Our Picks in the Perigord Noir
This corner of The Dordogne provides an embarrassment of riches for tourists. Home to many treasures of medieval history and pre-history, it’s also a geologer’s paradise
◆ Château Castelnaud
This 13th Century castle built on a high outcrop of rock faces its old rival, the Château de Beynac across a deep valley. During the 100 Years War it backed the English Plantagenets against the French Kings. Now restored, it houses a museum of medieval warfare, with full-scale catapults and trebuchets for the kids to clamber on.
◆ La Roque Saint-christophe
Humans have built their homes inside this kilometre-long cliff for millennia. The porous rock, many natural caves and its proximity to the river made it the perfect place for a settlement. It is now a museum show-casing how pre-historic, then medieval man lived, worked, fought and even worshipped here in buildings carved into the rock. 24620 Peyzac-le-moustier
◆ Grotte de Proumeyssac
For centuries, locals were terrified of this pit, which they called the ‘Devil’s Hole’ because it regularly emitted steam. In 1907 the first person to descend into the chasm discovered the magnificent display of stalactites and stalagmites, which are now spectacularly illuminated for visitors.