Planning Your Time

From a practical perspective, staying in Sarlat or thereabouts would be your best plan if you want to really appreciate this diverse region. Not only is the historic town a worthwhile destination in its own right, it's also near the top sights: Lascaux and Les Eyzies de Tayac lie to the north; Beynac-et-Cazenac, La Roque-Gageac, and Domme are immediately south; Rocamadour is a little farther to the southeast. Sarlat is also just off the A20 highway, which brings you south to Cahors and north to the regional airport in Brive La Gaillarde (the Bergerac airport to the west is a bit farther afield).

After getting yourself situated, you can explore the camera-ready villages, imposing châteaux, and captivating caves that sprinkle this part of France like so much historical and cultural confetti. If you prefer solitude and unspoiled scenery you won't have any trouble finding them in the vast, sparsely populated countryside. All you have to do is head for the hills—literally. Wherever you go, just be sure to leave plenty of time for dining. The Dordogne’s edible delights (foie gras and truffles chief among them) are as famous as the region’s varied sights.

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