“If Paradise existed on earth, it would surely have been this setting that it would have chosen” wrote Henri Miller about this sublime village – Paris ZigZag

It is one of the jewels of the Dordogne in which we dwell today. In the heart of Périgord Noirthis picturesque village leaning against a cliff is ranked among the Most Beautiful Villages in France. The American novelist Henry Miller was not mistaken… Follow us for a little tour of Paradise…

One of the most beautiful villages in France

Located in the heart of the Dordogne valleyin the South-West of France, this medieval village nestled between limestone cliffs and the peacefully flowing river, offers an exceptional natural setting and a remarkable architectural heritage. With its golden stone houses built against each other on the side of a cliff, and whose reflection can be seen in the Dordogne, its narrow and steep streetsor its terraced gardens along the cliffs, the setting is absolutely beautiful.

La Roque-Gageac © AdobeStock_charlie

We even find, in its center, a surprising exotic gardenthought and created by the former diplomat, traveler and botanist Gérard Dorin. Palm trees, banana trees, cacti, date palms, giant bamboos and others Mediterranean and tropical plants live together there, taking advantage of the microclimate enjoyed by the village. So much so that you no longer know where to look, everything is so charming. An unusual placeopen to visitors free of charge, and maintained by a local association.

A heritage of great richness

The history of the village dates back to medieval times, where its position overlooking the river by 120 meters made it a strategic stronghold. Over time, river trade and fishing contributed to its prosperity. Wood, hemp, walnut oil, wine…, from the 15th century, goods were transported via traditional transport boats flat bottom called gabareswhich have been restored and today offer sightseeing cruises along the Dordogne to allow visitors to explore the natural beauty of this valley and enjoy a exceptional point of view on the village and its cliffs.

La Roque-Gageac and the Dordogne © AdobeStock_snapitude
La Roque-Gageac and the Dordogne © AdobeStock_snapitude
Saint-Donat Church La Roque-Gageac © Dan Courtice - Sarlat Périgord Noir Tourist Office
Saint-Donat Church La Roque-Gageac © Dan Courtice – Sarlat Périgord Noir Tourist Office

Other spectacular panoramaat 180°, the one that awaits you at the top ofa dizzying staircase leading to the upper part of the cliff. This is where he stands the impressive troglodyte fortdug into the cliff above the village in the 9th or 10th century, and the barely visible remains of the castle of the bishops of Sarlat. And since we are talking about the historical heritage of the village, we must also mention the fortified manor of Tardea listed 17th century residence which is now private, but whose exterior with its traditional architecture is worth a look, as well as the pretty Saint-Donat churchbuilt on the side of a cliff in 1330 and covered with lauze, the traditional stone of Périgord.

La Roque-Gageac, Henri Miller’s Paradise

A true jewel of Périgord Noir, La Roque-Gageac is one of those places that opens a magical parenthesis. No doubt, we are in one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. And if it alone is worth the detour, a stay in the village is also an opportunity to enjoy the surroundings which also have no shortage of points of interest. In fact, less than 10 minutes away, there are the unmissable Sarlatbut also Castelnaudformer home of a icon of the Roaring Twenties, Beynac with its imposing castle, facing them the Gardens of Marqueyssac with their park of more than 22 hectares, or even Domme with its 13th century royal bastide.

La Roque-Gageac at sunset © Boris Stroujko / Shutterstock
La Roque-Gageac at sunset © Boris Stroujko / Shutterstock

Of the cultural events and artistic exhibitions are organized to promote the culture, local traditions and history of the region. Creators Market, Producers Market, Festival of Gourmet Terroirs… Because, obviously, the region’s renowned terroir is also highlighted by the village’s restaurants which offer traditional Périgord cuisine where foie gras, truffles and nuts delight the taste buds! It is therefore a real feast for the senses that La Roque-Gageac promises, a village as unique as it is unforgettable. Novelist Henry Miller made no mistake: “If Paradise existed on earth, this is surely the setting he would have chosen”.

To prepare your visit to Fort de La Roque-Gageac, it’s this way !

Also read: A sublime and romantic medieval village nicknamed “The Venice of Périgord”

Featured Image: Alley of La-Roque-Gageac © Dan Courtice – Sarlat Périgord Noir Tourist Office

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Mélina Hoffmann

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