Troglodyte sites in the Dordogne: a fascinating journey back in time
The cliffs of the Périgord are home to many troglodyte dwellings. From simple shelters to real villages built into the rock, these sites are a must when you come to visit our region. You'll be amazed at the extent to which these dwellings enabled our ancestors to protect themselves by overlooking the Périgord valleys. From La Roque-Saint-Christophe to Belvès via the village of la Madeleinefollow the guide! But do you know the definition of a troglodyte or cave dwelling?
What is a cave dwelling?
L'etymology of the word troglodyte means that it is a human being living in a cavea hollowed-out area in a cliff or natural cave.
The troglodyte can stay in this dwelling temporarily or permanently.
It was during the Neolithic period that man began to develop these rock cavities. They began to settle down at this time.
Don't be confused: a troglodyte is a person who lives in a troglodyte site or village.
What troglodyte villages can you visit in the Vézère valley?
The region of the Vézère valley is rich in troglodyte villages, each with its own special character.
La Roque-Saint-Christophe : the most impressive cliff Black Perigord
La Roque-Saint-Christophe is a huge cliff between les Eyzies and Montignac-Lascaux. The natural cavities in the limestone wall, more than a kilometre long and 80 metres high, have provided shelter for cave dwellers since the Middle Ages. Prehistory. At Middle Ages and up until the early Renaissance, a fort and a village were established. A visit to this town is particularly interesting because you can see how the inhabitants created tools to improve their facilities.
The troglodyte village of La Madeleine: witness to the prehistoric past of the Vézére valley
Not far from the La Roque-Saint-Christophe site, at TursacStop off at La Madeleine. You'll discover shelters reconstructed using period materials to evoke the habits and customs of the cliff dwellers. Within this troglodytic city, take advantage of an educational trail with a museography accessible to all.
The site has been occupied for over 17,000 years.
From prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, troglodyte life is explored from every angle (from baking bread to defensive equipment!). For a number of years now, the site has been home to a peasant farm with local products.
The Maison Forte de Reignac, the most unusual site in France
The location of the Maison Forte is impressive: this clifftop castle overlooks the Vézère valley. Although it was listed as a Historic Monument in 1964, the site has been inhabited for over 20,000 years. The hunter-gatherers gave way to the lords of Reignac, whose armoury and great hall can still be seen. You can also enjoy the incredible views and panoramas from the Maison Forte de Reignac.
Le Conquil, the authentic rock shelter
The walk along the cliff face allows you to admire the village of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézèreclassified Most Beautiful Villages in France but also to get as close as possible to this authentic troglodyte dwelling. Set in shady parkland, the Conquil site is open from April to All Saints' Day.
What troglodyte villages can you visit in the Dordogne valley?
Belvès, listed as one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France"
This village, whose name means "beautiful view", is also well worth a visit! In fact, it is, Belvès has some real gems, with its 16th-century castle and 13th-century churches. You can also take advantage of the market that takes place under a beautiful covered market. To this already rich heritage, you can add cave dwellings which have been converted to explain the daily life of the peasants who lived there in the Middle Ages. Belvès is also the starting point for a series of walks You can walk, cycle or horse-ride through some magnificent scenery.
La Roque Gageac and its troglodyte fort
In the Black Perigord is also a beautiful village along the banks of the Dordogne. Stroll through the narrow streets and admire the buildings with their lauze roofs. As you climb up the cliff, you will discover Fort de la Roque Gageac which, at a height of 120 m, tells part of the story of France. Don't hesitate to follow a guide to find out more. And be warned, the view is incredible.