French Property Location Guide: Dordogne

French Property Location Guide: Dordogne

The dramatic and delectable Dordogne has been attracting holidaymakers and housebuyers for decades, but does it live up to its colourful reputation? Annaliza Davis finds out…

Who hasn’t heard of the Dordogne? This area in southwest France is famous for delectable food, dramatic valleys and great weather. Its inland location east of Bordeaux and south of Limoges, places the Dordogne between the Loire Valley and the Pyrénées. This explains its dramatic river gorges, valleys and lush greenery, but fans of the Dordogne are particularly drawn to its heritage, which is both cultural and culinary: this is the land of truffles, foie gras, Bergerac wines and more.

According to INSEE (the French national statistics office) over 7,000 Brits have chosen to make Dordogne their home, particularly around Eymet and Riberac, but with 9,000km² there’s no shortage of space. France’s population density is 71 people per km², but here it drops to 46 people per km² and most of the area is classed as ‘rural’.

The department comprises four distinct geographical areas: Périgord Vert is to the north surrounding Nontron, Périgord Blanc centres around Périgueux, Périgord Pourpre is southwest Dordogne centred on Bergerac, and Périgord Noir is southeast around Sarlat. Each Périgord has its own valleys, lakes, hiking and mountain-biking trails, wonderful historic architecture and swathes of vineyards.

The Dordogne has very definite seasons, with cold winters averaging between -5°C and 5°C, while summer temperatures reach between 25°C and 35°C, but can get as hot as 42°C.

The River Isle passes through Périgueux on its way to meet the Dordogne, Photo: Shutterstock


In 2023, property prices in France have risen to €3,302/ m², yet Dordogne continues to represent great value for money, as properties here cost an average of €1,633/m². Even better news for investors is that in some areas, you can find properties for under €600/m² so you should find something to suit your budget.

The most costly areas are around Périgueux, certain suburbs of Bergerac and around Sarlat to the southeast of Dordogne, where properties can fetch up to €4,000/m². Further out from the cities, in the rural north, your budget will go a lot further.


Brantôme sits on the Dronne river and is also known as the Venice of Périgord, Photo: Shutterstock

For rental investments, Bergerac’s population of 27,000 includes 47% tenants, so this is a prime location for a buy-to-let. For €160,000, you can invest in a property comprising two apartments and a studio already used as a student let for €1,100 income a month, or be swayed by a beautiful timbered townhouse in the old quarters for just €129,000. Périgueux offers more of a city feel with 29,000 residents, a greater proportion of young people and a higher population density of 2,979/ km² (compared to 470/km² in Bergerac). In Périgueux, your €160,000 would buy a three- bedroom home with a garage, either in the centre or further out with more land.

For a popular tourism spot, beautiful Brantôme on the River Domme (2,500 residents) offers lots of opportunities with a 50m² house here coming in at under €75,000 and renovation projects costing from €38,000. Brantôme boasts a breathtaking abbey overlooking a weir, plenty of architectural heritage and charming stone houses from €129,000 or even detached villas that are move-in ready for less than €200,000.

While the Dordogne has no coast, there are plenty of riverside properties and homes with swimming pools. In Belvès (34km west of Sarlat) a budget of €317,000 will secure you a former watermill complete with pool and an incredible 20,000m² of land. Alternatively, 15km east of Bergerac in Mouleydier you can buy an exceptional riverside retreat with private mooring for €350,000.

For both rural expanses and renovation projects, Périgord Vert to the north is your best bet, as the average cost per square metre is lower here than elsewhere in Dordogne. Right now, there’s a property available at under €90,000 with two detached cottages in need of some renovation, each with their own utilities and entrances, plus a separate stone barn.

As for building, you’ll find plots of around 1,500m² throughout the area starting at €20,000, but check that you’re looking at building land (terrain constructible) or, even better, one with water and electricity ready to connect (terrain viabilisé). In north Dordogne near Thiviers, €20,000 buys a plot of 2,500m³, which is more than enough for a detached home and huge garden. In fact, using the average plot size for a new-build in England, it’s enough for seven properties!


La Roque Gageac, Photo: Shutterstock

This part of France offers three airports (Bergerac, Bordeaux and Brive-la- Gaillard), with the added option of Limoges nearby. Several low-cost flights are available to these airports, offering competitive rates and quick connections. Train travel is also an option via the Eurostar into Paris, then from Paris to Périgueux, which can take less than four hours thanks to the high-speed rail (TGV) connections.


Bergerac’s picturesque old town en fête during the summer months. Photo: Shutterstock

With mostly rural landscapes, the Dordogne has diverse farming and food industries, but incomes are relatively low, notably for labourers, farmers and artisans. Pensioners have the most disposable income, along with the three million tourists who visit every year, as the Dordogne is France’s top non-coastal tourism destination. Tourism is a vital part of the local economy, representing 22% of the region’s income.

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Every issue of French Property News delivers in-depth regional buying guides, sound and trusted advice from leading experts, inspirational real life stories, renovation tales and lots of lovely properties to browse.

Lead photo credit : The bronze statue of Le Badaud, or onlooker, people watches from his perch on a wall in Sarlat-la-Caneda, Photo: Shutterstock

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Annaliza works for herself as Agent British, writing, translating and doing voiceovers, specialising in tourism and marketing. Most of her projects are magazine articles and websites, and she also does professional training and workshops.

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