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Le sud Sarladais — the Grand Tour of the Périgord noir

marco_44 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Le sud Sarladais — the Grand Tour of the Périgord noir

Hiking Collection by Vincent Reboul

9

Tours

49:58 h

113 mi

10,100 ft

South-western France’s Périgord region, situated between the mountains of the Auvergne and the vineyards of Bordeaux, is truly multi-coloured. In order to underline the particularities of these micro-regions, they have been given four distinctive colours.

Purple is the colour of the town of Bergerac and its surroundings, where the vine is omnipresent. The white in the centre of the department and near the town of Périgueux takes its name from the limestone plateaus. The green Périgord, located the furthest north, is hilly and dotted with meadows and beautiful oak forests. The Périgord that interests us most though, is the one located around the town of Sarlat. The colour black has been chosen here and it refers to the dark green oaks which are very present in this part of the Dordogne. The undergrowth is dense, giving the landscape a mysterious feel. It’s also the land of black truffles.

This Collection lets you discover the lesser known part of the Sarladais. The itinerary starts south of Sarlat-la-Canéda, in the town of Domme. Here, the Dordogne River is majestic, and the villages and castles perched along the river add to the magic.

You’ll be amazed by the number of castles you see along this 9-stage, 190 kilometre (118 mi) route. The towns and villages seem to have come straight out of the Middle Ages, without having aged a bit. Not a day goes by without surprises.

The special thing about this Collection is that it takes you to places that are seldom visited. The paths and small roads are shaded and blissful to walk along, while the diversity of the landscapes is remarkable.

I don’t recommend hiking in winter in this region, as everything is likely to be closed. However, all other seasons are great. For me, May and June are the best months, as nature is so exuberant during these times. The route is also well suited. It always combines a more difficult day of walking with a gentler day, so that you don't get too tired.

You will find small hotels, gîtes and campsites aplenty so accommodation is no problem.

The Dordogne and the neighbouring departments of Lot and Lot-et-Garonne have a reputation for being among the most gastronomic in France. If you aren’t familiar with this cuisine, which uses only local products, then you’re in for a treat.

Get ready to taste foie gras or duck breast, Quercy lamb, strawberry or walnut pie. The region’s cheese is not to be outdone with the Cabécou de Rocamadour: a delicious creamy goat cheese. As for the wines, well, there’s the Monbazillac wine which is more suitable for dessert and the Bergerac red wine which is more suitable for dishes with sauce. As a hiker, you’ll certainly be well fueled.

To reach the starting point, you’ll have to take the train to Sarlat, then a bus on line 14 to reach Domme. Another solution is to go directly to the SNCF station in Gourdon. In this case, you can start the itinerary from stage 2.

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Le Grand tour du Périgord noir

111 mi

10,025 ft

10,025 ft

Last updated: September 14, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Domme to Gourdon — the Grand Tour of the Périgord noir

    Difficult
    06:16
    14.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    For the first stage of this hike, you will start by immediately discovering very pretty medieval villages. Indeed the town of Domme, your starting point this morning, and that of Gourdon, your point of arrival at the end of the day, are two very fine examples of what human genius has been able to do

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    by Vincent Reboul

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  • Intermediate
    05:00
    11.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    775 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Here is a very easy and really pleasant day. The land is fun. It consists of short climbs and descents throughout the course. Arrive at two-thirds of the route, you will follow the Céou river for a few kilometers before arriving at Pont-Carral, then Salviac.

    

    Camping in this village, at the end of the

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  • Difficult
    05:33
    12.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    For this third stage, you are moving far from the beaten track, in an unknown Quercy and little frequented by tourists. The villages of Cazals and Frayssinet, as well as the small lakes, the deserted paths, and the numerous forests, will be the must-sees of the day.

    

    At the end of the route, after passing

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  • Intermediate
    03:59
    9.02 mi
    2.3 mph
    725 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage of moderate difficulty serves as a transition day before the following longer stages.

    

    Along the GR, you will discover a landscape with vegetation typical of limestone soils. You come across many bories made of this rock along the way. This testifies to the use of local resources by men, and

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  • Difficult
    06:22
    14.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After the department of Dordogne, that of Lot in Quercy, you leave the GR to evolve today in Lot et Garonne. It is a bordering department, located between the Garonne and its singing accents of the south-west, and some of the most famous places in the Périgord noir. This department off the beaten track

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  • Intermediate
    04:16
    9.80 mi
    2.3 mph
    725 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    For this sixth stage, you are back on a famous GR. This is the GR 36 which goes from the Channel to the Pyrenees.

    

    take your time on the paths, and explore the village of Biron, and its magnificent castle, both located almost halfway.

    

    You will also be amazed by the charm of the bastide of Monpazier which

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  • Difficult
    08:12
    18.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You are back in Dordogne. There is no longer any doubt, because you will find the medieval castles, the high churches, and the valleys which shelter prehistoric sites. The Couze valley, which you reach halfway through, is one of these sites of importance for humanity.

    

    You evolve in an archaeologically

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  • Difficult
    05:35
    11.9 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Here you are back in the most famous part of the Dordogne, namely that of the castles reflected in the water of the Dordogne and perched on their cliffs. The first to be on your way is the Château des Milandes, the famous residence of Josephine Baker. She had this crazy dream of raising 12 adopted children

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  • Intermediate
    04:45
    10.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,175 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    To end this hike, your last day of walking ends with an easy day, so that you can fully enjoy your last kilometers along the Dordogne. Tonight you will be back in Domme.

    

    The path goes up the course of the Dordogne on its right bank before branching off towards Beynac. Here again, a castle, and a remarkable

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    9
  • Distance
    113 mi
  • Duration
    49:58 h
  • Elevation
    10,100 ft

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