La Roque-Gageac holds a stunning position on the north bank of the Dordogne River, backed by a steep cliff that suggests little has changed here in the last 300 years. Golden yellow houses with traditional perigord roofs line the river and spread up the hill behind it. When you make the decision to see it, be prepared to climb upward every step of the way. It’s crazy steep and many of the houses we saw were built literally against the cliff. One of the grandest of these is near the road as you enter from nearby Beynac, the 19th Century Chateau de la Malartrie, built in the Renaissance style.
La Roque-Gageac has always been an important point of trade on the Dordogne River, with goods being carried by traditional boats called gabares. Replicas of these Viking-like boats are now used for river cruises between La Roque-Gageac and Beynac, and up the river to Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. I enjoyed photographing this village, but there is little that’s practical about it when it comes to making movies. It’s a vertical village and one that receives a hoard of tourists. The parking lot at its base isn’t near large enough to accommodate all its visitors and I quickly became concerned about the logistics of shooting here. It’s a postcard, but one you can see best from the river. Beynac, only a few kilometers downstream, has greater potential as a location. There is so much in the area, that I might consider grabbing a scene or two in La Roque-Gageac, but an entire film is a different matter.