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A week in Dordogne villages

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We are an Aussie couple in our early 60s who love countryside and history. We will be in the Dordogne in early October after visiting Lille, Paris and the Loire. There seems to be a plethora of lovely little villages to stay in, so we will rent a car for that week to see as much as possible. Since we have never been there before, we have some questions. (We have done much reading and net research, but it tends to be a bit overwhelming and hard to visualise).
* Best to base ourselves in one town or village for, say, 3 days and explore that region of Dordogne, then move on for the same in a different place? If so, what are the best bases?
* We are interested in history and scenery and I am a passionate photographer. Suggestions as to the best spots to see?
* As for accommodation, we are happy with modest clean digs. In Croatia, for example, we stayed in rooms in (registered) people's homes and had a great time. My wife speaks a little French. Suggestions about the most appropriate choices for those who are not seeking luxury (just friendly)?
Thanks in advance. The Loire and Dordogne began as add-ons to a family history trip to Lille. Now it has become a very major feature.

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