Although the name seems familiar, studying a map of France won’t help you to find Périgord. That’s because it was one of a number of provinces whose names were obliterated from France’s maps when départements were introduced in 1789, as a result of the French revolution.
Many of the old provinces belonged to kingdoms or duchies, so abolishing the aristocracy involved getting rid of the provinces too.
Aside from Périgord, the others to be lost included Gascony, Quercy and Touraine.
The new départements were named after the rivers that ran through them. Périgord became Dordogne – and their boundaries are more or less identical. It is part of the Aquitaine region.
Périgord has four distinct parts, each named after a colour.
To the north, Périgord Vert is, as its name suggests, green, thanks to its abundant forests and meadows. Périgord Blanc is in the middle of the département, and centres on the capital of Périgueux (pictured) – the area’s white chalk plateaux have lent it its name.
In the south west lies Périgord Pourpre, named after the deep red wines of Bergerac. Finally, there’s Périgord Noir, which is famed for its black truffles. It is an area of beautiful chateaux and prehistoric caves – and is generally the most popular part of Dordogne with tourists.
Many overseas visitors, particularly the British, have gone on to settle in the department. This has earned it yet another name: Dordogneshire.