Walking in the Dordogne
35 walking routes in the Dordogne - Sarlat, Bergerac, Lalinde and Souillac
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This guidebook describes 35 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 mountain circuits, and explore the spectacular gorges, chateaux and medieval villages of the region.
- Any time of the year, but either May and June (also good for flowers), or September and October (for the grape harvest) are best. High summer is very hot and crowded.
- Bergerac and Lalinde in Perigord Poupre; Sarlat in Perigord Noir; and Souillac in the Lot.
- 35 straightforward half and full-day walks for all abilities, on well-marked paths or roads. Graded easy or medium, with no steep ascents or descents.
- Must See
- The Dordogne river with dramatic horseshoe meanders and quiet stretches for boat trips on traditional gabarres; the cliffs of the Vézère with caves and overhangs where early man made his home; the arid causses and subterranean gauffres in the south; medieval castles and towns, Renaissance-style chateaus, Romanesque churches.
Guidebook to 35 half-day and day walks in France's beautiful Dordogne region, based around Bergerac, Lalinde, Sarlat and Souillac (Lot). The walks, which range from 6 to 18.5km, take in the region’s myriad delights, from spectacular gorges to enchanting chateaux and charming medieval villages. All walks are within the capacity of the average walker, and are on well-marked paths or quiet roads. They are graded easy or medium; there are no long, steep climbs or abrupt descents.
There are step-by-step descriptions and maps for each route. Also included is information on the history, flora and fauna of the region, together with practical pointers such as what to take and when to go, as well as notes on waymarking, accommodation and transport. A route summary table and glossary are also provided.
Lying in south west France, the Dordogne is a land of great scenic variety, from rolling wooded hills and fertile valleys to barren upland plateaus and limestone cliffs riddled with caves. The charm of the Dordogne also lies in the picturesque medieval towns, châteaux, churches and abbeys that stud the landscape, and these are the focus of many of the walks.
The Dordogne river
A short history of the Dordogne
Plants and flowers
How to get there
When to go
Food and drink
What to take
Using this guide
Walk 1 Along the river at Bergerac
Walk 2 The vineyards of Monbazillac
Walk 3 Flaugeac to the Château de Bridoire
Walk 4 Around Monestier
Walk 5 Round the Lac de l’Escourou
Walk 6 Boucle d’Issigeac
Walk 7 The Conne river valley
Walk 8 Boucle de St-Aubin
Walk 9 St-Georges-de-Montclard
Walk 10 St-Félix-de-Villadeix
Walk 11 Couze to the Château de Lanquais
Walk 12 The heights and river at Lalinde
Walk 13 Above Mauzac
Walk 14 The Cingle de Trémolat
Walk 15 Limeuil and the Vézère river
Walk 16 Above the Abbey of Cadouin
Walk 17 Beaumont and the Rocher du Corbeau
Walk 18 Monpazier and the Château de Biron
Walk 19 Around les Eyzies
Walk 20 Along the Vézère river
Walk 21 Boucle de Coulonge at Montignac
Walk 22 Around St-Geniès
Walk 23 St-Crépin and Carlucet
Walk 24 Les Jardins d’Eyrignac
Walk 25 South of the Château des Milandes
Walk 26 Le Chemin de Cazenac from Beynac
Walk 27 Around la Roque-Gageac
Walk 28 The bastide town of Domme
Walk 29 Boucle de Veyrignac
Around Souillac (Lot)
Walk 30 Gourdon and the Bléou valley
Walk 31 Roc des Monges from Saint-Sozy
Walk 32 Martel to Mont Mercou
Walk 33 Rocamadour and the mills of the Alzou Gorge
Walk 34 Alvignac and the Source Salmière
Walk 35 The Gouffre de Padirac and Causses de Quercy
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful information
Appendix C Glossary of French words
A good map that gives an overall picture of the Dordogne and Lot is the Michelin Carte Routière et Touristique 1:150,000 Périgord Quercy.
Each walk in this guide is accompanied by a sketch map with coloured contours, showing key places and numbered waypoints that are highlighted in the route description. To cope with the high density of information and the different walk lengths, we have used four scales: 1:25,000, 1:33,000, 1:40,000 and 1:50,000. For additional features and detailed navigation, the relevant 1:25,000 IGN paper map is specified in the information box at the beginning of each walk. Unfortunately, only a few of the IGN maps for the Dordogne are in the Top 25 Carte de Randonnée series, which often show the walking paths explicitly; most are in the Série Bleue series, which do not show the walking routes so clearly.
A complete list of IGN maps can be found in
Guidelines to walking in the Dordogne
- Read the walk description against a map before you go to ensure that the walk is within the capacity of all members of your party.
- Give yourself plenty of time by setting off early. If a walk has a timing of five hours, allow at least one hour extra for breaks and a lunch stop.
- Although the Dordogne is not usually as hot as the south of France, in summer you will need to take plenty of water and sunscreen.
- It is advisable not to deviate from the marked path – if there is a shortcut it is usually shown on the map.
- If you are walking alone, always tell someone where you are going.
- Do not pass any barrier indicating ‘Propriété Privée’ unless the walk description indicates that this is permitted.
- Even if the day looks hot and fine, take waterproof clothing as the weather can be changeable.
- Remember to walk on the left-hand side of the road in order to face oncoming traffic.
- Shut all gates and barriers that you go through.
- Do not light matches or make a fire, especially when it has been dry.
- Do not pick the wild flowers but leave them for others to enjoy.
- Take your litter home with you.
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Janette Norton lived in France, near Geneva, for over 30 years with her physicist husband, Alan, raising four children and working in the marketing field. Her love of mountain walking dated from the time she was a guide in her twenties, and the proximity of the Alps and Jura to her home inspired her to continue her passion. After her children grew up, she branched out to explore other areas of France.View Articles and Books by Janette Norton
Alan Norton studied Physics at Edinburgh and Oxford Universities before moving to Geneva to work at CERN on Particle Physics research. Since retirement, he has continued to participate in CERN experiments as a professor at the Italian University of Ferrara. As leisure activities, he has completed many mountain running events at the rear of the field, and helped Janette with walking and map preparation for her guides.View Guidebooks by Alan Norton
Pamela Harris graduated from Reading University and then moved to Switzerland, where she taught English and Classical studies at international schools in the Geneva area. A long-time member of both the Alpine Club and the Swiss Alpine Club, she has walked and climbed extensively in the mountains of Europe and the Himalayas, and organises walking holidays in both areas for these clubs.View Articles and Books by Pamela Harris
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