Have you made a reservation in Mauzens and Miremont in Périgord but the GPS tells you that it is in Dordogne? Don't panic, it's all the same! Welcome to us, where names will sometimes lead you by circuitous paths, to the countries of castles, caves and villages exceptional! 

The département of the Dordogne is often called by its old name: the Perigord

Why do we call the Dordogne, Périgord?

This name dates from Roman times and represented theold province which preceded the department. It designated a county attached to the Duchy of Guyenne with a territory slightly larger than the Current Dordogne.

The administrative organization dates from the old regime. The department as we know it was established on July 28, 1790. 

Why did Périgord become Dordogne?

Ancient geographies subsequent to the creation of the department clearly used the name Dordogne to describe the territory, using that of Périgord when the purpose became more historical or ethnological.

Today, the two names are most often confused by tourist publications. In 2015, the website of the Departmental Tourism Committee granted equality to the two designations. 

Dordogne and Périgord rightly conjure up images of magnificent lands, brimming with history, culture and opportunities for discovery. These two regions are famous for their picturesque villages, rolling, green landscapes and gourmet cuisine. However, although often considered interchangeable, there are significant differences between Dordogne and Périgord.

What is the real difference between the two names?

Overall, Dordogne is a French department which belongs to the region of New Aquitaine

Périgord, for its part, is an old French county which corresponds approximately in the current department of Dordogne, but it is divided into four regions: Black Périgord, Green Périgord, White Périgord and Purple Périgord, each with a different history and culture that sets them apart from each other.

The black Périgord, also known as Sarladais, is perhaps the most famous region. It is the land of prehistoric caves, medieval castles and fortified villages. THE main tourist sites include Lascaux, the medieval town of Sarlat, the castle of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle or Commarque and the village of La Madeleine.

The green Périgord, also known as Périgord Limousin, is the region more rural of the Dordogne. This region is calmer and more preserved, ideal for nature lovers looking for tranquility. The main tourist sites are Brantôme, also known as the “Venice of Green Périgord”, Saint-Jean de Côle, classified “Most Beautiful Villages of France”, Nontron and Thiviers.

White Périgord, or Périgord central, is a region calm, although there are many popular tourist spots. It is a region of hills and cultivated plains, as well as welcoming and picturesque villages: Ribérac, Mareuil, the prefecture of the department: Périgueux. The main tourist sites include the Napoleon Museum in Cendrieux and in Périgueux: Vesunna.

The purple Périgord  is a region which owes its name to the color that the vine leaves take in the fall on the important Bergerac vineyard (13 AOCs and 1 winegrowers). It is there, along the Dordogne River that we walk on a border which separated England and France during the Hundred Years' War. To control the passage of Bastides were erected. Among these towns built according to the same model, some are remarkably preserved, such as Monpazier or Eymet.

What is the main town of Périgord?

Périgueux is the prefecture of the Dordogne department.

It was occupied in Prehistory, the Gallo-Roman era and the Renaissance. Originally, the cradle of the town was Vésonne, its inhabitants were called the Petrocores. Then the Romans arrived. They erected a tower 30m high and 20m wide. The current vestige (the Tour de Vésone) conceals the immense temple that the building actually was. Now, exceptional archaeological collections tell the story of the ancient city and the lifestyles of its inhabitants, the Petrocores at the Vésunna Museum.

The city is large, but visiting it on foot also allows you to get lost in the little nooks and crannies that make it so charming. The protected area of ​​the Dordogne prefecture includes The Périgord Museum of Art and Archeology located on Cours Tourny. It preserves a collection of precious treasures from the past in a charming 19th century building. An abundance of prehistoric remains are gathered there. Many Gallo-Roman antiquities from Périgord, frescoes, mosaics, glasswork, steles and sculptures but also paintings from the 16th to 20th centuries. Push the door, you will be won over!

Then stroll through the old town of Périgueux, rich in 2000 years of history with 44 buildings registered or classified as Historic Monuments. Just look up and contemplate. Strolling through its maze of streets, you can glimpse Romanesque or Italianate decorations, flights of stairs, sculptures, door knockers that bear witness to a rich past. Limogeanne and Eguillerie streets are home to half-timbered houses and private mansions dating from the Renaissance. 100 m from Saint Front Cathedral, you will certainly notice the superb Freemasons' building, listed in the inventory of Classified Historic Monuments, its facades were built in the 19th century. 

On the Place de la Clautre, stands the Saint-Front Cathedral, exotic as can be with its Byzantine structure, its play of domes is admirable. Take to the skies! The cathedral can be discovered in an unusual way from its roofs, close to the domes and columns. The visit allows you to observe the city of Périgueux at 360 degrees. Another way to see the city from above at the foot of the pedestrian streets, the Mataguerre tower, a French fortification dating from the 13th century near the cathedral, is a must-see in this magnificent city. It is protected as a historic monument and offers a beautiful view of the city's rooftops.

Sarlat, the unmissable town for vacationers

Although Périgueux is the prefecture of the Dordogne, Sarlat is certainly the most popular city. When we talk about Sarlat, vacation memories come back to the surface for many French people. 

The city so close to the Dordogne valley renowned for the Château de Beynac, the Château de Castelnaud and its Most Beautiful Villages in France, there is no shortage of attractions in its streets. This medieval city has an exceptional heritage, visible to all duringa family walk in his arteries. The Tourist Office organizes guided tours to present the most beautiful historic buildings and the house of the poet La Boétie. Sarlat is a city of art and history!

Montignac-Lascaux, the town of Lascaux

En Vézère valley, there are many villages which have kept the soul of Périgord but there is one town which attracts all eyes: Montignac-Lascaux.

Home to the most famous prehistoric cave, the Lascaux cave, the town has an equally admirable town center. The narrow streets on either side of the Vézère river, the shops along the quays, the festivals that punctuate the year... Booking a stay in Montignac-Lascaux is guaranteed to have a great holiday in the Dordogne!

Occitan, the vestige of the past

On market days, whether you are in the prefecture or in any other village in the department, you rarely hear the local dialect spoken: Occitan. But every year, the first Sunday in July a festival is dedicated to the culture of the Pays d'Oc: the Félibrée

Inherited from the Occitan poet Frederic Mistral, this festival sponsored by Bournat du Périgord is very popular in the department. But beware of anyone who only sees folklore! On the contrary, it is an opportunity to revive the past full of traditions and stories. Many people believe that traditions will die out, while there is always an elder to pass on the art of the clog maker, the work of the strap maker...
The inhabitants decorate their houses with flowers of all colors. A queen is elected and walks on foot, on the arm of Majoral du Félibrige, through all the streets studded with decorations. After mass and the taulado (meal), the court of love is active: songs, dances, poems by regional and folklore troupes. Obviously, people speak patois there, because this festival is the manifestation of attachment to one's language and its roots. Created to bring the Langue d'Oc back from oblivion, this festival attracts many Périgourdins and tourists. The hundredth edition of the Félibrée took place in Périgueux, attracting more than 3 people over 26000 days and will take place in Montignac-Lascaux in 2023.

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