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Domme

A naturally fortified village (bastide) built in the 13th century on a steep-sided hilltop nearly 800 feet above the river. Domme was fought over repeatedly during the Hundred Years’ War between the French and English, and it’s easy to see why when you consider the view. Ramparts, fortified gates and towers – which served as prisons, first for the Templars in the early 14th century, then for French and English soldiers during the hundred years war – still stand. The main part of the village lies at the very top of the hill along the edge of a sheer cliff commanding sightlines along the entire valley. 

We stayed at a wonderful AirBnB at 2 place porte delbos, Domme.

In town:

  • Grotte de Domme: A modest-looking tourism office in the middle of the square is built above the entrance to a large cave system where residents hid during the frequent invasions. When this trip through the ages is completed, you will return to the dazzling light of the day at the edge of the cliff overlooking the famous Dordogne valley. 10h à 12h – 14h à 18h (maybe closed on Saturdays). Stop by for tour information, website is vague at best. [didn’t get to this]
  •  **Le Restaurant Cabanoix & Chataîgnes: offers seasonal specialities using local produce from duck breast to homemade paté. Lovely friendly staff, some outdoor seating, nice local option.
  •  *L’Esplanade: a fancy and touristy option for meals with a great view. Food was fussy, service a bit surly and slow. 
  •  ***Pizzeria des Templiers: Owned by the owners of our AirBnB. Cheap and cheerful, good pizza and pasta.

Just Outside Town:

  •  ***Montgolfières du Périgord: This was worth it – great views, a lovely experience. Hot air balloon ride.

La Roque-Gageac & Nearby Castles

Built into the almost vertical cliffs rising from the lazily curving Dordogne River, is **Roque de Gageac, another town of medieval origin. This is tourist central (don’t stay there), but it’s really cute and lined with restaurants, good place for lunch.

Overlooking the town, the 18th century ***Chateau de Marqueyssac and its 19th century gardens were restored impeccably at the end of the 20th century and stretch along the cliff top for a kilometer. This is great – beautiful vistas, not too crowded.

A bit west, the ornate, chocolate-box **Château des Milandes used to belong to dancer and activist Josephine Baker. It’s insanely packed  with tourists (not in a good way), and her life is a bit sad.

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