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Dordonha  (Occitan)
Perigueux prefecture (2).JPG
Castelnaud d5.jpg
Landscape chateau Hautefort 32.jpg
La Roque Gageac 1.jpg
From top down, left to right: prefecture building in Périgueux, Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, river Lourde and La Roque-Gageac
Drapeau fr departement Dordogne.svg
Blason departement fr Dordogne.svg
Location of Dordogne in France
Coordinates: 45°0′N0°40′E / 45.000°N 0.667°E / 45.000; 0.667 Coordinates: 45°0′N0°40′E / 45.000°N 0.667°E / 45.000; 0.667
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Prefecture Périgueux
Subprefectures Bergerac
   President of the Departmental Council Germinal Peiro [1] (PS)
  Total9,060 km2 (3,500 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019) [2]
  Rank 60th
  Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 24
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 25
Communes 503
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Dordogne ( UK: /dɔːrˈdɔɪn/ dor-DOYN, US: /dɔːrˈdn/ dor-DOHN or /dɔːrˈdɔːnjə/ dor-DAWN-yə; [3] [4] French:  [dɔʁdɔɲ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Occitan : Dordonha [duɾˈduɲɔ] ) is a large rural department in Southwestern France, with its prefecture in Périgueux. Located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region roughly half-way between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees, it is named after the river Dordogne, which runs through it. It corresponds roughly to the ancient county of Périgord. In January 2019, Dordogne had a population of 413,223. [5]



The county of Périgord dates back to when the area was inhabited by the Gauls. It was originally home to four tribes. The name for "four tribes" in the Gaulish language was "Petrocore". The area eventually became known as the county of Le Périgord and its inhabitants became known as the Périgordins (or Périgourdins). There are four Périgords in the Dordogne.

The river Dordogne near Castelnaud-la-Chapelle Dordogne 2.jpg
The river Dordogne near Castelnaud-la-Chapelle

The Petrocores took part in the resistance against Rome. Concentrated in a few major sites are the vestiges of the Gallo-Roman period-–the gigantic ruined tower and arenas in Périgueux (formerly Vesone), the Périgord museum's archaeological collections, villa remains in Montcaret, and the Roman tower of La Rigale Castle in Villetoureix. The earliest cluzeaux (artificial caves either above or below ground) can be found throughout the Dordogne. These subterranean refuges and lookout huts were large enough to shelter entire local populations. According to Julius Caesar, the Gauls took refuge in these caves during the resistance.

After Guienne province was transferred to the English Crown under the Plantagenets following the remarriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152, Périgord passed by right to English suzerainty. Being situated at the boundaries of influence of the monarchies of France and England, it oscillated between the two dynasties for more than three hundred years of struggle until the end of the Hundred Years' War in 1453. The county had been torn apart and, as a consequence, that modeled its physiognomy.

During the calmer periods of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the Castillon plain on the banks of the Dordogne saw a development in urban architecture. The finest Gothic and Renaissance residences were built in Périgueux, Bergerac, and Sarlat. In the countryside, the nobility erected the majority of the more than 1200 chateaux, manors and country houses. In the second half of the 16th century, however, war was waged in the area, as the attacks, pillaging, and fires of the Wars of Religion reached a rare degree of violence in Périgord. At the time, Bergerac was one of the most powerful Huguenot strongholds, along with La Rochelle. Following these wars, Périgord, fief of Henry of Navarre, was to return to the Crown for good and would continue to suffer from the sudden political changes of the French nation, from the Revolution to the tragic hours of the Resistance.

We also encounter the memory of the region's most important literary figures: Arnaut Daniel, Bertran de Born, Michel de Montaigne, Étienne de La Boétie, Brantôme, Fenelon, Maine de Biran, Eugene Le Roy, and André Maurois; its great captains: Talleyrand, Saint-Exupéry, Biron; and even entertainer and activist Josephine Baker. A number of ruins (La Chapelle-Faucher, I'Herm) have retained the memory of the tragedies that took place within their walls. Several of the castles and châteaux are open to visitors; some of them, such as Bourdeilles and Mareuil, house noteworthy collections.

In addition to its castles, chateaux, churches, bastides, and cave fortresses, the Périgord region has preserved since centuries past a number of villages that still have their market halls, dovecotes, bories (stone huts)Les bories du Périgord, churches, abbeys, and castles. Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, Connezac, Saint-Jean-de-Côle, La Roque-Gageac, and many others contain important and visually interesting architectural examples. The old quarters of Périgueux or Bergerac have been restored and developed into pedestrian areas. A number of small towns, such as Brantôme, Issigeac, Eymet and Mareuil, have withstood the changes of modern times. A special mention should be made in this respect to Sarlat and its Black Périgord area.

Dordogne is one of the original 83 departments created on 4 March 1790 during the French Revolution. It was created from the former province of Périgord, the county of Périgord. Its borders continued to change over subsequent decades.

In 1793 the communes of Boisseuilh, Coubjours, Génis, Payzac, Saint-Cyr-les-Champagnes, Saint-Mesmin, Salagnac, Savignac, Saint-Trié and Teillots were transferred from Corrèze to Dordogne.
In 1794 Dordogne ceded Cavarc to Lot-et-Garonne. Later in 1794 (albeit during the subsequent year under the Republican Calendar in use at the time), Dordogne gained Parcoul from Charente-Inférieure.
Following the restoration, in 1819, the commune of Bonrepos was suppressed and merged with the adjacent commune of Souillac in Lot.

In 1870, shortly after France fought against Prussia in a war that the enemy was winning, a young aristocrat called Alain de Monéys was savagely tortured and then burned by a crowd of between 300 and 800 people for two hours on 16 August in a public square in the village of Hautefaye in the north-west of the department. Details of the incident remain unclear: the leading participants appear to have been drunk, and before the introduction of mass education most of the witnesses would have been unable (and possibly unwilling) to write down what they saw. But at some stage the victim died, and following a trial four individuals identified as culpable were in turn condemned to die by guillotine. The sentence was carried out in the same public square on 13 February 1885.

It was suggested that the victim had reported the (bad) news of the war in a way that implied support for the enemy, although subsequently it became clear that his patriotic credentials were beyond reproach. It was also suggested that the mob had been antagonized when he called out, "Vive la République!" (Long live the republic) at a time when the patriotic villagers valued the imperial regime, which Parisian revolutionaries were in the process of destroying. This incident has been studied by historian Alain Corbin, [6] among others.


The department is part of the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and is surrounded by the six départements of Haute-Vienne, Corrèze, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Gironde, Charente-Maritime, and Charente. Dordogne is the third-largest department of metropolitan France. It is slightly comparable in size to Cyprus or just under half the size of Slovenia.

Principal towns

The most populous commune is Périgueux, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 9 communes with more than 5,000 inhabitants: [5]

CommunePopulation (2019)
Périgueux 29,896
Bergerac 26,693
Boulazac Isle Manoire 10,737
Sarlat-la-Canéda 8,816
Coulounieix-Chamiers 7,387
Trélissac 7,006
Terrasson-Lavilledieu 6,266
Montpon-Ménestérol 5,704
Saint-Astier 5,352


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
source: [7] [8]

The population peaked at 505,789 in 1851 according to that year's census. After that the population declined to 373,000 by 1975. This reflected the long term population decline observed in many of the rural departments resulting from changes in agriculture and the lure of higher industrial wages available in more urbanized regions.[ citation needed ]. Between 1975 and 2010, the population increased again, reaching 415,000. [8]

Dordogne has a British immigrant community. The region has between 5,000 and 10,000 British residents[ citation needed ] and 800 British entrepreneurs, drawn by the French lifestyle, warm climate, and lower cost of living. The village of Eymet is at the heart of the trend, with 200 British families among 2,600 inhabitants. [9]


The President of the General Council is Germinal Peiro of the Socialist Party.

Socialist Party 34
Union for a Popular Movement 5
French Communist Party 4
Miscellaneous right 5
Union of Democrats and Independents 2

[ needs update ]

Current National Assembly Representatives

ConstituencyMember [10] Party
Dordogne's 1st constituency Philippe Chassaing La République En Marche!
Dordogne's 2nd constituency Michel Delpon La République En Marche!
Dordogne's 3rd constituency Jean-Pierre Cubertafon MoDem
Dordogne's 4th constituency Jacqueline Dubois La République En Marche!


There are more than 1,500 castles in Dordogne, making it "The Other Chateau Country" [11] including:

The famous caves of Lascaux have been closed to the public, but a replica of Lascaux II is open to visitors and is a major tourist attraction. Périgueux has important Roman ruins, including an arena which is still visible inside a public park located near the town centre.

Dordogne is particularly popular with Britons and other foreigners, as a location for second homes. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sarlat-la-Canéda</span> Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Sarlat-la-Canéda, commonly known as Sarlat, is a commune in the southwestern French department of Dordogne, a part of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Sarlat and La Canéda were distinct towns until merged into one commune in 1965.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Périgord</span> Natural region in France

Périgord is a natural region and former province of France, which corresponds roughly to the current Dordogne department, now forming the northern part of the administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It is divided into four areas called the Périgord Noir (Black), named so for the truffles that can be found there, the Périgord Blanc (White), for chalk cliffs and quarries, the Périgord Vert (Green), for forests and forestry and the Périgord Pourpre (Purple), for wine and viticulture. The geography and natural resources of Périgord make it a region rich in history and wildlife, and the newly created Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin aims to conserve it as such.

Bergerac, Dordogne Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Bergerac is a subprefecture of the Dordogne department, in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Southwestern France. In 2018, the commune had a population of 26,823, which made it the department's second-most populated after the prefecture Périgueux. Located on the banks of the river Dordogne, Bergerac was designated a Town of Art and History by the Ministry of Culture in 2013.

The following is a list of the 25 cantons of the Dordogne department, in France, following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015:

Arrondissement of Bergerac Arrondissement in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

The arrondissement of Bergerac is an arrondissement of France in the Dordogne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It has 130 communes. Its population is 102,859 (2016), and its area is 1,819.9 km2 (702.7 sq mi).

Arrondissement of Périgueux Arrondissement in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

The arrondissement of Périgueux is an arrondissement of France in the Dordogne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It has 143 communes. Its population is 175,309 (2016), and its area is 2,869.3 km2 (1,107.8 sq mi).

Arrondissement of Sarlat-la-Canéda Arrondissement in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

The arrondissement of Sarlat-la-Canéda is an arrondissement in France in the Dordogne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It has 136 communes. Its population is 81,863 (2016), and its area is 2,273.1 km2 (877.6 sq mi).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Montignac-Lascaux</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Montignac-Lascaux, is a commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It is a small town situated on the Vézère river and has been the capital of the canton of Montignac since 1790. In 2015 it became the capital of the newly created Canton de la Vallée de l'Homme. The poet Pierre Lachambeaudie (1806–1872) was born in the village.

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Château de Bourdeilles Castle in France

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Château de Commarque

The Château de Commarque is a hillside castle located between Sarlat and Les Eyzies, in the commune of Les Eyzies in the Dordogne department in southern France. It stands on a rocky outcrop in the valley of the river La Beune in the Vézère valley region.

Thenon Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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Beynac-et-Cazenac Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eymet</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Siorac-en-Périgord</span> Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Siorac-en-Périgord is a commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. Siorac-en-Périgord station has rail connections to Bordeaux, Périgueux, Sarlat-la-Canéda and Agen.

Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site of prehistoric decorated caves in the Vézère Valley, France

The Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in France since 1979. It specifically lists 15 prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley in the Dordogne department, mostly in and around Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, which has been called the "Capital of Prehistory". This valley is exceptionally rich in prehistoric sites, with more than 150 known sites including 25 decorated caves, and has played an essential role in the study of the Paleolithic era and its art. Three of the sites are the namesakes for prehistoric periods; the Micoquien, Mousterian, and Magdalenian. Furthermore, the Cro-Magnon rock shelter gave its name to the Cro-Magnon, the generic name for the European early modern humans. Many of the sites were discovered or first recognised as significant and scientifically explored by the archaeologists Henri Breuil and Denis Peyrony in the early twentieth century, while Lascaux, which has the most exceptional rock art of these, was discovered in 1940.

Périgord noir Natural region in France

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Château Cramirat Château in Dordogne, France

Château Cramirat is a 12th-century Templar castle in the village of Sergeac, Dordogne (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), southwest France. A French national historic monument, the château is situated in the heart of the Vézère river valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Valley of Mankind.


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  2. "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  3. "Dordogne" (US) and "Dordogne". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 30 July 2020.
  4. "Dordogne". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  5. 1 2 "Populations légales 2019: 24 Dordogne" (PDF). INSEE. December 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 January 2022.
  6. Corbin Alain, Le village des "cannibales", Paris, Aubier, 1990, 204 p.
  7. "Historique de la Dordogne". Le SPLAF.
  8. 1 2 "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  9. "From 'Dordogneshire' to Normandy, Brits race for French office". 7 March 2008.
  10. Nationale, Assemblée. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés, le vote de la loi, le Parlement français". Assemblée nationale.
  11. Woods, Katherine (1931). The Other Chateau Country; the Feudal Land of the Dordogne. John Lane The Bodley Head.
  12. Dare Hall, Zoe (5 June 2019). "Why Dordogne property seduces British buyers". Financial Times.