There is something very special about Domme that keeps me coming back year after year. It is the first bastide town I visited and it is, of course, one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. It’s only 8km south of Sarlat with a very grand entrance through fortified gates with towers on either side which were once prisons. The streets are narrow and steep but full of French charm and character.
I suggest you drive to the top and follow the car park signs. It is a busy place but there are normally enough spaces for all vehicles. The car parking is not free but they use the money to maintain the town. I paid €3 for the day.
You could pick up a map from The Tourist Office at Place de la Halle. The Mairie is located there too and the properties in this part of town date back to the 13th century. This is the main town square and this is where you enter Grottes de Domme too.
What makes Domme so special and attractive is its location on top of the hill. It provides 360 degree views towards the valley and the river below. You can also see La Roque Gageac from there.
The best view in France is here
My favourite part of Domme is the terraced belvedere area on top of the village. This is the best viewing point in the whole of France, as far as I’m concerned. I love it and I spent quite some time admiring it. Great way to clear your thoughts and get some inspiration for the future.
Of course I spent some time reflecting on my past visits with my partner and friends too but I also daydreamed about having my own piece of France in The Dordogne. You know, a traditional stone house with plenty of character and a bit of land for me and a dog. I also like to have my own kitchen and flower garden, like they do in all good French chateaux 🙂
Before you get too carried away daydreaming, I suggest you go to the Artisan Gelateria which is opposite the church. They have a good choice of gelato and you must treat yourself. It will enhance your experience of Domme and that view, I promise you. It’s also worth it just so that you can Instagram it and make all of your friends back home a little envious of your travels 😉
I am a non-practicing Christian but I like going into churches and cathedrals because they are so beautiful and calming. The church in Domme – Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, is very special to me. You can read my travel diary from Domme to see why but it’s sufficient to say that I always come to this church on my visits to France. I go in to get some peace and quiet and connect with the loved ones that I lost.
It is also a good place to cool down, especially if you make the mistake of wearing your thickest jumper on a very hot day, like I seem to do when I visit Domme.
Things to see and do in Domme
Whilst on the subject of cooling down, you must visit the caves at Domme (Grottes de Domme) which are the largest caves in Perigord Noir. You start your tour from the entrance which is on the main square and you finish with a ride in the glass lift on your way back up the cliff.
Even though you can get on one of those tourist trains to go up and down the town, I prefer to explore it on foot. Take your time and admire the old stone houses on either side of the steep streets. Let yourself go and just enjoy being a tourist in a very attractive location.
When you get tired, stop for a coffee and cake. Sit outside and watch the world go by. Then go for a spot of window shopping. Most of them are gift shops catering for the tourists but there are many small galleries and art shops too.
You don’t need to have a list of places to see and things to do in Domme. You will find your way around and you will soon create your own itinerary rather than follow someone else’s suggestions.
Exploring Domme is a great cardio workout, so I suggest you dress accordingly. Avoid my mistake of wearing a very thick jumper on a very hot day. If you must do that, then at least bring a T-Shirt with you, just in case you need to change into something lighter and breathable.
PS: If you like markets, then make sure you visit Domme on a Thursday.