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At the confluence of the Dordogne and Vezere Rivers, Limeuil offers canoeing and a river beach, and a pretty little village that is well worth exploring. Indeed the village is classified as one of "the most beautiful villages of France".
The village is still partly surrounded by its original fortified walls, and is another of the 'picture postcard pretty' villages of the Dordogne. Cobbled streets wind through (or rather 'up through') the village between the honey-coloured houses and scattered pretty gardens.
One of the most suprising things as you wander up the hill is the variety of shapes and sizes of the houses. Some are incredibly narrow, some very 'bourgeoise' in style. Most have the deep sloping tiled rooves common to this part of the dordogne and these too come in an interesting variety.
Some key things to look for as you amble around Limeuil include:
- the exit of the latrine on one of the houses in the lower part of the village. Straight out to the path below!
- the house of justice (la maison de la Justice) where any sailors a bit the worse for wear were housed for the night to sober up.
- the various doors through the fortified walls
Whilst walking round the village also notice the very narrow passages between buildings which served for collecting waste water and as a fire break.
Pick up a leaflet from the tourist information which is next to the mairie. (Go through the arch in the wall and through the mairie garden to get to the tourist information). Their map has the key sights to see in Limeuil.
Despite its picturesque location it is not usually completely overrun with tourists in the way that some places are, and the Parc Limeuil and panoramic gardens at the top of the town, while not spectacular as a park, has some fine views and is usually quiet.
The river beach at Limeuil is an ideal place for the children to cool down (and adults as well), with safe paddling in the river shallows - a very pleasant place to escape the crowds.
Le Chai - situated at the old port of the gabarres (the river boats) this restaurant has a very pleasant patio and a fairly traditional menu.
A l'Ancre de Salut - snack bar which in summer has a terrace next to the river.
There are also some more gourmand restaurants further up the hill.
La Chapelle St Martin
On the edge of Limeuil, about 1 km away on the road towards Le Bugue, is the Chapelle of St Martin. This 12th century chapel still has some of its original frescoes inside. The church is dedicated to Thomas Becket.
After striving for a marriage between Henri le Jeune (heir to the English throne) and Marguerite (eldest daughter of the king of France) Becket lost favour when the marriage didn't happen due to the death of Henri. Becket was murdered by followers of the King of England.
In attonement for their parts in the murder the King of England and King of France jointly had built three churches which were dedicated to Becket. The Chapelle Saint Martin is one of them.
Places to Visit Nearby
Limeuil is one of the most beautiful villages of France and along this stretch of the river Dordogne there are a few others to see. Beynac, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Domme and La Roque Gageac are all close by and all stunning.
The medieval town of Sarlat is also a highlight not to be missed.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.