The many castles and bastides in the area are reminders of France’s medieval history. Beynac Castle is one such sight not to be missed!
You can hire a canoe or take a trip along the river in a Gabare (the traditional flat-bottomed boat) to wonder at the building feats of our ancestors. Wander the steep and narrow streets with their golden stone buildings; visit the atmospheric castle with it’s stunning views and steep drops that was once taken and held by Richard the Lionheart for a decade.
From Beynac (above, right) you can look across the river to the rival fortress of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle and the pretty cliff-top bastide town of Domme.
This area has more beautiful villages than any other region in France, the following are all just a short distance from Le Jardin des Amis:
Belves is a medieval bastide town with a preserved 15th century covered market hall. It also has troglodyte dwellings that date from the 13th century.
Beynac, on the northern bank of the river Dordogne, is an ancient village of yellow stone buildings and narrow lanes that meander up to a wonderfully preserved château.
Castelnaud-la-Chapelle is a picturesque medieval village that sits on a rocky promontory where the Dordogne and Cerou rivers meet. It is dominated by Château Castelnaud which was conquered by Simon de Montfort in 1214 during the crusade.
Domme is a bastide town offering stunning views across the Dordogne valley. In 1307, the Knight Templars were imprisoned here during the trial against them, and their Templar graffiti can still be seen on some walls.
La Roque-Gageac is a breathtakingly beautiful village built into the cliffs along the banks of the Dordogne river. In the 19th century, the famous gabarres (flat-bottomed boats) would pass by laden with goods. Today, visitors can embark on a leisurely gabarre river trip from here.
Limeuil, where the rivers Dordogne and Vézère meet, offers canoeing, a river beach and a pretty little village and gardens that are well worth exploring. The village is still partly surrounded by its original fortified walls.
St Léon-sur-Vézère is on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman villa and you can see traces of this on the side of the church. It is on the pilgrim route that led from the Abbey of Vezelay in Burgundy to the abbeys at Cadouin and Saint Avit Senieur.