The Dordogne is one of France’s most entrancing regions, with a cinematic beauty that seems almost too perfect to be real. Curving gracefully through a landscape of vineyards, pastures and orchards, the Dordogne River is often lined with steep hills and limestone bluffs riddled with caves. And on seemingly every convenient rise stands a château, sometimes alone, sometimes surrounded by a medieval village of golden stone. Not to be missed are the famous prehistoric cave drawings at Les Eyzies and Lascaux, the formidable Château de Beynac, the well-preserved 13th-century fortified hamlet of Domme and the Renaissance old quarter of Sarlat (the foie gras center of France). Consider a day trip to the vertical village of Rocamadour and to the Padirac Chasm, which has an underground river toured by boat. Spring and fall are the best times for a visit.

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