La Citadelle


Périgueux, on the River Isle, is the adminstrative centre of the Dordogne. It is a medium-sized town with a very unusual cathedral, and a magnificent mediaeval centre.

  Périgueux is the capital of the Dordogne and, if you are driving through it, can appear fairly unattractive. Although there are now excellent bypasses which keep much of the traffic out of sight of the town now, the rest of it is funnelled through the industrial and commermercial districts, and whisked across the river.
In fact Périgueux has a beautifully preserved and restored mediaeval centre, and is well known for the many cultural events which fill its alleys and square throughout each summer - mime, jazz, classical music, solo performers.
Périgueux straddles the River Isle, an attractive large tributary of the Dordogne, on which you can take boat trips. Between the river and the compact mediaeval heart is the extraordinary cathedral of St Front. This has huge domes and pinnacles of solid white stone. Inside it has a magificent altar, and outstanding modern stained glass.
  Park (free) down on the quayside below the cathedral, and walk up the cobbled steps opposite into the old town. It is laid out in narrow alleyways with many squares where they intersect. There is a market square and covered "halle" but many of the shops are devoted to luxuries - chocolates and pastries, galleries, and bookshops.
  Throughout the day the squares are lined with cafés and bars with their tables out in front, while at 7 pm, when the shops shut, all the restaurants move their tables out into the streets, spreading in front of the neighbouring shops. Périgueux is an excellent place to eat, although the many good restaurants fill rapidly from 7 pm onwards and at lunchtime they quickly fill with workers and shoppers alike.
  Throughout the season there are open air cultural events, like jazz festivals and concerts. The most extraordinary annual event is the week-long festival of mime, when some of the most avante-guard exponents of this uniquely French art form perform continuously in the squares and alleyways.