5 ways to explore the Dordogne Valley with kids

The Dordogne Valley in Nouvelle Aquitaine is one of the largest biosphere reserves in the world. Its unique landscapes with towering cliffs and magnificent chateaux, prehistoric caves, picturesque villages and numerous outdoor activities make it an ideal destination for families. Follow our recommendations for an unforgettable holiday.

Time travel and prehistoric adventures

Man settled in the Dordogne Valley 18,000 years ago, leaving behind exceptional works of art such as the cave paintings of Lascaux (External link) as well as 15 prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley, now declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A key attraction is the International Centre for Cave Art in Montignac-Lascaux, which invites you on a sensory journey that will appeal to both children and adults. The Dordogne Valley offers many activities for kids, who can learn about the practices of our ancestors by taking part in workshops on flint knapping, prehistoric painting and thruster shooting. Don't miss the Rouffignac cave, also known as the 'Cave of 100 Mammoths': children will marvel at the paintings after enjoying a ride on the electric train.

Canoeing on the rivers

The Dordogne Valley is a perfect destination for outdoor sports such as hiking, cycling, golf, climbing, fishing and caving. Families in particular will enjoy canoeing. The rivers of the department offer routes suitable for all ages (from five years and up), with great places along the way to take a break, have a swim and recharge with a delicious picnic. You can also paddle along the Dordogne's waterways to discover magnificent landscapes dotted with cliffs, gorges and chateaux.

Terra Aventura, a lifesize treasure hunt

Exploring the most beautiful sites in France's largest region with your family is now easier thanks to the Terra Aventura (External link) geocaching app. It's a treasure hunt in which the wilful Poï'z characters accompany you in the search for treasure. Terra Aventura offers more than 400 unusual and fun routes to absorb Nouvelle Aquitaine's heritage. The app is available in five languages (French, English, Spanish, German and Dutch).

Foodie experiences for everyone

If your children love food as much as you, a visit to the organic night market in Sarlat (External link) is a great family activity to get to know the emblematic products of the region: foie gras, cep mushrooms, confit duck and goose, truffles, walnuts and strawberries. We recommend strolling around Sarlat itself, a medieval town with cobbled streets classified as a 'Town of Art and History'. Climb the bell tower of the Sainte-Marie church to enjoy magnificent 360-degree views.

Visit offbeat places

The Dordogne Valley has several quirky, secret sites perfect for family visits. One of these is the 12th-century troglodyte fort of La Roque-Gageac, 40 metres above the village rooftops and offering a breathtaking view of the Valley. Climbing it is a real adventure, as access is via a staircase on the side of the cliff. Another unusual place is the roof of the Saint-Front Cathedral in Périgueux, which gives you a different viewpoint on the town's architecture.