The Dordogne is a spectacular region to explore with friends. Not only is there an abundance of natural beauty, but it’s so varied that there is loads for you to do whether you’re all about relaxation, want to taste each and every one of the local delicacies, or prefer to tackle the landscape head-on with some adventurous activities. We’ve found some of the best group activities in Dordogne and collected them below – now all you need is to find a few like-minded friends and choose which of our luxury Dordogne holiday villas you want to stay in!
1. Get in touch with your inner caveman at Gouffre de Padirac
If your group can only make it to one on the area’s many cave complexes while in Dordogne, make it this one. These spectacular caves are just a small step over the border into the neighbouring Lot department. A trip here isn’t your bog-standard sightseeing experience; even the journey into the cavern is filled with adventure, requiring a dizzying 103-metre descent either by foot or with a lift followed by a subterranean boat ride. Inside the cave’s chambers, the vistas – comprised of a turquoise lagoon, a colossal 60-metre stalactite and concretions, candelabra and calcite cascades of every imaginable shape and size – are truly surreal.
Location: Le Gouffre, 46500 Padirac, France
Book: Call +33 5 65 33 64 56
2. See Cabaret at Le Music Hall
Want to add a touch of pizazz to your holiday? Fancy some frills, feathers and fishnets? You’ll get your fill of all of these (with an added dash of fabulous) at a cabaret show at Bergerac’s premier performance venue, Le Music Hall. A company of dancers, comedians, magicians and acrobats will cavort on stage, showing off their costumes and moves, while you and the rest of the audience tuck into some grub. The shows are in French, but don’t let that put you off – you don’t need to be fluent to appreciate the can-can after all.
Location: 109 rue Neuve d’Argenson 24100 Bergerac
Book: Online at Le Music Hall
3. Brush up on your manners at Jardin Eyrignac
If topiary is an art form, then Jardin Eyrignac is an outdoor gallery of the highest order. The gardens here are home to some of the best examples of the form on this planet. Groups can arrange private tours of the striking grounds with the French owner Patrick Sermadiras (the gardens have been in his family for an impressive 22 generations) and an English translator. After the tour, sip a drink in the estate’s manor home. Or, if you think some of your friends or family could do with improving their hosting skills, arrange for a class in the art of entertaining instead. During the workshop, you’ll learn everything from how to create floral arrangements and decorate tables to how to comply with the rules of propriety.
Location: Lles Jardins Du Manoir D’Eyrignac 24590 Salignac Dordogne – Périgord
Book: Call +33 5 53 28 99 71
4. Shop at Sarlat Market
Stocking the kitchen in the holiday villa doesn’t have to be a chore. We’d go as far to say that if you go do it during one of Sarlat’s market days (Wednesday and Saturday), it will be a delight. Sarlat, with its turrets, ivy-covered walls, cobbles and courtyards, is pretty enough at the best of times, but even more so when the market is in full swing and all the fruit, veg and local produce is set out on display. You and your friends can peruse the stalls and pick up classic Dordogne foodstuffs, from duck, goose and foie gras to cherries, walnuts and truffles. If you tire of shopping, grab a coffee and simply sit and observe from the market’s edge; the people-watching here is unrivalled.
Location: 3 Rue Tourny, 24200 Sarlat-la-Canéda, France
Book: Call + 33 5 53 31 45 45
5. Go for a spin with Liberty Cycle
Leave the confines of your rented villa for a bit of wind-in-your-hair, fresh-air-in-your-face fun with a bike ride along the Dordogne. With Liberty Cycle, you’ve got two options. You can rent the bikes for your group and strike out along the smooth surface of the greenway route from Sarlat, which runs along a disused rail line. Or go the whole hog and arrange for a guided day tour. If you opt for the latter, a guide will lead your posse on a 2.5-hour ride along the Dordogne. You’ll stop to explore a traditional Dordogne farm complete with frolicking animals and you’ll indulge in a foie gras tasting that will have you rhapsodizing for days.
Location: 24220 Sarlat – Dordogne – France
Book: Call +33 (0)7 81 24 78 79
6. Paddle the Dordogne with Canoe Roquegeoffre Port D’Enveaux
Want to arrange a perfect day for your travelling companions? A gentle paddle down the sun-specked Dordogne with your pals is just the ticket. The scenery here is glorious with lots of chateaux or medieval fortresses, honey-hued villages, sheer limestone cliffs and duck-filled farm. Two possible canoeing routes are available: you can tackle the 14-kilometre route from La Roque Gageac to Enveaux over a half-day or if you think your biceps are up to it, the 28 kilometre-run from Carsac to Enveaux, which will take a full day.
Location: Enveaux, 24220 Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse, France
Book: Call +33 5 53 29 54 20
7. Wander the ruins at Chateau de Commarque
The guidebooks tend to focus their attention on the most majestic and best-preserved chateaux, but visitors who step off the beaten path will find a palpable sense of history and magic among the evocative ruins of this castle. Entering Chateau de Commarque is like entering a time warp; the thought of duelling knights battling on horseback here doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. Explore the nooks and crannies of the complex as a group. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, settle in for a picnic near the benches and enjoy the excellent views of the castle itself.
Location: 24620 Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, France
Book: Online at Chateau de Commarque
If you’re hankering after some adventure and need somewhere to stay, get in touch with our concierge team. They can find you the right accommodation and even help arrange activities for you! If you’re looking for more inspiration on what to do and how to get the best of your trip to Dordogne, head to our blog! You might like our top 5 sights to see in Dordogne or our guide to enjoying the region authentically – just like a local!
Image Credits: Gouffre de Padirac via Tourisme Lot, Cabaret via Tripadvisor, Jardin Eyrignac via Eyrignac Jardins, Sarlat Market via Sarlat Tourisme, Bicyclists via Liberty Cycle, Canoeing via Canoes Roquegeoffre, Chateau de Commarque via Chateau de Commarque