Discover La Roque-Gageac
Explore a picture-postcard-perfect medieval village on the Dordogne River
Officially recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in
France, La Roque-Gageac is largely situated at the foot of a cliff
on the banks of the Dordogne River in central south-western
As with many European destinations, although there is evidence of human inhabitancy in the area dating back to prehistoric times, La Roque-Gageac's origins as a settlement really begin in the Roman era. A potential target of Vikings and other invaders, the village's cliff-side position proved beneficial; in the twelfth century a virtually impregnable fortress was constructed high up in the rock face and remained an effective defence until its dismantling in the eighteenth century.
La Roque-Gageac itself is a delightful jumble of medieval cottages and houses built from the distinctive honey-coloured stone found in the Périgord Noir region of France. These are overlooked by a beautiful sixteenth-century Renaissance-style manor house, the former home of Jean-Gabriel Tarde, an astronomer, philosopher and mathematician also regarded as one of the founding fathers of sociology.
As a result of its geographical position, sheltered by cliffs, and its south-facing orientation, La Roque-Gageac benefits from its own consistently-warm microclimate; a fact exploited by the botanist Gerard Dorin in 1970 when he created a tropical garden beside the village church where banana, olive, fig and lemon trees still thrive along with palms and other exotic plants.