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Is Périgueux on your list of places you might like to visit in France? It's indeed a great city with roots into the times of the Roman "occupation" of France and a beautiful Renaissance neighborhood. The area is famous for its gastronomy and pleasant way of life.
Let's get the names straight first. Périgueux is in the Périgord, and isn't that a tongue twister for English speakers? But today it's in the department of the Dordogne and the New Aquitaine region, which means it falls under the jurisdiction of Bordeaux for administrative purposes. Long ago the name Périgord covered all the lands that belonged to the counts of Périgord and so you'll find both names to this day: Dordogne and Périgord.
The city today is about 65,000 people within city limits and 150,000 if you count all the towns that surround it, so it's a medium size French city.
Recommended Accommodation in Périgueux
Maison d'Hôtes Annie tested in Périgueux: La Villa Marguerite. A lovely home with friendly hosts. They've renovated this home with a handful of beautifully themed rooms that they clean to perfection every day. They serve a tasty breakfast with pastries, freshly chopped fruit and yogurt. The only thing Annie wasn't excited about was the fact that the bed was hard.
What Stands Out about Périgueux
When you first arrive in Périgueux what stands out is the large Basilica in a Byzantine style that towers over the city. For those of you who have been to the Sacré Coeur in Paris, this basilica looks somewhat like that, but it's older. Take a look at the brochures before you arrive to get familiar with the area.
You could say that there are two distinct parts of Périgueux that are worth visiting. You can see it all in two days, but you could spend 3 or 4 days and visit surrounding villages as well.
The first not to miss is around the Basilica there are a lot of gorgeous Renaissance buildings. The second part that is not to be missed is the Roman area. This 2-page map by the Tourist office is helpful to discover the city on your own.
Great Restaurants in Périgueux
There are a lot of great restaurants in the area and if you're going to be going to the ones listed here it's best to reserve in advance because they are popular! We were there on a long week-end and it was busy, so we didn't get to try any of them (sad face), next time!
But here are the restaurants our French Maison d'Hôtes hosts recommended. They are French (from Paris) and they have great taste, so we trust them.
Michelin Restaurants in Périgueux
- Un parfum de gourmandise
- Hercule Proireau
- Café Louise
Traditional Local Restaurants
- Le 66 degrés
- Chez Nico
- Le Troquet
- Le clos Saint Front
Vegetarian Restaurants in Périgueux
- Le 66 green
- La Firma (Italian)
- Trattoria Les Coupoles
- Le Seizième
- La Péniche
- Guinguette chez Barnabé
- Café Riviera
- Watson Pub
- Garden Ice Café
- La Clarté du Vin
Other Things to Check Out in Périgueux
- The cookbook festival
- Les Coucounettes (a preparation made of foie gras and something sweet that's about the size of an egg)
- Tourin à l'aïl soup
- Mardi Gras (biggest Mardi Gras in the southwest of France)
- La Truffe d'Argent
- Macadam Jazz Festival
Vesuna by Jean Nouvel
They were digging for a new HLM construction and they found Roman ruins. To protect the ruins they asked architect Jean Nouvel to build something that looks like an umbrella or hat supported by glass. The building is gorgeous and the collections impressive. This is not to be missed!
If you stay in Périgueux for several days, you could also visit several attractions in the north of the Dordogne:
- Montignac and Lascaux
- Château des Bourdeilles
- Château des Bories
- Abbaye de Chancelade