Pearl of the Dordogne Valley
La Roque-Gageac has been classified as the third most beautiful villages in France after Mont-Saint-Michel and Rocamadour! It is only 10 minutes from the beautiful village of Domme and 15 minutes from Sarlat and 1hour of Bergerac.
This beautiful village in the Périgord Noir is set against a limestone cliff right on the banks of the Dordogne River. Between valleys and forests, the village is only 10km from towns like Sarlat la Canéda, this incredible nature draws a real postcard, that of a village with historical, picturesque, cultural and natural heritage and tourist assets.
Do you realize that this most beautiful medieval village in France, carved into the rock overlooking the river, it is an exotic garden where exotic species grow. The climate is so favourable thanks to the warmth provided by the cliffs that you would think you were on the Mediterranean.
The site is full of historical sites and treasures such as the troglodyte fort built into the rock, the renaissance manor house or the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame from the Middle Ages and its beautiful houses embedded in the rocky plateau, are the marks of past eras.
Folk-Travel has been in the Dordogne for several months now, so we'll take a look at the best things to do in La Roque Gageac one of the most beautiful villages of France, in the following article. Visit the Dordogne Périgord Noir region with us:
Discover the village and the history of La Roque-Gageac
At the foot of the cliff, this charming village was already occupied in prehistoric times. The Dordogne was a key economic resource in the Middle Ages, allowing fishermen and gabariers to support the village, which at the time had a population of 1,500. Roque-Gageac survived from medieval times crusades . There are still Gallo-Roman remains such as the old road and a well-preserved Roman well. You will see the Tarde family manor, its round tower, or the church built in 1330 in the 14th century, this medieval chapel became a parish church with its wall belfry with two openings. It is covered with slate roofing and has a very steep roof.
During the Viking invasions up the Dordogne, you will still see the old forts set into the cliffs overlooking the valley of this French village to protect themselves from these invaders. With gates built into the walls, La Roque-Gageac was a real fortresses.
During the Hundred Years' War, the bishop of Sarlat made it his secondary residence at the end of the hilltop perched village, attracting nobles and bourgeois as well as scholars and academics to settle in the village.
It was not until the Renaissance that the charming little village of La Roque Gageac was embellished with crenellated towers and windows were installed in place of the loopholes, contributing to the architectural heritage.
In 1589, the Lord of Doissac, born in the famous castel : Château de Castelnaud, Geoffroy de Vivans, took La Roque Gageac but his fortress remained strong against the Huguenots.
The 1669 decree of Louis XIV gave the river to the king and gave privileges to the boat industry at the expense of the fishermen. The village then became an important place for trade.
A tragedy on 17 January 1957: while the village was undergoing a post-war period of renovation, a 2500 cubic metre block of calcite broke away from the cliff and collapsed on the village, killing 3 people and causing considerable damage to the houses with the road cut off for several years.
Aujourd’hui, rassurez vous, des filets de sécurités en acier ont été posés ainsi que des capteurs mesurant les moindres mouvements de roches
Things to do and Places to visit in La Roque-Gageac
When you arrive at national historic site La Roque-Gageac, which is considered the most beautiful village in the area, park in the large car parks, which are paid for all year round, to enable the village to finance the massive influx of tourists and maintain the biosphere preserve . Prices are 5€ for the day, 4€ for 4 hours and 3€ for two hours. You will be able to admire the village while taking your time.
- See Strolling in Gabare
From the paying car park, head to the riverbank for a Gabare trip with the gabares Norbert ou Gabares Caminade count 11,2€ per adult and 8,70€ per child +2 years old for a 55 minutes ride on board a replica of sailing barges of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The river which borders one of the most beautiful medieval villages, the Dordogne, rises in the Massif Central at an altitude of over 1700m before flowing 480km into the Atlantic Ocean. The flat-bottomed barges were used in the 17th century to transport merchandise for the merchants, playing an economic role for 200 years: wood, oak for the Bordeaux barrels, salt.
With the arrival of the railway in 1870, and despite the attempt by some gabariers to ransack the railway line like that of the steam train from Martel , the barges then disappeared.
Sail on the Norbert Gabares to discover the valley in a unique way with the castles that border it such as the castle of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.
- Stroll through the exotic garden of La Roque Gageac
In the narrow cobbled streets of the small village of La Roque-Gageac on the cliffside you will find no less than 150 varieties of exotic plants. The village is even known as the "Little Nice of the Périgord".
It all began in the 1960s, when a local resident, the botanist Gérard Dorin, decided to bring back plants from his travels. With the cliff on the north side protecting and giving a typical temperate climate, the Dordogne on the south side brings humidity.
Ne manquez pas l’allée de bananiers, on est immergé comme en Martinique, les orangers, palmiers, grenadiers et même le safran est encore cultivé non loin de là.
This incredible climate is due in part to the heat stored during the day and released at night, the soil is well drained to avoid the formation of humidity and the river below regulates the hygrometry. Of course the walk is entirely free.
- Refreshing in the Bamboo Grove
The village has a real green bamboo forest of 5 hectares which you can discover at the beginning of the picturesque village! A whole path stands with 20 meter high bamboo trees that lead you through a shady area with some banana trees. The atmosphere here takes us to a distant country.
This garden has been in existence for over 600 years with the Tarde family's love of carrying on the tradition of maintaining this unusual garden. On a hot summer's day, you will enjoy walking through the cool paths where the temperature can drop by as much as 10°C compared to outside!
La Roque Gageac Bamboo Grove is open every day from 11.45am to 7pm except Saturday morning. The visit is free and for 12€ you get a guided tour. If you want to take a break for a meal, you can refresh yourself in the shade between my cliff and the bamboos, in a green setting at the bar-restaurant at the beginning or end of your visit at the entrance to the Bambousaie.
- Visit the Troglodyte Fort for an Exceptional Panoramic view
After climbing its 140 steps suspended from the cliff, you will go back through the tens of centuries with this architectural medieval castle dating from 1000 years ago which served as a refuge for the villagers and the bishops. This fort resisted the invasions of the Middle Ages thanks to its ramparts before losing part of its cavity in 2010. It is therefore one of the region's leading troglodyte historical monuments. Exbitions include archeological treasure dating back to the formation
It is thanks to the gigantic work of support carried out with its 18 columns that you can visit the fortified fort from February to November for 7€ per adult and 3.5€ per child. Entrance Fee permits to maintain the archaeological sites to visit including the ruins ... The panorama dominates the valley from the top of the fortifications where you can see the troglodytic ruins. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic sights of natural wonders .
- Taste good local products
If you have a sweet tooth or want to treat your loved ones, don't miss the local farmers' market at the foot of the village every Friday morning from May to September. And if you miss it, there is always the market of the medieval city of Sarlat (go to explore the historic center) on Saturday mornings, 15 minutes away from the Unesco World Heritage site capital. Unesco s list of world cultural heritage.
- Discover the tourist destinations Dordogne by Canoe Kayak
En quête d’aventure ou de nouveaux points de vue photos, nous vous recommandons de louer un canoë pour des parcours de 1h à 5h. Vous aurez le choix de descendre la rivière Dordogne ou de longer la rivière de la vallée de la Vézère qui se situe plus au Nord pour descendre de Montignac, Lascaux, St Léon, La Roque St Christophe surplombe la vallée ou encore les Eyzies jusqu’à Limeuil dans le Périgord Pourpre. Voguez vers de beaux villages classés du parc naturel régional Périgord-Limousin.
We recommend that you visit the region these beautiful places to explore from Vitrac to pass by La Roque Gageac and see the most beautiful medieval castles such as Castelnaud la Chapelle, Beynac and end up in the castle of Milandes. Count on a 15km unforgettable ride (3 hours), a bus will bring you back to Vitrac. Contact Canoës loisirs on 05.53.28.23.43 or Canoës Butterfly 05.53.30.41.21 or Périgord Aventure loisirs 05.53.28.23.82 (prices between 15€ child and 22€ adult).
If you want to enjoy the beach at La Roque-Gageac, we recommend the Pendoilles beach you can see the most spectacular sights that nature giving..
- Hiking in La Roque-Gageac
If you like walking or mountain biking, then you should definitely try these two hiking trails in the Dordogne. Folk-Travel shows you the 2 loops to do at La Roque-Gageac
La Boucle des Gabares
La Boucle des Chènes Verts
As you can see, La Roque Gageac is one of the French people's favourite villages to visit during your holiday in the countryside is at its prettiest in Dordogne.
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