La Roque Gageac, traditional barge ride in Pèrigord in France

La Roque Gageac in Perigord in France from a barge

One of the attractions of my recent trip through the region of Dordogne in France, and specifically by the region of Perigord, was to be able to see some of the beautiful villages that are in this area.

And that is the characteristic precisely of La Roque Gageac, a town that has become listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France afterMont Saint Michel in Normandy, and Rocamadour in Occitania

The Roque Gageac It is located very close to Sarlatwhich is the small medieval town axis of this area of Perigord, just 10 kilometers to the south.

La Roque Gageac in Perigord in Perigord in France

As you arrive you will confirm that its special location is the great attraction of La Roque Gageac, because it is aligned between the base of a high gorge and the Dordogne river that runs making winding curves through this valley.

This special location makes La Roque Gageac enjoy a micro-climate given its orientation towards the south, and also that throughout history it has been an enclave protected from the attacks of the enemies.

La Roque Gageac history

Indeed, the history of La Roque Gageac It goes back many centuries, because there are vestiges of the Roman era.

In the Middle Ages It was an almost impregnable place for its houses open in the cliff rock and fortified.

Manor house at La Roque Gageac in Perigord in France

In the time of Renaissance had a great boom, and in La Roque Gageac stately homes were built by noblemen who came to this place.

Then during the 16th century its history was marked by the avatars of Jean Afternoon, an astronomer who supported the theories of Copernicus, until they were rejected by church and had to retract before the Inquisition.

What to see and do in La Roque Gageac

Nowadays La Roque Gageac It is a small town with just 400 inhabitants, but very visited in the most tourist seasons.

It has become one of the essential places to visit in a route through Perigord.

Beyond walking along the road that runs along the river and the cliff, seeing some of its corners, such as its church or the tropical garden next to it, the best way to see La Roque Gageac It's navigating the river.

Castelnou Castle from the barge on the Dordona river in Perigord

Sail on the Dordogne river

Specifically aboard one of the traditional barges They now have a tourist use.

This is the emulation of the barges that before the arrival of the train were used to transport goods taking advantage of the river current.

The barges they sailed up to 21 kilometers, most of the time downstream, although they also made upstream sections aided by the tide, sails and people pulling them with a rope from the banks.

In the upper part of the river they were only used for a month, and in the lower part where there was more water, for several months.

Sailing in a traditional barge on the Dordogne river in Perigord

Now from one of these barges that run on motor (although they also look like the traditional sail) you will navigate watching the scene that forms the high gorge and the succession of houses with ocher facades of La Roque Gageac.

In this excursion in barge that comes to last an hour, you will continue sailing through the Dordogne river something beyond the enclave of this beautiful town, and you will pass by a small castle.

Marqueyssac Gardens

Also under the hill where the Marqueyssac Gardens, a curious corner that is worth visiting, because from there you have ample panoramic views of the Dordogne Valley.

Marqueyssac Gardens in Perigord in France

In addition you have up to six kilometers of walks through the upper area of ​​the hill, for which up to 150,000 centenary hand carved boxwoods are distributed.

Castelnaud la Chapelle Castle

On board the barge you will arrive almost to the bridge that crosses the road that goes up to the castle of Castelnaud la Chapelle, as we were told,the most visited in southern France.

From the barge you will see the castle on top of a hill, which is completely rebuilt, and its interior now shows an exhibition of medieval weapons with more than 250 pieces.

On your return sailing along the river until La Roque Gageac, you will have the opportunity to enjoy these beautiful landscapes again where you can see up to three castles in different enclaves of the valley.

Castle of Castelnaud la Chapelle in Perigord in France

How to get to La Roque Gageac

The Roque Gageac It is only 10 kilometers south of Sarlat la Caneda, and 200 kilometers from Bordeaux to the east, in the south of France.