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River Dordogne

One of the most iconic rivers in France, the Dordogne is a stunning waterway that meanders its way 483 kilometres through the stunning and idyllic south of France. Beginning in the mountains of Auvergne, the river winds through the southerly section of France before it joins the Garonne near Bordeaux. 

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Countries on the Dordogne

The only country that the Dordogne runs through is France, however within France it runs through numerous 'départements', all of which have a myriad of beautifully picturesque scenery and towns. One of the most beautiful areas along the route of the river is the impressively verdant Périgord region within the département of the eponymous Dordogne. This region also happens to be one of the finest culinary regions in France - impressive considering the exquisite standard of the rest of the country. Here, you may find the home of foie gras as well as a wide range of truffles.

Other départements that the Dordogne flows through include Puy-de-Domê, named for its impressive extinct volcano and created during the French Revolution, Corrèze, another result of the French Revolution and featuring many stunning buildings and towns, Lot, a rather small département and yet another French Revolution area, Dordogne, named for the river itself, and finally Gironde, home to the Bordeaux wine region (and Bordeaux itself). It is in the final département that the Dordogne joins the impressive Garonne before it flows out to sea.

Highlights of the Dordogne

One of the main and most striking highlights of the Dordogne is the river itself. This incredible body of water is actually a UNESCO listed biosphere, thanks to its amazing range of flora and fauna, as well as its route through some of the most stunning areas of France. UNESCO itself cites the fact that the river passes through predominantly low density population areas as one of the main reasons for its listing, as its surroundings are virtually untouched by continuous human presence.

However, the Dordogne is still an incredibly popular tourist destination, and for good reason. Some of the towns along its route are frankly breathtaking in their beauty. One of the towns, or 'communes', include Beynac et Cazenac, an ancient site that started its history in 1115 and is topped by a stunning château, as well as Argentat, a delightfully quaint collection of houses and bridges that are mirrored nearly perfectly in the serene waters of the Dordogne. Thanks to the tourism, it is possible to do a wide range of activities on the Dordogne, including kayaking and fishing. You might even want to go out in a Gabare, which is a skiff that is unique to the river.

Another interesting fact about the Dordogne is it is one of the few rivers in the world to show the very rare 'Tidal Bore'. This is where a large body of water funnels into the narrower river, making a wave effect.

Helpful tips

The language of France is French. A few useful phrases to know would be hello - "bonjour" (bon-jaw), my name is - "je m'appelle…" (zhuh mah-pelle), please - "s'il vous plait" (sih vou-play), and thank you - "merci" (mercy). The currency in France is the Euro, shown as this symbol: "€"

In the Dordogne region of France, life tends to be a little more laid back, and so casual clothes might be appropriate for an evening out. For exploring during the day, sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes would be the best choice, as there might be a lot of walking involved.
The South of France tends to be quite temperate all year round, and rather more warm than the north. It does still, however, benefit from an oceanic climate, meaning that there are 4 definite seasons throughout the year, and so it may be worth having some warmer clothes on hand throughout the autumn and winter months (usually September to March).

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