The Périgord Noir is one of British buyers’ favourite regions, who love it for its perfectly preserved, almost impossibly picturesque villages, its green, hilly countryside bisected by winding rivers, and the authentically French atmosphere. Oh, and did we mention the warm summers and mild winters? There’s also a big sense of history in this region, which for many years was fought over by the French and English. Thankfully, today relations are quite different!
So if you are looking at property for sale in the Périgord Noir, where would be the best places to look? This week, we’re picking out our favourite villages, where rural charm and good value for your money intersect!
Sarlat-la-Canéda is the Périgord Noir’s thriving centre, and immensely popular among British buyers. It has a fantastically preserved centre, largely car-free and built in the local honey-coloured stone. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of the Cotswolds, just with a French flair. You’ll find regular markets, a lively expat community and a village that remains active year-round. There are plentiful shops and services, unlike some smaller villages, and even some international chains like Burtons.
Saint-Amand-de-Coly is another beautiful spot in the Périgord Noir, and is in fact classified as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France – the most beautiful villages of France. Because of this classification, it, too, is well preserved, and has a thriving local culture and arts scene. 15th August is the village fete, featuring music. dancing, delicious Périgord food and the traditional sounding of hunting horns.
This is in some ways an artisan’s village that has preserved the old ways, and you’ll find an old shop still producing traditional copper cookware. With a couple of restaurants and tearooms, you have your basic needs all within the village itself.
On the banks of the Vèzère, the village of Montignac is a small river port with bags of character. As you’d expect from any good French village worth its salt, it has a twice-weekly market, and a thriving sense of community. It’s flatter than many other villages in the region, making it perfect for cyclists. The Prieuré Saint Georges is home to an indoor crafts market, and, around the Place d’Armes, you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants and boutiques.
This gorgeous village is full of fantastic period properties, built in a beautiful honey-coloured stone. The opposite of Montignac, it sits on the top of a high hill with stunning panoramic views. The road down to the Porte del Bos is a particularly famous and photographed spot. As it is a popular tourist destination, there are 15 great restaurants in the area, as well as many small crafts shops. The downside, which is perhaps an upside for many, is that in high season it can be quite bustling.
5. La Roque-Gageac
La Roque-Gageac is a foodie’s paradise, with its very own Michelin-starred restaurant. It occupies a beautiful position perched against the cliff faces of the Dordogne river, with narrow lanes lined by ancient buildings. For anyone looking for a period property, there is plenty to choose from here. Again, it’s a member of the Plus Beaux Villages association, and it’s easy to see why. The surrounding green hills are ideal for walkers and hikers, and there is a small but close-knit expat community.
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