The Dordogne by motorhome: tips, areas, itineraries

Dordogne en camping-car

Nouvelle-Aquitaine is an ideal destination for travelers from all over France. This summer, why not discover the Dordogne by motorhome?

The Dordogne is a historic region of southwest France, corresponding to the former county of Périgord. In the Middle Ages, the area played an important role in French sovereignty. Charlemagne himself established the first Count of Périgord, Widable.

Over the centuries, many lords have succeeded one another. From William I to Catherine-de-Bourbon, this ancestral land is still home to many vestiges of its history. Nevertheless, the region also boasts a rich environmental heritage and a most unusual terroir. Visitors are generally charmed by its exceptional landscapes and local specialties.

During your trip, you’ll be able to taste the famous black truffle or Bergerac wines. Between tradition and nature, your stay in the Dordogne by motorhome promises to be unforgettable.

Route ideas in the Dordogne by motorhome

Visiter dans le Périgord Noir : Sarlat

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Borisb17

Before embarking on a trip to the Dordogne by motorhome, it’s best to plan your route. By consulting various itineraries, you can better select the stages of your journey. Of course, you’ll have to rely on the region’s many must-see sites and your own interests.

Nevertheless, two four- and five-day road-trips have particularly caught our attention for visiting the Dordogne by motorhome. These will take you on a tour of the region’s most beautiful spots. From atypical villages to historic buildings, you’ll have no time to get bored. You’ll be able to admire some of the region’s architectural treasures and emblematic fortresses. Château de Monbazillac and Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle spring to mind.

When you explore the Dordogne by motorhome, you’ll also be invited to explore some fabulous natural sites. The region boasts a number of Regional Parks and magnificent protected reserves. From the Périgord Vert to the Périgord Pourpre, hiking enthusiasts can follow a multitude of trails.

What’s more, this legendary territory will take you back in time to the footsteps of our most distant ancestors. On your motorhome tour of the Dordogne, you’ll pass by the famous Grotte de Lascaux. While it’s home to some magnificent prehistoric representations, it’s not the only unusual site in the region. Tourists can also stop off at the astonishing Grotte du Sorcier or Grotte de Rouffignac.

Five days, from Périgord Vert to Périgord Pourpre

  • Saint-Jean-de-Cole (charming village, Château de la Marthonie),
  • Dordogne Nature Park (hiking, mountain biking, trail running),
  • Périgueux (medieval buildings, archaeology museum),
  • Saint-Astier (local specialities, Moulin de Duellas),
  • Sarlat (medieval village, water gardens),
  • Lascaux cave,
  • Font de Gaume,
  • Beaumont (medieval fortifications, 12th-century church),
  • Monpazier (Église Saint-Dominique, Maison du Chapitre),
  • Château de Monbazillac.

Four days in history

  • Lascaux cave,
  • Vézac (historic town, Marqueyssac gardens),
  • Castelnaud-la-Chapelle (Medieval fortress, War Museum),
  • Beynac (Castle and historic village),
  • Grotte de Font-de-Gaume,
  • Gouffre de Proumeyssac (caving, canyoning),
  • Château des Milandes,
  • Château de Hautefort,
  • Brantôme in Périgord (Benedictine Abbey, Peyrelevade Dolmen),
  • Périgueux (medieval buildings, archaeology museum).

Rent a motorhome for the Dordogne

Driving a motorhome in the Dordogne: traffic rules you need to know

Dordogne en camping-car

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ivoha

The historic territory of the former Comté du Périgord belongs to administrative France. As such, it is subject to the same traffic regulations as the rest of France. So, on your motorhome tour of the Dordogne, you can drive as usual. For example, you’ll need to keep to the right at all times, and drive anticlockwise at traffic circles. Likewise, you’ll need to respect the speed limits for the different roads you’ll be driving on.

In built-up areas, you won’t be able to exceed 50 km/h. On secondary roads, you can travel at up to 80 km/h. If you’re on the freeway, you’ll have to keep to the 110 km/h limit.

Motorhomes cannot travel at 130 km/h like cars. What’s more, they can’t park in the same places as cars. So you’ll need to find out about the various dedicated parking areas before setting off for the Dordogne by motorhome.

Freeway tolls in the Dordogne: what price for your category of motorhome?

Visiter dans le Périgord Noir : Beynac-et-Cazenac

Photo credit: Shutterstock – thieury

To get to the Dordogne by motorhome, you could opt for the autoroute. These main roads are indeed faster and safer than the secondary routes. However, they are subject to tariffs, depending on your point of entry and the distance of your journey.

Also, the size of your vehicle will necessarily vary the amount you have to pay at the toll. For example, a trip from Lyon to Périgueux with a class 2 motorhome will cost €72. On the other hand, the same route with a class 3 or 4 van will cost around €100. On the other hand, if you leave from Paris, you’ll pay between €30 and €50 to reach the Dordogne by motorhome.

French freeways are managed by different private companies. However, vehicle classification is the same for all motorways. Class 2 covers all vans and commercial vehicles between two and three meters in height. Their GVW (or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) must not exceed 3.5 tonnes.

The 3rd category includes vehicles over three meters long, with a gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 tonnes. Most of them also have two separate axles. Class 4 motorhomes have the same weight and size criteria as the previous categories. Nevertheless, they belong to this category if they have at least three axles.

How and where to rent a motorhome in France?

But how do you rent a motorhome to explore the Dordogne? Nowadays, it’s very easy to rent these vehicles between private individuals, especially in France. There are a number of online rental platforms, such as Yescapa.

How does it work?

  • First, you need to choose the motorhome in your city (e.g. Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse, Paris, Montpellier or Marseille).
  • Make sure you choose unlimited mileage, check the number of berths available and whether international travel is possible.
  • Make your rental request online and share your travel information (dates, rental options, mileage, etc.) with the owner.
  • If your request is accepted and after payment, you will have access to the owner’s contact details to arrange a first meeting.
  • On the day, present your driver’s license and pay the deposit.
  • An inventory of fixtures is drawn up and a rental contract is signed by both parties. It is signed on your return from the Dordogne, and once done, everything is initialed!

Rent a motorhome in France

How and where to rent a motorhome in the Dordogne?

Castelnaud

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Eo naya

To make your road-trip to the Dordogne by motorhome, you could rent a vehicle on site. Indeed, the former county of Périgord boasts a number of tourist rental companies. All you need to do is contact one of them to find your ideal van. You can choose the size of the vehicle, as well as the duration of your trip. All that’s left to do is pick up your motorhome and set off to discover the region!

However, you could also opt for a rental between private individuals. With a dedicated site like Yescapa, you’re sure to find the van of your dreams. All you need to do is indicate your departure dates and the type of vehicle you want. The site will then offer you a wide range of motorhomes for your stay. You can then collect the vehicle from the rental company, and begin your exploration of the Dordogne by motorhome!

Rent a motorhome for the Dordogne

RV parks in the Dordogne: where to park?

Carte Caramaps de la Dordogne

Photo credit: Caramaps

The size of motorhomes means they can’t stop in the same places as cars. As a result, you won’t be able to park wherever you like for the night. So when you’re visiting the Dordogne by motorhome, you’ll need to look out for dedicated parking areas. These sites have pitches designed for vans. For one or more nights, you can take advantage of these facilities. What’s more, you’ll be able to drain your vehicle, as well as plug it in.

Alternatively, you could book a suitable pitch at a campsite. You’ll be able to relax in an atypical setting as you explore the Dordogne by motorhome. These rental sites offer a wide range of interesting services for their residents. After a long day of discovery, you’ll be able to enjoy themed evenings or concerts.

What’s more, if the campsite has a swimming pool, you’ll have the chance to cool off. Finally, most of our service providers will be happy to help you learn more about the region. For example, they’ll be able to advise you on must-see places to visit during your motorhome itinerary in the Dordogne.

When is the best time to travel in a motorhome in the Dordogne?

Monpazier

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Gordon Bell

Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s pleasant climate makes it an ideal region for summer visitors. The summer season is the best time to enjoy outdoor activities and events. The region’s breathtaking landscapes invite you to take a stroll or try out new outdoor activities. For example, you could try your hand at canoeing or rafting.

Likewise, you’ll find plenty of events and leisure activities organized in the region’s towns and cities. In particular, you could take part in one of the many medieval festivals in the area. Every year, villages such as Monpazier and Eymet organize celebrations inspired by the Middle Ages. For a day or a weekend, you’ll feel like you’re living in the time of the troubadours.

We therefore advise you to plan your motorhome trip to the Dordogne in summer. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your road trip and sightseeing even more. However, you can avoid the tourist rush by choosing spring or early autumn. These two seasons will allow you to discover this fabulous territory in complete tranquillity.

Rent a motorhome for the Dordogne