The first thing we did when we drove from the Lot-et-Garonne into the Dordogne was to stop (for quite a few hours) at the most magical garden; the Marqueyssac Gardens in Vezac, just south of Sarlat.
I knew from having seen photos, that it was going to be special but wow, it is such a remarkable and breathtaking place. (You can read about the history of it here.)
It is essentially a chateau, art gallery, topiary garden, pleasure garden and woodland, built on a rock.
The topiary was like nothing I have seen before:
The hedges are so smooth and rounded that they are almost like one, living, fluid, organic entity and as it’s quite tall you really feel immersed in it when you walk around.
Overlooking this, is the chateau:
There really is not much to see in the chateau itself but it’s very charming all-the-same.
Once away from the more formal gardens there’s lots more to discover. We did a loop which took us through the woods, past a small waterfall and to various lookout points.
The views are another reason to come here:
As the gardens are on a rock there are magnificent views to be had all the way around; it’s a great introduction to the Dordogne.
If you are with children, there is plenty to keep them (tastefully) entertained, with tree houses, sculptures and a tree-top walkway. There are also two cafes should you get hungry or thirsty along the way (picnics are not allowed once in the gardens but there are picnic tables before you go in).
For the more adventurous there is a climbing/rock-face walkway which looked pretty terrifying to me, but then I’m not a fan of heights.
If you are in the Dordogne, I strongly recommend a visit here. And if you do go, allow 2-4 hours and bring water and sensible footwear.
My next blog post will feature some more beautiful gems in the Dordogne.