Family Weekend in the Dordogne

When parents think about traveling to the Dordogne region of France, most moms and dads probably think about the delicious foods including the foie gras, truffles, walnuts, strawberries, and also the duck confit! When French children think about this region, they think more about traveling back into prehistoric times and visiting caves such as the Grotte de Lascaux! In 4 and a half hours by train from Paris, the Dordogne is the ideal destination for a long weekend or even better, a week long holiday.

La Dordogne

We spent three fun filled days with the family in the Périgord. During the weekend we visited Lascaux, the new International Center for Cave Art which presents an exact replica of the true cave from prehistoric times.  We also tasted delicious foods from local farmers, spent two nights in a tree house and last but not least, we went truffle hunting for the famous Perigord black truffles.

For the perfect family weekend, here are just a few suggestions of things to do in the Dordogne region.

1. The Grotte de Lascaux (Lascaux IV or “The International Centre for Cave Art”) – The discovery of this magical site begins with a visit to an exact replica of the Lascaux cave.  The tour is conducted by a tour guide in small groups.  Each visitor is provided with a “compagnon de visite” or a visitor’s companion. This touchscreen tablet allows each visitor to explore the site in a unique and interactive way in order to learn all about Lascaux.  There is also a special program on the tablet adapted especially for kids.  With the tablet, visitors can also take photos and send them via email to keep as souvenirs.

The Lascaux cave contains animal paintings that date back to over 20,000 years ago!  The original cave is just a few meters away, but it has been closed to the public due to safety reasons since the 1970’s.  Overall, in this new centre (opened on December 2016) the visitor is completely immersed and feels as if they are truly experiencing the true Lascaux cave.

There are also several other amazing caves to visit in the Dordogne including the Padirac gouffre, the Proumeyssac gouffre, Grand Roc cave, Font-de-Gaume cave, and Maxange cave.

Please note that several caves are open to the public starting in April, while others are open year round.

La grotte de Lascaux
la grotte de Lascaux

2. Sarlat-la-Canéda Farmer’s Market is known for it’s famous truffle market. At this beautiful outdoor market you will find local products including walnuts, cheese, duck confit, sausage, strawberries and several other delicious goods.  It’s easy to spend a few hours visiting the farmer’s market and wandering through the streets of this charming village.

Other exceptional villages to visit include Périgeux and Brantôme ( the Périgord’s little Venice).
 La Dordogne en famille
Sarlat la Canéda
Sarlat marché
Sarlat la Canéda

3. The Cabanes de Jeanne – Sleeping high in a treehouse is not only a children’s fantasy, but also a parent’s dream.  At the Cabanes de Jeanne wooden houses are suspended around the trees offering a sensational view of the countryside surroundings. Despite being authentic and 100% natural, these tree houses offer all modern conveniences including heating, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom with a massage jet shower. Overall, the cabanes are extremely comfortable and practical for families!  Another special detail includes the copious breakfast that is delivered each morning at the bottom of the tree house.  The kids will enjoy hoisting it up in a crate with the aid of a pulley!

 The Cabanes de Jeanne are located on an old farm with donkeys, pigs, goats and a sweet white horse. Children can safely run around and mingle with the animals or also enjoy ping pong, swim in the pool or play on the outdoor jungle gym.
Les Cabanes de Jeanne
Les Cabanes de Jeanne
 Les Cabanes de Jeanne
Les Cabanes de Jeanne
Les Cabanes de Jeanne
4. Truffle Hunting – Participate and learn about truffle hunting (trufficulture) with Eric and Nadine Allegret, thanks to their adorable dog, Prune! After a short explanation about truffles we spent a few hours hunting and digging for the Tuber melanosporum. Afterwards, we participated in a cooking class in order to learn how to make a delicious Périgord truffle dinner including truffle ice cream!
Les truffes
Les Truffes
les Truffes
It isn’t possible to visit the entire Dordogne region in just a weekend, but this trip was perfect for getting a small taste of this beautiful area in France that is rich in food, nature and history.
Now we just have one more thing to do… go back in Spring or even better… in Summer! A few other spots that we would like to visit include the Bournat Park, the gardens at the Château de Marqueyssacthe cingle de Trémolat, the Eyzies de Tayac, the National Museum of Prehistory, among several other places…
Have you already visited the Dordogne?  If so, please feel free to share your experiences with us in a comment below!

This post is also available in: French

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