Though popular with Europeans, the department in the southwestern part of the country is less familiar to Americans. Those who do venture there will be treated to bucolic landscapes, epicurean delights, a laid-back pace of life, and some of the oldest artwork ever created. One writer wanders the region marveling at cave paintings, devouring foie gras, luxuriating in a hotel once beloved by Henry Miller, and pondering his place in the grand sweep of human history.
People in the Dordogne do like to eat. If there is a single thread connecting the cave painters of prehistory to the wine-cellar connoisseurs of today, it is the persistence of a hearty appetite. In fact, Henry Miller, the American writer and professional scamp who made appetite a central theme of his work, mused in his book The Colossus of Maroussi that the Dordogne felt like a place where living well appeared to have been the default mode for millennia.