Road trip through the Northern Périgord Noir

Photo by Paul Shawcross

Medieval castles, beautiful villages and a pre-historic river in Dordogne

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This Dordogne driving itinerary includes a scenic drive through the beautiful west of the area, the so-called black Perigord or Périgord Noir, full of castles, gardens and its very own river, the Vézère, which nurtured the early prehistoric settlers in the area. Visit the caves where they lived, the Museum of Prehistory and many charming old villages and châteaux.

Start from Sarlat or nearby (but you can easily amend the itinerary to suit yourself). The route takes you through perhaps the most beautiful part of the Périgord Noir. It can be done in a day but I recommend two days to visit any of the following: Eyringnac Gardens, the Lascaux Cave replicas, Château de Losse or Les Eyzies. Montignac is the ideal halfway point. Le Four à Sel Gîtes at Aubas, about 4km north east of the town, is a great choice for an overnight stay (or longer).

NB – only a limited number of tickets are allocated daily for Lascaux at Montignac Tourist Office so get there early.

The Northern Périgord Noir Itinerary

Leave Sarlat by the D704, direction Montignac, pass through the Forêt Dominiale Barade. After 9km turn right on the D60 direction Salignac-Eyvigues. In 4km park in the village of Le Poujol and walk 200 metres down the D60 towards Proissans. Turn left into a lane for another 200 metres before arriving at the charming hamlet of St-Crépin-et-Carlucet. Entering St-Crépin is like walking back into the Middle Ages.

Return to the D60 and continue eastwards to the village of Salignac-Eyvigues dominated by its splendid medieval Château. Formal garden aficionados should detour from Salignac to Les Jardins du Manoir d’Eyringnac. Either way, retake the D60, head back west for about 2km and turn right onto the D61 for 4km till you reach St-Geniès. This is one the most beautiful villages in France not actually classified as a Plus Beau Village.

From St-Geniès head north on the D64 for about 8km and turn left towards St-Amand-de-Coly. St-Amand is one of the Périgord’s several Plus Beaux Villages, although nowhere near as pretty as St-Geniès. St-Amand features a very unusual fortified church.

===> Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.

Lascaux – the Cradle of Man

From St-Amand rejoin the D704 and turn right until you reach the small town of Montignac on the Vézère River. Discover one the greatest concentrations of prehistoric remains in Europe at Lascaux often called the ‘cradle of man’. Obtain tickets for the world-famous prehistoric cave Lascaux II in Montignac. Although a replica, Lascaux II is a ‘must see’ attraction. Visitors can also view Lascaux 4, an amazing interactive exhibition located below Lascaux II.

Head South West out of Montignac on the D704 for about 8km to see the magnificent Renaissance Château de Losse. Then return to the D704, turn left and pass through Thonac and in about Ikm turn left again into the Plus Beau Village of St-Léon-sur-Vézère.


Continue your trip by heading south on the D706 towards Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac. On the way you will pass the troglodyte dwelling of La-Roque-Christophe. Les-Eyzies is one of the most important centres in Europe to learn about our Stone Age ancestors.

Head straight for the Musée National de la Préhistoire and the Pataud Shelter before stopping at the nearby Café de la Mairie. For more prehistory, head east on the D47 to the Grottes du Roc de Cazelle.


As an alternative (or addition) to the main road trip itinerary, try a Walking/Cycling itinerary if you are staying at Le Four à Sel Gîtes near Montignac.

More about Dordogne!

Check out my Dordogne’s Best app and explore more of this region of meandering rivers, medieval fortresses, beautiful old villages & markets to die for!

Booking Accommodation

To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in the Dordogne, in or near Sarlat, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. If you wish to book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.


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