Paysage Périgord Dordogne

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A land, a world

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A land, a world

Val de Dronne

In the land of Gentlemen

In the valley sprawling from the Dronne to the Côle, the gentle pace of life has been the theatre of wars, battles and tears. The warlords of times gone by, however, have reformed and refined into gentlemen, fond of beauty and art. The châteaux here mirror those along the edges of the Loire. The soothing water will lull you into dreaming, into poetry and love. The gentry and folk have moved on: they can revel in a libertine daydream instead of the military mood that reigned in days gone by.

The Dronne and Côle meet like a pair of bashful lovers, only a stone’s throw upstream from Brantôme, the Venice of Périgord. This town’s bent bridge overlooking the monastery gardens, and the abbey and steeple guiding thoughts upwards to the heavens, make it perfect for a romantic break. Under the penname ‘Brantôme’, Pierre de Bourdeilles, the regent’s spy, was the author of the first libertine publication in French literature: “Les Dames Galantes” (The Courtesans). Despite its bellicose octagonal keep, the Château de Bourdeilles, a short ride away, can be seen as a fine Renaissance home. Not far from there you will find one of Périgord’s most breathtaking villages: Saint-Jean de Côle. The modestly decorated Saint-Jean Baptiste church is right next to the château that belonged to the La Marthonie family, which later built the sumptuous château of Puyguilhem in Villars.

Don’t miss Villars’ nearby concretion limestone cave, decorated with representations of human figures painted by our prehistoric ancestors. Before perhaps taking a dip in the Jemaye lake, remember that you can shop for groceries in Ribérac’s Friday market. Take a look around some of the surrounding domed churches which will be hard to forget. This land of age-old gentlefolk and restored peace will be forever a part of your memory.