The Dordogne region of France is a place I’ve wanted to explore for a while now and finally got the chance in May with a wedding I photographed in the Dordogne at Domaine de La Léotardie. The dates coincided nicely with our boys school half-term so we made it into a family holiday and here’s all about about our stay along with some photos I captured.
Domaine de Cournet Haut
I did some research for family accommodation in Dordogne that ticked all the boxes for us as a family – an outdoor swimming pool was top of the list for our boys. After trawling through the many gîtes on offer in the Dordogne area, I came across Domaine de Cournet Haut – bingo! I also remember seeing this place featured in The Guardian for family holiday accommodation in Europe. Domaine de Cournet Haut is located in the village of Saint-Pompon in the heart of the Périgord Noir, set in a tranquil setting with a lovely large outdoor heated swimming pool, tennis court, archery, bikes, loads of space for the boys to explore and be boys. They have excellent reviews on Trip Advisor as you can see so I booked it without hesitation, and I’m so glad that I did. The owners, Fanny and Alan offered us a lovely warm and friendly welcome and went and above and beyond to make our stay perfect. Here are some photographs I captured of the Domaine de Cournet Haut during our stay:
Our Accommodation – The Forge
We stayed in the charming Forge which was ideal for us as a family of four – would also suit a family of five as there was a spare bed in the second bedroom. Upstairs were the two bedrooms, both great sizes, toilet, large bathroom with shower – all lovely. We liked the access from the main bedroom to the large terrace area with bbq overlooking the gardens and the swimming pool. Downstairs was the kitchen and lounge area, everything you need. Here are some photographs I captured of inside and outside of the Forge at Domaine de Cournet Haut:
The Swimming Pool
The boys loved the swimming pool at Domaine de Cournet Haut:
View of swimming pool & our accommodation at the Forge.
We always love seeing wildlife when on holiday and at Domaine de Cournet Haut you have some lovely geckos.
Things to DO / Play Areas
The grounds of Domaine de Cournet Haut is perfect for families as it’s very safe with everything contained within the boundary of the property, no busy roads nearby and there’s loads of things to play with including archery, tennis, trampoline, swings, play house, and the beauty of being in the Forge is you can see the whole area from the terrace area.
Kayak trip down the river
We couldn’t come to the Dordogne without taking a trip out on the river so we hired a family kayak and enjoyed a couple of hours meandering along enjoying the sights as we passed countryside, wildlife, villages and castles.
We hired a family size car from Enterprise for the week from Bordeaux Airport (Bergerac is the closest airport for Périgord Noir area but the flights were much better and cheaper from Bristol to Bordeaux). You 100% will need a hire car to get around the Dordogne region as it’s a bit like Cornwall where most places are at least a 20-40 minute drive away….but it’s worth it as the scenery along the way is stunning as you drive through quaint French countryside. We explored lots of villages in Dordogne during our stay and the three highlights of our trip for us were the following:
Domme was our favourite place we visited during our week stay. It’s a beautiful Dordogne town where it feels like you’re stepping back into medieval times. It’s one of those amazing places where you can stroll around cobbled streets for hours, taking in the picture postcard buildings and scenery, the smells (there’s an amazing cheese shop), listen to a live music, browse around the shops and enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine.
Domme occupies an amazing position high above the Dordogne river and is a member of the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France), and it’s easy to see why. By the time you’ve walked from the car park to the market area, you’ll have fallen in love with Domme. We timed our visit with the weekly market, full of fresh local produce, live music, such as lovely atmosphere.
2. Château de Castelnaud
Our boys love castles…so we had to go to castelnaud. The castle is built on a rocky outcrop in the heart of the Périgord Noir and has amazing panoramic view over the Dordogne Valley. The full scale horse and knight went down well. Great place to explore for all the family.
Another on the ‘most beautiful villages of France’ list, Beynac-et-Cazenac was high on our to do list. We kayaked past it a few days before and it’s an amazing sight nested between cliff and river. Set in the “Grand Site of Aquitaine” area, Beynac has a unique character and offers a glimpse of a true simple medieval village life. We enjoyed a coffee as we sheltered from a heavy rainstorm that passed bye which added to the enchantment of this place.
Our family holiday in the Dordogne was great fun and for those looking for accommodation in the area I would highly recommend Domaine de Cournet Haut. The wedding I photographed in the Dordogne at Domaine de La Léotardie was one of my favourite weddings I’ve photographed to date and I’d highly recommend the wedding venue for anyone looking to get married in the Dordogne region.