Magical, Picturesque and Unforgettable : only La Roque Gageac
Located in the Aquitaine region in the Dordogne department of France, La Roque Gageac offers a magical, picturesque and unforgettable setting that welcomes visitors from across the globe. Ideally situated directly beside the Dordogne River, one of the most incredible sights to behold in La Roque is the many of the houses that are built directly into the face of the massive cliff that overhangs the village. Above the cliff are steep steps that lead to the infamous troglodyte caves, which boast an extravagant botanical garden and spectacular views. It is a destination not to be missed !
So lovely is this little commune that it is a member of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (“The most beautiful villages of France”) association. The entire village, particularly near the charming little church, boasts a spectacular tropical-like garden that visitors can wander through as they explore the narrow streets of the town. The towering cliff behind the village shields the area from wind and cold weather from the north, while the open southern view allows it plenty of sunshine. These two factors make it possible to grow a fantastic variety of plants and flowers as far as the eye can see. The garden was created in 1970 by Gerard Dorin and continues to flourish and attract visitors from around the world.
Just about all of the old houses in La Roque were constructed in the traditional yellow stone that the Dordogne area has become known for and most boast stone roofs. Perhaps the most noteworthy structure in the area is the Chateau de la Malartrie, which also happens to be one of the most recently constructed. Although most of the homes in La Roque are situated along the river, you will also spot some of the medieval houses built up the hill and set into the cliffs above. One of the loveliest ways to get a glimpse of the old homes and buildings is to take a leisurely canoe ride along the Dordogne River and take in the charm of the village as you drift by.
Another thing that makes La Roque such an interesting place to visit is the massive troglodyte fort which is set in the cliffs some 40 metres above the village. Constructed during the 12th century, many of the vestiges are still standing. La Roque Gageac was the perfect location for the fortress and gave it a significant strategic and defensive position in the area. Right below the troglodyte fort sits one of the village’s most amazing structures, the Renaissance Manoir de Tarde, which featuers a round tower and unique mullion windows.
Given the village’s well-known beauty and unique landscape, it’s not surprising that it happens to be quite popular with tourists. Don’t let this deter you, however. Just plan accordingly – arrive early and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the old town as it welcomes visitors from the present into its magical and intriguing past. It’s certain to be a journey you won’t soon forget !