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The Madeleine Village

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The Forte House of Reignac

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La Roque Saint-Christophe – Troglodyte fort and city

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Le Conquil – Troglodyte site

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Troglodytic sites in the Dordogne: a fascinating journey through time

The cliffs of Périgord are home to numerous troglodyte dwellings. From simple shelters to real villages created in the rock, these sites are unmissable when you come to visit our region. You will be amazed to see to what extent these habitats allowed our ancestors to protect themselves by overlooking the Périgord valleys. Of La Roque-Saint-Christophe to Belvès via the village of Madeleine, follow the leader ! But do you know the definition of a cave or cave dwelling? 

What is a troglodyte dwelling?

THEetymology from the word troglodyte means that it is a human being who lives in a cave, dug place in a cliff or natural cave.
The troglodyte can stay in this dwelling temporarily or permanently.
It was during the Neolithic that men began to create these rock cavities. They begin to settle down at this time.
Do not confuse: the troglodyte therefore designates the person who inhabits a troglodyte site or village.

 

We estimate at 25 the number of troglodytes who lived in these habitats at the beginning of the 20th century.

Which troglodyte villages to visit in the Vézère valley?

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The region of the Vézère valley is very rich in troglodyte villages, each with their own specificity.

La Roque-Saint-Christophe: the most impressive cliff from Périgord Noir

La Roque-Saint-Christophe is an immense cliff between Les Eyzies et Montignac-Lascaux. The natural cavities of the limestone wall, more than a kilometer long and 80 meters high, served as shelter for troglodytes from prehistory. To Middle ages and until the beginning of the Renaissance, a fort and a village were established. The visit to this city is particularly interesting because you will be able to see how the inhabitants have created tools to improve their developments.

The troglodyte village of La Madeleine: witness to the prehistoric past of the Vézére valley

Not far from the La Roque-Saint-Christophe site, Tursac, stop at Madeleine. You will be able to discover shelters reconstructed with period materials to evoke the habits and customs of the inhabitants of this cliff. Within this troglodyte city, enjoy an educational journey with a museography accessible to all.

The site has been occupied for more than 17 years.
From Prehistory to the Middle Ages, troglodyte life is discussed from all its angles (baking bread but also defensive paraphernalia!). For several years the site has been home to a peasant farm with local produce.

The Maison Forte de Reignac, the most unusual site 

The location of Maison Forte is impressive: this cliff castle overlooks the Vézère valley. Although it was classified as a Historic Monument in 1964, the site has been inhabited for more than 20 years. Indeed, the hunter-gatherers gave way to the lords of Reignac, whose weapons room or the great hall of honor can be seen. You can also enjoy the incredible views and panoramas offered by the Maison Forte de Reignac.

Le Conquil, the authentic rock shelter

The walk built in the cliff allows you to admire the village of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, class Most Beautiful Villages of France but also to get as close as possible to this authentic troglodyte habitat. In a shaded park, the Conquil site welcomes you from April to All Saints' Day.  

Which troglodyte villages to visit in the Dordogne valley?

Belvès, classified as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”»

This village whose name means “beautiful view” is also worth a detour! Indeed, Belvès contains real gems with its 16th century castle but also 13th century churches. You can also enjoy the market which takes place in a very beautiful market hall. To this already very rich heritage, you can add troglodyte dwellings which have been designed to explain the daily life of the peasants who lived there in the Middle Ages. Belvès is also the starting point for hikes on foot, by bike or on horseback allowing you to discover magnificent landscapes.

La Roque Gageac and its troglodyte fort

In the Black Périgord There is also a very beautiful village that runs along the Dordogne. You can stroll there to appreciate its small streets and its buildings with slate roofs. It is by climbing along the cliff that you can discover the Fort of Roque Gageac which, from the height of its 120 m, tells part of the history of France. Do not hesitate to follow a guide to find out more. And be careful, the view is incredible.  

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