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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 (PS)
  Total9,060 km2 (3,500 sq mi)
  Rank 58th
  Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 24
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 25
Communes 505
^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; [1] [2] French:  [dɔʁdɔɲ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Occitan : Dordonha [duɾˈduɲɔ] ) is a department in Southwestern France, with its prefecture in Périgueux. Located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region 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 2016, Dordogne had a population of 414,789.



Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
source: [3]

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.

Dordogne River near Castelnaud-la-Chapelle Dordogne 2.jpg
Dordogne River 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, the terrors of war again visited 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-Exupery, 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), 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.

The incident was widely reported at the time and has since been extensively researched. This summary relies on the work of Alain Corbin, [4] a modern historian specializing in the 19th century who analysed the incident and the mass psychology behind it.


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.


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

Current National Assembly Representatives

ConstituencyMember [5] 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!


The population peaked at 505,789 in 1851 according to that year's census. After 150 years of steady decline it fell below 400,000 by the year 2000. 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. However, during the first decade of the 21st century, the decline has been reversed.

Dordogne has a thriving British immigrant community. The region counts between 5,000 and 10,000 British residents and 800 British entrepreneurs, drawn by a laid-back 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. [6]


There are more than 1,500 castles in Dordogne, making it "The Other Chateau Country" [7] 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. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Sarlat-la-Canéda Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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

Périgord Natural region in France

The 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), the Périgord Blanc (White), the Périgord Vert (Green) and the Périgord Pourpre (Purple). The geography and natural resources of Périgord make it an unspoiled region rich in history and wildlife, and the newly created Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin aims to conserve it as such.

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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 Nontron Arrondissement in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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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 138 communes. Its population is 81,863 (2016), and its area is 2,273.1 km2 (877.6 sq mi).

Montignac-Lascaux 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.

Château de Bourdeilles Castle in France

The Château de Bourdeilles is a castle located in the commune of Bourdeilles in the Dordogne département in southwestern France. A castle may have existed at Bourdeilles in the 9th century, but the oldest parts of the current castle date from the early 14th century. The castle consists of an octagonal keep, connected to a two-story building of which only the outer walls remain. Next to the old castle, a Renaissance palace was built at the end of the 16th century. Much of the interior decoration has been preserved. The castle and the palace are surrounded by a wall. The entrance gate is protected by two round towers. Since 1919, the château has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

Château de Commarque

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

Thenon Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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La Gonterie-Boulouneix Part of Brantôme en Périgord in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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Manzac-sur-Vern Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Manzac-sur-Vern is a commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.

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Périgord noir Natural region in France

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Dordogne (river) River in France

The Dordogne is a river in south-central and southwest France. It is 483.1 km (300.2 mi) long. The Dordogne and its watershed were designated Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on July 11 2012.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine Administrative region of France

Nouvelle-Aquitaine or New Aquitaine, is the largest administrative region in France, spanning the west and southwest of the mainland. The region was created by the territorial reform of French regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. It covers 84,036 km2 (32,446 sq mi) – or 18 of the country – and has 5,956,978 inhabitants. The new region was established on 1 January 2016, following the regional elections in December 2015.

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.


  1. "Dordogne" (US) and "Dordogne". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press . Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  2. "Dordogne". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  3. Site sur la Population et les Limites Administratives de la France
  4. Corbin Alain, Le village des "cannibales", Paris, Aubier, 1990, 204 p.
  6. "From 'Dordogneshire' to Normandy, Brits race for French office". 7 March 2008.
  7. Woods, Katherine (1931). The Other Chateau Country; the Feudal Land of the Dordogne. John Lane The Bodley Head.
  8. Dare Hall, Zoe (5 June 2019). "Why Dordogne property seduces British buyers". Financial Times.