Dordogne River Valley Series : Bourdeilles

Stories. The kind families share on the dining table framed with nostalgic laughter and childhood memories. Bourdeilles is a destination that held such stories, at least for the family I have married into.

This is a new travel series that I will start about our Family Road Trip to Dordogne, France one unusually cold spring weekend in 2019.

Dordogne means 2 things. The first one is a long river and the second one is a department in southwestern France.

Why Dordogne?

It was a spontaneous idea to visit this region for many reasons: (1) we wanted to spend quality time with my in-laws; (2) to celebrate my daughter's birthday in a scenic getaway; (3) to meet a gyrocopter distributor after receiving an invitation to attend their private event ; and (4) to marvel Dordogne's beauty.

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

I watched countless travel documentaries about Dordogne every time I was vacationing in France. 22 of the most beautiful villages in France can be found in this department. Hence, I made a mental note to see it someday, tucked the thought behind, and left it to fate. We just skimmed the surface given the short time we had.

Each village has its own character and personality. The best way to explore it is on foot or on a bicycle through numerous scenic trails.

Getting to Dordogne

We drove from the Atlantic coast of Les Sables d'Olonne to Perigueux for a total of 4 hours with an overnight stopover in Angouleme to break the long drive (I will create a different post about this next time). The private gyrocopter event was scheduled on a Saturday before lunch that lasted until mid-afternoon. It was on the way to Perigueux where we decided to base ourselves by booking a hotel within walking distance from the main attractions.

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Unplanned Trip to Bourdeilles

The trip to Bourdeilles was unplanned. The name of the place rose on several occasions which were associated with these words in french; camping and disappointment. However, the latter was the opposite of what I saw as soon as I got out of the car.

We parked our vehicle in an unpaid parking lot shaded by trees roughly around 120 meters away from the Chateau de Bourdeilles on foot.

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Bourdeilles is a charming village that is nestled on the edge of the river Dronne.

Two British ex-pat women who have found a home in this part of France cycled past, baguettes in their bicycle basket. Their English conversation chimed in the wind which was quite rare to hear in this part of the world. A lady placed the menu board outside a restaurant terrace in preparation for their opening.

Walking along the road leading up to the castle felt like walking through a fairy tale. There was hardly any tourist around that morning, just us. No one from the family wanted to enter the chateau but me so I decided not to.

Château de Bourdeilles is made up of two castles within the castle walls. A medieval fortress in the 13th century and a Renaissance Palace in the 16th Century.

The fork on the road bends towards a stone bridge that was re-built in the 14th century that boasts the river Dronne.

There were beautiful manor houses after crossing the bridge. On Sundays, the village comes alive with the Market Day on Sundays right down at Place de la Halle.

We lingered around the camping area where a playground for kids stood at the center of a wide-open space facing the river.

View of the Château de Bourdeilles from the other side of the river

The Panoramic Viewpoint

The highest point in the village behind the park next to Église Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens offers a gorgeous view of the castle grounds and its potager against the river Dronne.

Wander Around the Village

There's always something beautiful to capture here. Interesting sites to see are Château de Bourdeilles, Panoramic Viewpoint, Medieval Center, Moulin Seigneurial,15th century Maison de Senechal, the Stone Bridge, Église Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens and more.

A must-see town nearby is Brantôme which will be part of the series. If you're headed this way, you'll find Fourneau du Diable (Devil's Furnace), pre-historic shelters made of natural rock overhanging on top of the road.

My in-laws re-told the story of how many decades ago, they booked a vacation house and ended up disappointed by the horrible state it was in. The internet didn't exist yet at that time. They ended up staying in the camping grounds instead where they had a wonderful vacation.

Thank you for reading. The next part of the Dordogne series will be about Perigueux.

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Hello Arni. Dordogne definitely looks like a romantic location to immerse oneself. An ideal place to unwind, relax and be away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Is the French architectural style a dominant feature in that village? Or are there other foreign design elements that joined the mix?

Hi Erne, I believe yes, the french architectural style in varying eras. In my opinion, it's mostly French. The only thing I noticed that was borrowed from the Italian renaissance is the balustrade behind the french manor overlooking the vegetable garden.

It's interesting to note that French Architecture varies as well from region to region but they're quite nationalistic (same with safeguarding the french language) so their own style is predominant everywhere.

I think when we go to Perigueux in my next post there might be some unusual styles that could be seen.

The Dordogne region is on my list of places to visit in France. It looks beautiful. I'm glad to see that this is a series. I look forward to seeing more!

There's so much to see in Dordogne Périgord. We've only managed to visit the villages around Périgueux. Foie gras, black Dordogne truffles, and walnuts are their notable specialties in the region.

Wow such a beautiful city, such history and old buildings. Great stuff spending time with the in laws. Free accommodation while you travel 🤣

Looks absolutely beautiful as a town/city. I love this old buildings. Are they Gothic?

Hello @melbourneswest, oh yes certainly haha, it's a great time to catch up. For the last 2 decades, we have been switching almost yearly, they'd visit us this year and then the next year we'd visit them wherever we were and take turns with accommodation thus saving on the hotel costs 😊. But there were times we planned travels together to a foreign country together. The last one was a road trip to NZ for a month.

It's sad though, this was the longest time we haven't seen them. After their last visit to us here in the Philippines, they vowed not to travel again due to a stressful and tiring long journey from France but the pandemic has changed their minds and they expressed their love to travel again.

Oh, yes, one of the castles in Château de Bourdeilles is a Gothic one while the one next to it and most of the french manor houses are from the Renaissance. Have a great weekend!

That's actually a fairly tale kind of place. What a clean and beautiful village. That little café specially, Oh wow! You should have worn a flowy dress and walk like some princess over that place. I would love to visit there someday:)

Hi Sahiba, thank you for reading. The cafe was indeed so pretty. I mentioned this trip to my family in France last night over skype. We were glad to have done this escapade and under such beautiful weather. It's definitely worth renting a car and driving around Dordogne.

Hiya, @LivingUKTaiwan here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made it into our Honorable Mentions in Daily Travel Digest #1167.

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Thank you so much @livinguktaiwan and @pinmapple team for the mention 😀

So a department is like a region in France?
It's such a beautiful place. Lucky you guys to not be invaded with tourists!!!

Hello @livinguktaiwan, looking back, it was a quiet Monday morning when we visited Bourdeilles.
A region in France is made up of several departments and then each department is subdivided into many arrondissements or districts.
Have a beautiful day ahead

Hey @discoveringarni Hope you are doing good, sorry for the late comment was little acquired up.
Okay so that place is one to visit for sure. That peaceful place with wonderful company of your family is one to live for. Every picture is like an art.
Waiting eagerly for the next part of Dordogne series to come up.
Keep flourishing :D

Hi Praditya, how are you, so far so good, No worries, thank you for reading and leaving a comment, I highly appreciate it. Hope all is well and wishing you a great week!

amazing photos :) looks like you had a nice time there
so beautiful buildings :)

Thank you @katrin-lux for your message, I'm glad you liked it. It makes me wonder though how this village is doing now as well as its residents during the pandemic.

yes totally that's what i think of many sights, would definitely be interesting to travel there after the pandemic :)

Indeed, keep safe and take care 🙂

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Really a good photography.