the Fortified Village of Beaumont|
|23 Around the Medieval Village of Issigeac|
|25 Le Circuit de St-Aubin|
|26 Through the Vineyards of Monbazillac|
|27 Around the Villages of Flaugeac and Singleyrac|
|28 Round the Lac de L'Escourou|
|29 Around Monestier|
|Appendix A Maps|
|Appendix B Tourist Offices and Syndicats d'Initiative|
|Appendix C Market Days|
|Appendix D Glossary of Local and Useful Words|