For Périgord Noir at its most enchanting, head to the heavenly heights of this hilltop garden in Vézac, just south of Beynac. Founded in 1682, its design—including a parterre of topiaries—was greatly influenced by André le Nôtre, the "green geometer" of Versailles. Shaded paths bordered by 150,000 hand-pruned boxwoods are graced with breathtaking viewpoints, rock gardens, waterfalls, and verdant glades. From the belvedere 400 feet above the river, there's an exceptional view of the Dordogne Valley. For a unique and romantic perspective, the garden stays open until midnight under candlelight each Thursday in July and August. You can drink in panoramic views from the terrace of the tea salon, from March to mid-November.
Belvédère de la Dordogne, 3 km (1½ mile) south of Beynac-et-Cazenac, Vézac, 24220, France
Dec 29, 2012
Arriving when they first opened was a good choice. We were able to get many photos without people in them. Later in the day it got quite crowded. We spent 3-1/2 hours meandering through these beautiful gardens. Choosing the more difficult, hilly path up to the Belvedere gave us many photo ops. The views of the Dordogne River from up high were fantastic. At the restaurant for lunch the peacocks were roaming freely looking for a handout.
This was time well spent and one of our best days in The Dordogne.