Where is the Black Perigord ?
We left Paris at dawn, drove 5 hours and 30 minutes to find a completely different scenary: incredible landscapes, unparalleled cultural richness and dense forests whose shadows create the black color that gives its name to this area of Perigord. South of France, the Perigord is divided in four areas : the Green Perigord (capital Montron), the Black Perigord (capital Sarlat), the Purple Perigord (capital Bergerac) and the White Perigord (capital Périgueux). The whole area is a natural parc, with lots of wildlife, history and gastronomy. A heaven to visit if you are keen on ancient castles, prehistorical sites and good food and wine.
La Maison de Marquay
In terms of accommodation, I found a real pearl that I would very much like to keep for myself as it is truly exceptional. But, as this blog is about sharing, I will still introduce you this 5 stars boutique bed and breakfast: the Maison de Marquay.
Everything from reception to departure was a real delight. It all starts with a welcome drink in the living room and a pleasant discussion with Gérard, the owner and chef of La Maison de Marquay. He will tell you about the activities of the area that he particularly likes and the visits you should make according to your taste. Very wise advices, everything he told us about was exactly what we were looking for. The bedroom is elegant and refined. All has been well thought of to ensure you the most pleasant stay. The breakfast is another great moment: the scrambled eggs are a marvel !!! The products are fresh, top quality and you can largely do without lunch. Finally, dinner was the icing on the cake! This meal was worthy of the best tables Michelin and would be worth many stars! It was a constant wonder to see those meals as they arrive, so beautifully dressed up with the taste to match the look ! A treat for the palate ! We would have liked to stay longer and we will definitely be back! Now, it’s your turn to enjoy!
The Black Perigord : castles, nature, history …
Among the beautiful surprises of the region, castles, gardens, prehistorical sites, chasms, caves … In short, largely enough to satisfy all tastes and all desires.
The Gouffre de Padirac: A must-do in the area, it is really impressive! It is one of the natural wonders of the world and this underground river will truly amaze you. I advise you to walk down the stairs and not to take the elevator to better appreciate the majesty of this 35m diameter hole that goes down to 103m in the bowels of the Earth. It is forbidden to take pictures in it but believe me, it is spectacular. After a short walk in a rocky tunnel, you finally arrive at an underground river where you embark on a long boat skippered by a gondolier. He will explain to you the story of the discovery of the Gouffre. Then, you disembark at a new pier and you go on a walking tour : giant stalactites, stalagmites, lakes with extraordinary colors, limestone formations … This is an unforgettable sight.
Sarlat: This town is the « capital » of Black Perigord.
It is necessary to get lost in its small streets, in the evening or at sunset, to admire the lights playing on the walls which nimber its medieval stones with gold.
Commarque Castle: Under the ground, a prehistorical cave with magnificent rock horses. Out of the ground, a medieval dungeon that stands like the bow of a ship. Around, buildings in ruins dating from the Renaissance and coming back to life thanks to the passion of a man, Hubert de Commarque. This place has a soul, it must be explored at sunset to feel the history, the centuries crossed and the people who are attached to it. A place of peace, almost mystical, in an incredible setting. We want to follow the progress of the work and contribute to the protection of this heritage of humanity.
The cave of Rouffignac: Also called the « mammoths cave » as it is the most represented animal in that cave with 158 painted individuals. It is one of the largest prehistorical cave in the area with 8km of galleries underground. It was frequented by cave bears and you can see during the visit their claw marks on the walls and the holes in which they rested. Magdalenian artists have expressed their art there. Then years later, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, « explorers » left their mark in the form of « graffiti ». Since 1956, tourists can explore this cave with the help of a small electric train. We get on and off to explore the place and admire the engravings and wall paintings. This cave is really exceptional because here, we are in contact with the original drawings and engravings of these prehistoric people. One can only be moved in front of so much talent from these real artists. The photos are prohibited to preserve these masterpieces and the cave closes from 11:30 to 14h, be careful to plan this break in your visit program!
Lascaux II: The cave of Lascaux was discovered in 1940 by 4 teenagers. It definitively closed in 1963. To allow the tourists to still admire this « Sixtine chapel of Prehistorical times », a facsimile was realized near the original cave. This is the site we are visiting today, created by today’s artists with the techniques of those from the past. It is so well done, with the same techniques, pigments, and even smells as the original cave. The interest of the visit varies greatly however depending on the guide who is commenting your visit which is a pity …
The gardens of Marqueyssac : Since March 1997, these fairy gardens are located on a rocky outcrop dominating the Dordogne valley. In addition to the tour, you can also walk a Via Ferrata along the cliffs in complete autonomy. The landscape is breathtaking but better not to be dizzy!