In the Périgord Vert
Extending across the most northerly swathe of the Dordogne département, the Green Périgord takes its name from its profuse vegetation and numerous streams and rivers (such as the Dronne, Isle, Auvézère and Bandiat), as well as its varied natural landscapes and rich historical heritage. These natural assets have led to the creation of the Parc Naturel Régional Périgord Limousin, which extends across two départements. One of the park’s main aims is to protect and conserve local resources and traditional skills.
In the Périgord Blanc
Situated in the heart of the département, the White Périgord takes its name from the whiteness of the region’s stone, which is so prized by sculptors. The area is crossed by the Isle and Auvézère rivers, which offer excellent fishing, and is also home to Périgueux, the old city of Vesunna with its Gallo-Roman remains. Périgueux, the capital of the département, is a “Town of Art and History”, with narrow streets bordered by townhouses in its protected historical districts and the Saint-Front cathedral, a stopping point along the Way of St James UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the Périgord Noir
In the south-east of the département, the Black Périgord is recognised worldwide for the wealth of prehistoric remains in the Vézère and Dordogne valleys and has been designated as an International Centre for Prehistory. The Vézère valley is home to some of the richest prehistoric sites in Europe, including Palaeolithic sites, caves and natural rock shelters. Fifteen of these decorated sites are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In the Périgord Pourpre
Vineyards and bastide towns are the two jewels of the Purple Périgord, situated to the south-west of the département. Standing in the heart of these famous vineyards which cover an area of 12,000 hectares (the region has 13 appellation contrôlée vineyards, including Monbazillac, Pécharmant and Montravel) is the town of Bergerac, often mistakenly associated with Cyrano, the famous long-nosed character created by novelist Edmond Rostand. However, the town does boast the French author Michel de Montaigne as one of its native sons.