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Luxury in Périgord

Everyone needs a little luxury 

The Dordogne, that evocative region in the south west of France, broadly east and north-east of Bordeaux, is a gift for luxury seekers. The undulating countryside, peppered with timeless little villages, brooding castles and innumerable country house hotels whose grounds come equipped with majestic old trees and status-affirming peacocks is just made for lovers of the indulgent.

The Dordogne department is in Aquitaine and is comprised of a colourful quartet of sub-regions: 

The Périgord Noir In the south east corner, its name is derived from the dark oak forests that still cover large swathes of countryside. This is perhaps the sub-region most heavily laden with big name sights: Domme, Beynac, Sarlat, Rocamadour, Lascaux and Le Bugue. All real show stoppers when it comes to holiday memories and all with fabulous, luxury hotels and very special eateries secreted away. 

Rocamadour
Rocamadour

The Périgord Pourpre Named after the vineyards of this vinous region, Bergerac is a key destination, famed for its excellent (and excellent value wines). Monbazillac is here too, home of the luscious sweet wine whose finest vintages have graced the tables of the rich and famous down through the ages.

Castelnaud
Castelnaud

The Périgord Blanc The chalky soil here is responsible for the name, and the ancient town of Périgueux, after which the region is named, is found here.

Périgueux - credit: biosphere-bassin-dordogne.fr
Périgueux - credit: biosphere-bassin-dordogne.fr

The Périgord Vert This is the most northerly area, its name coming from the green leaved chestnut and oak woods, and the checkerboard fields and meadows of its rolling, lush countryside are quite different from the terrain further south. 

Brantôme
Brantôme

Luxury hotels The region is also sometimes referred to as the Land of a Thousand Castles - there are indeed many, mostly dating back to the Middle Ages. Some have been carefully restored and converted into luxury hotels of sumptuous quality and unique charm.

Exquisite grounds, dramatic towers, thick stone walls and incredible views are to be expected in these hotels, along with dovecotes, extensive cellars and fascinating histories. 

Luxury cuisine Black truffles are perhaps synonymous with luxury ingredients – and this region produces 80% of the French harvest.  Along with foie gras, walnuts, duck and other specialist foods, black truffles have ensured the Périgord is second to none when it comes to luxury cuisine

Luxury wines Bergerac is the main wine of the Périgord, with both reds and whites of extremely reliable quality. Look out for the Côtes de Bergerac wines, giving a higher level of quality than simple Bergerac AC. Other names to look out for are Pécharmant, Montravel and the grand wines of Monbazillac – sweet wines elevated to another league by the October mists that encourage the botrytis or ‘noble rot’.

On a holiday, luxury is made of various elements – and each person has their own definition of course. The Belle France Prestige holidays incorporate a very special level of luxury, none more so than the Périgord Prestige à Pied route which features a château hotel, an elegant riverside country house and a sensitively restored water mill. Luxury in three different styles.

This is a spectacularly indulgent itinerary with a highlight being two nights just outside Brantôme, the ‘Venice of Périgord’. It’s heady stuff: lush undulating countryside, quaint little honey coloured villages and colourful window boxes festooning out onto the streets.

The Moulin du Roc ticks a lot of boxes: only 15 rooms, Michelin starred restaurant (since 1979), converted water mill heritage, idyllic riverside setting, luxurious but relaxed atmosphere (not always easy to pull off). Luxury doesn’t come much better than this.

Explore the Dordogne

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