Why: Holiday villas become available at keen rates and the sun continues to shine through September

Plus: The grape harvest takes place in September

The Dordogne strikes a chord with so many Brits because it presents the quintessential image of a rural France idyll with its bucolic, patchwork farmland, dreamily green valleys, hilltop medieval villages and fairytale castles. In France it is better known as Périgord, and is divided up according to a colour- code system. To the north is Périgord Vert, with its verdant valleys and picture-book villages; Périgord Blanc, in the centre, has limestone hills, plus the wonderful châteaux of Hautefort and Montréal; in the east, the dense oakforests characterise Périgord Noir, also home to the Lascaux prehistoric caves and the enchanting 13th- century town of Sarlat; to the south, Périgord Pourpre (purple) gets its name from the Bergerac vineyards. Go in mid-September and you’ll find it pleasantly sunny and peaceful: most summer guests have departed and a wide choice of villas with pools (still very desirable) becomes available at mid- to low-season prices.