A romantic short break holiday in France

The best villages and sights to see in the Dordogne in France. What time of year to visit and how to get around.

While there’s all sorts of holiday styles available to you it’s clear to see that an ever-increasing style is the “short break” holiday, a few days in the sunshine or an activity holiday spanning a long weekend. Usually Friday to Monday or maybe a day or two more if you have the time. It’s a great way to indulge in some of your pleasures and, depending on where you live in the world, there’s it means a quick hop to a nearby country for an easy get-away.

So if you’re looking for a romantic short break holiday in Europe then France is without doubt in everyone’s top 5 destinations for romance. Forget the Eiffel tower or wandering around museums in Paris, there’s so much more to see and do in France this year so here’s our pick of the best romantic short break vacation available.


The beautiful Dordogne region covers some 3,498 square miles and is host to what is widely considered to contain 10 of the most beautiful villages in France. There is an immense amount of history and culture in this area with gorgeous 12th century churches and even graffiti from the Knights Templar in a village called La Roque Gageac. The Dordogne is the perfect place to drive around so hiring a car is essential. In fact France is a very easy country to drive so I recommend picking up a hire car at the airport and taking a road trip. Check out this blog post on hiring a car in France for more information.


On your road trip around the Dordogne one highly recommended place to visit is Saint Jean de Cole. The River Côle runs through the centre of this beautiful little village with a medieval bridge spanning its width. You’ll find gorgeous little ochre-walled houses and a wonderful market shopping area called Périgord Vert. The history of Saint-Jean-de-Côle’s dates right back to the 12th Century as well as a 15th Century “Chateau de la Marthonie” overlooking the Saint-Jean square. You’ll even find some Romanesque-byzantine churches here that seem to have been untouched for centuries. It’s arguably the most picturesque and photogenic village you’ll ever visit so is definitely one of the best places to go when you’re in the Dordogne.

Where to stay in the Dordogne

The Medieval market town of Sarlat is probably the best place to base yourself in the region although you’ll find no shortage of quirky little guesthouses and hotels in the towns and villages. One of the reasons Sarlat is such a great base is the culinary options you’ll have after a hard day’s sightseeing. The Dordogne is famed for its food and you’ll find no shortage of award-winning restaurants here. Of course the best are found along the river’s edge although take a walk through the alleyways and quiet streets and you’ll find some great eateries tucked away. The french don’t like to boast about their find dining experiences so be sure to take a wander and pick out an unsuspecting quiet little restaurant for that authentic french dining experience.

Best time of year to visit the Dordogne

It’s no surprise that the warmer spring and summer months are best. Around April to October. Spring is a great time to visit not only because the flowers start to bloom but also because this is the time of year when fresh produce starts to come to all the local markets. The region comes alive when these markets are trading and they’re a welcome addition to your romantic short break. Expect the peak of summer months to be busy as this is a popular destination for the french too of course. Late September is a great time to go if you’re hoping to avoid the crowds. The grape harvest begins around this time so you’ll see a whole new side to french life in the countryside.