La Belle Etoile

The soothing atmosphere inside is a perfect counterpoint to the buzz just outside.

By Margie Rynn, Thursday, May 1, 2008, 1:17 PM

La Belle Etoile

About this Hotel

Price From $111

Hovering over the banks of the Dordogne, the ancient auberge (no one knows exactly how old it is) has 15 spacious rooms and a superb restaurant. In fact, chef Régis Ongaro owns the hotel—it's been in his family for four generations.

The same attention that gets showered on the food is apparent in the hotel's service: Guests' comfort is clearly a priority.

There's nothing particularly hip about the decor, which includes gold-toned fabrics and regional antiques, but the soothing atmosphere is a perfect counterpoint to the buzz just outside.

The medieval town butts up against—and parts of it are carved into—a cliff in a bend of the river, and its beauty draws crowds in high season.

If you're searching for solitude, hunker down in the hotel's sitting room. The windows and high ceilings let in lots of light, and the hunting-lodge decor will help you forget the 21st century. Half pension (for stays longer than three nights) is $230 for two; dinner starts at $38 (reserve a week in advance).