If you want to experience one of the most beautiful places in the world, there’s only one thing for it – head to one of our villas in the Dordogne. There’s a reason (in fact, there are loads) that the British and the French fought over it right until the end of the Hundred Years War, and some might argue that it was probably worth fighting over for a whole lot longer. Though it’s a perennially popular place to visit, this is no overly-developed tourist haven, and much of the Dordogne remains beautifully rustic and untouched.
Set right on the banks of the Dordogne, River Dovecote is an exceptional home to kick off this list of lovely places to stay. This former pigeonnier has been beautifully renovated to keep many original features, yet make it a cosy home ideal for families or groups of friends of up to 8 guests. The rustic kitchen leads to a lovely dining area, which in turn leads out through French doors onto the terrace where meals can be enjoyed on balmy evenings with views of the river as the backdrop.
Spend lazy summer days playing in and around the pool area, or if you can tear yourself away from the home then head into any of the many nearby villages to explore boulangeries and markets and come home laden with the freshest produce. This wine-producing region is also replete with vineyards – it’d be rude not to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy back at the house!
Price from: £34pppn
The holiday experience at Villa Shambhala is truly unique, inside and out, with everything from elegant interiors decorated with the owner’s original artwork to a location right on the river. Your experience will begin with a welcome pack of local wines and homemade products for you to enjoy throughout your stay. There are plenty of outdoor spaces perfect for revelling in the good weather and the impressive views. The fountain garden is perfect for your morning cup of coffee, and the roof terrace ideal for a sunset aperitif. And for those travelling with little ones, you’ll be glad to know the garden and courtyard are walled and enclosed for easy supervision.
The villa’s spectacular riverside location makes it perfect for long strolls, swimming, fishing and canoeing. But you are also just a short scenic walk from the nearest village of Pessac, where you can get your coffee and croissants in the morning. For an afternoon activity, take the twenty-minute drive to Saint-Émilion and walk among the ruins.
Price from: £37pppn
Price from: £62pppn
The peaceful stone walls of La Maison Des Moines has a rich history reaching all the way back to the 16th century when it served as a dwelling for monks and priests. In modern day, this beautiful holiday home had been perfectly restored into an oasis of calm and stillness. It is a true countryside retreat where you can take it easy and enjoy good food, wine and views. The Maison is not only perfectly located to benefit from a warm and dry climate, but also to enjoy views of a patchwork of vineyards, fields and green rolling hills. The interiors are spacious and elegant with high ceilings and a clever blend of old and new.
Outdoors, among fragrant lavender, rosemary and heather, you can lounge by the pool and look out over those hypnotizing views. When you’re ready to go a bit further afield, there are local restaurants, wineries, markets and festivals close by in all the prettiest villages of the region.
Price from: £21pppn
Boasting 180-degree views of national park countryside in the beautiful Dordogne is Rogue Cottage, a simple and homely family-sized villa featuring exposed chestnut beams and heaps of charm. It offers endless peace and tranquillity, as well as a private heated pool with sunbeds and an outdoor sofa, a lovely outdoor dining area for enjoying your meals al-fresco on warm sunny days, and a castle tree house in the woods for little travellers. All of these offer some of the best panoramas of the French countryside you’ve ever seen. The property is a family’s dream, but also ideal for couples wanting a romantic getaway.
You’ll notice that the area surrounding the cottage is perfect for cycling, and luckily the local bike hire company will deliver directly to your door. There are also some beautiful walking paths that start from the cottage, and three swimming lakes all less than ten minutes away. You’ll find boulangeries, butchers and even Michelin star restaurants within only five minutes as well.
5. Laurel Rose
Price from: £32pppn
On the outskirts of the small hillside village of Saint Antoine de Breuilh, the picturesque Laurel Rose tops a hillside and overlooks the surrounding vineyards and forests. The owner of the villa is a winemaker herself, and her exquisite wines are available at discounted prices to guests. The sloping gardens and its private pool offer breathtaking views of the countryside, so you might just want to stay outside on the grounds. But even the interiors are wonderful, with their homey feel, rough-hewn walls and original exposed beams. On the grounds, you’ll even find a private fishing pond, a unique feature of this unique property.
The surrounding area will be a delight to lovers of hiking, horseback riding, tennis and even golf. There are also several local villages within driving distance where you can visit local markets, restaurants and historical attractions.
Price from: £22pppn
In the middle of a quiet clearing, with breathtaking views of the Dordogne River Valley from its well-tended gardens, stands the gorgeous stone-built Villa des Arbres. Perfect for spending long days in the sun and late nights in the garden, the villa has everything you’d want for that long-awaited family holiday. There is a covered side terrace that can act as a nice shady spot or the perfect al-fresco dining area when it’s time for a barbecue. The private heated pool is also complete with a spacious terrace as well as comfortable sunbeds and parasols, and for the lucky couple staying in the master bedroom, there is even a jacuzzi bath.
Villa des Arbres is also wonderfully located close to the hillside town of Tremolat, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of restaurants. In fact, this whole region is a foodie’s paradise so make sure you search out those famous truffles, cepes and foie gras.
7. Le Bos
Price from: £22pppn
This picturesque house is full of charm and truly feels like a home away from home. Enter through a picture-perfect arbour into a home where the rooms retain that old-world feel, with stone walls and fireplace facades but tall windows and beams ensure all the spaces remain authentic. Out in the grounds, you’ll find a swimming pool set within a lawn beside a covered dining terrace with space for six diners. With dinner, why not enjoy the delicious wine from the nearby Bergerac wine region?
The local area near to Le Bos is full of hidden gems. One of the best ways to explore them is by taking one of the villa’s bicycles and hitting the road. Our top tip is hitting the Friday market in Ribérac and visiting the town’s many Romanesque churches.
Price from: £28pppn
The well-kept secret of a small hamlet just outside Monpazier, The Tobacco Barn is a holiday home entirely unlike any other in the Dordogne. This family-friendly and architect-designed barn conversion is a bright, modern and spacious property made unique by its wooden exterior. It sits on an acre of private grounds where you’ll find a lawned garden, a large private pool and a shaded al-fresco dining area with its own barbecue. The master bedroom comes complete with a huge wooden balcony from which you’ll have a stunning panoramic view of the Dordogne countryside (but you can also spot them from the spectacular terrace).
Just five minutes from the Barn, in the scenic bastide village on Monpazier, you’ll find all of the essentials (of course including an excellent traditional bistro, Bistrot 2). For the best weekly markets in the area, head for Monpazier or Laline and get a taste for the region.
Price from: £28pppn
Close enough to take a stroll into the village, you’ll find that the modern and sophisticated Manoir Altheas has the feel of a private country home. It was originally built in the 1800’s and has since been restored to the absolute height of elegance. Inside, large windows let in the fresh countryside air, and outside you’ll find lush flower gardens. Amidst these, there is a rustic stone patio which is perfect for enjoying al-fresco meals at any time of day. As part of the property, there is also an independent one-bedroom cottage, which is beautifully furnished and sleeps two extra guests. This annexe even has its own entrance, so it’s the perfect lover’s hideaway.
A short walk through the garden and orchard will take you to the village of Lanquais, and a fabulous restaurant and inn called The Auberge is just five minutes away as well. The must-see of the local area is the historic monument Chateau de Laquais which dates back to the medieval period. For more rich history and food, head towards Bergerac, just fifteen minutes away by car.
Price from: £47pppn
Last but certainly not least, is Chateau Tessyiere, a 17th-century chateau which has been restored to perfection and still represents the epitome of 17th-century manor living. Set within fifteen acres of enchanting grounds made up of gardens and orchards, the property has breathtaking views of rolling green countryside. The Chateau is decorated with elegant interiors and all of the bedrooms have en-suite facilities. There’s also plenty of entertainment for those odd rainy days, including a whole movie library. On the grounds, there is a beautiful private pool nestled in a meadow of wildflowers, and a private lake which is perfect for fishing.
About one kilometre away from the property you’ll find the traditional small-town Thiviers, where you should definitely make a visit when the weekly market is on in the square on Wednesday and Saturday. You can also go golfing, canoeing and horse riding close by.
Feel free to scroll through the rest of our villas in the Dordogne. You can also call our concierge team if you need help with your search or if you have any other questions – we’ll ensure this a trip you’ll remember for years to come.
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