AskDefine | Define dordogne

Extensive Definition

Dordogne (Occitan: Dordonha) is a department in central France named after the Dordogne River.


The Dordogne is a region of South West France between the Loire valley and the High Pyrénées named after the river that runs through it. Locally it is known as the Périgord. This dates back to when the area was inhabited by the Gauls: four tribes lived there, and the name for "four tribes" in the Gaulish language was "Petrocore", which eventually became the Périgord and its inhabitants became the Périgordin. There are four Périgords in the Dordogne: the "Périgord Verte" (Green Périgord) with its main town of Nontron, consists of verdant valleys in a region crossed by many rivers and streams; the "Périgord Blanc" (White Périgord) situated around the regions capital of Périgueux, is a region of limestone plateaux, wide valleys and meadows; the "Périgord Pourpre" (Purple Périgord) with its capital of Bergerac (the home of Cyrano), is a wine region; and the "Périgord Noir" (Black Périgord) surrounding its capital of Sarlat, overlooks the valleys of the Vézère and the Dordogne, where the woods of Oak and Pine give it its name.
The Petrocores took part in the resistance against Rome. Concentrated in two or three 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 first cluzeaux, or artificial caves either above or below ground, are found throughout the Dordogne. These subterranean refuges and lookout huts could shelter entire populations. According to Julius Caesar the Gauls took refuge there.
Since the Guienne province had returned to the Crown under the Plantagenets following the re-marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152, Périgord passed by right under English suze-rainty. Being situated at the boundaries of influence of the monarchies of France and England, it was to oscillate between the two dynasties for a long time. Over three hundred years of struggle until 1453 and the end of the Hundred Years War were to tear apart and, as a consequence, model its physiognomy.
With the end of the Hundred Years War, the Castillon plain on the banks of the Dordogne, during the calmer periods of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, saw a development in urban architecture. The finest Gothic and Renaissance residences were built in Périgueux, Bergerac and Sarlat. In the countryside, the nobility had the majority of our 1200 chateaux, manors and country houses erected. In the second half of the sixteenth century, however, they experienced attacks, pillaging and fires as the Wars of Religion reached a rare degree of violence in Périgord. At the time, Bergerac was one of the most powerful Huguenot stongholds, along with La Rochelle. Following these wars, Périgord, fief of Henry of Navarre. was to return to the Crown for good and suffer henceforth 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 its most illustrious literary figures: Bertran de Born, Michel de Montaigne. Etienne de La Boetie, Brantôme, Fenelon. Mahle de Biran, Eugene Le Roy and Andre Maurois; its great captains: Talleyrand, Saint-Exupery, Biron... and even Josephine Baker. A number of ruins (La Chapelle-Faucher, I'Herm...) have retained the memory of the tragedies which took place within their walls. Several of our castles and châteaux are open to visitors and some of them such as Bourdeilles and Mareuil, house remarkable collections.
In addition to its castles, chateaux, churches, Bastides and cave fortresses. Périgord has preserved from centuries past, a number of wonderful villages which still have their market hall, dovecotes, Tories (stone huts), church, abbey and castle (s). Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere, Conclat, Saint-Jefm-de-Cole, La Roque-Gageac and many others are real jewels of architecture. As for the old quarters of Périgueux or Bergerac, restored and developed into pedestrian areas, they have regained their former charm. A number of small towns, such as Brantôme, Issigeac. Eymet and Mareuil, have with-stood the often brash changes of modern times. A special mention should be made in this respect to Sarlat and Black Périgord.
Dordogne is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from the former province of Périgord, the county of Périgord.


The department is part of the region of Aquitaine and is surrounded by the departments of Haute-Vienne, Corrèze, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Gironde, and Charente, 6 départements. It is the third largest department of France.


Dordogne has become one of the favourite destinations of British immigration to France, (more than 20 000 in 2006)


There are more than 1,000 castles in Dordogne, including the following:
The famous caves of Lascaux have been closed to the public, but the duplicate model cave 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 in Popular Culture

Michael Crichton's Timeline (novel) is placed in two time periods of Dordogne.
Douglas Boyd, the author husband of flautist Atarah Ben-Tovim, set parts of each of his six thrillers in Dordogne.
dordogne in Aragonese: Dordoña
dordogne in Franco-Provençal: Dordogne (dèpartement)
dordogne in Breton: Dordogna (departamant)
dordogne in Bulgarian: Дордон (департамент)
dordogne in Catalan: Dordonya
dordogne in Chuvash: Дордонь (департамент)
dordogne in Cebuano: Dordogna
dordogne in Czech: Dordogne (departement)
dordogne in Danish: Dordogne
dordogne in German: Dordogne (Département)
dordogne in Spanish: Dordoña (departamento)
dordogne in Esperanto: Dordogne
dordogne in Basque: Dordoina
dordogne in French: Dordogne (département)
dordogne in Indonesian: Dordogne
dordogne in Italian: Dordogna
dordogne in Pampanga: Dordogne
dordogne in Latin: Duranius (praefectura Franciae)
dordogne in Lithuanian: Dordonė (departamentas)
dordogne in Dutch: Dordogne (departement)
dordogne in Japanese: ドルドーニュ県
dordogne in Norwegian: Dordogne
dordogne in Norwegian Nynorsk: Dordogne
dordogne in Occitan (post 1500): Dordonha (departament)
dordogne in Low German: Dordogne
dordogne in Polish: Dordogne (departament)
dordogne in Portuguese: Dordonha
dordogne in Romanian: Dordogne
dordogne in Russian: Дордонь
dordogne in Slovak: Dordogne (departement)
dordogne in Slovenian: Dordogne (departma)
dordogne in Serbian: Дордоња
dordogne in Finnish: Dordogne
dordogne in Swedish: Dordogne
dordogne in Vietnamese: Dordogne
dordogne in Tajik: Департаменти Дордон
dordogne in Ukrainian: Дордонь
dordogne in Venetian: Dordogna
dordogne in Chinese: 多尔多涅省
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