France: Dordogne and the Lot

head-dorogne

Trip duration: 8 days/7 nights ex Sarlat/Souillac
Trip grade: Easy/Moderate
Trip Dates: 29 September – 6 October, 2017
Tour Cost: $3,155.00 per person, twin/share
Single room supplement $620.00
Accommodation: A beautiful holiday house near Sarlat
Maximum group size: Only 12 places

about the tour

Even in a country with so much varied regional beauty, the Lot and Dordogne areas stand out. These delightful and gentle ‘departements’ are cut by a number of great rivers, – the Dronne, the Vézère, the Auvézère and of course, the Lot and the mighty Dordogne.

Historically known as the Perigord, the Dordogne area was settled in pre-historic times. There are troglodyte cave dwellings along the river valleys and famous prehistoric art sites such as Lascaux. More recently, the golden stone of the Perigord has created mellow villages, fortified churches, over one thousand chateaux and castles, and the beautiful ‘bastide’ towns. We visit Sarlat, the best preserved medieval town in France, and experience its famous market. We travel to the pilgrimage site at Rocamadour and walk in the white limestone areas of The Lot, and the delightful Saint-Cirque-Lapopie. On our walks we visit seven of the designated Most Beautiful Villages in France (MBVIF). One day is free to visit some famous gardens, the Lascaux Caves, another beautiful local town, or to canoe down the Dordogne.

Walking trails, including some of the GR (long distance) paths, link ancient villages, chateaux, vineyards, riversides and oak forest. Colourful village markets provide the famous Perigourdine foods – the best in France.

We stay in a beautiful holiday house near Sarlat, setting off each day to explore this delightful region.

Itinerary

The actual order of walks may change.

Day 1
Depending on train schedules, we meet you at either Sarlat or Souillac railway station this afternoon and transfer you to our beautiful accommodation near Sarlat. Time to settle in before dinner. Sarlat and Souillac are both easily reached by train from Paris. (D)

Day 2
This morning we visit Sarlat, the best preserved medieval town in France. Enjoy the famous Saturday market, which spreads through the cobbled streets as we buy our picnic lunch. In the afternoon we walk beside and above the Dordogne, exploring Beynac-et-Cazenac (MBVIF) dominated by its chateau, and beautiful La Roque Gageac (MBVIF). (BD)

Day 3
Walking between another three of the designated Most Beautiful Villages in France, overlooking the Dordogne; from Autoire, via Loubressac to the well-preserved medieval town of Carennac. Optional visit to the Gouffre de Padirac; a vast limestone cave system with a one kilometre boat trip on an underground river. (15 kms/4 hours). (BLD)

Day 4
Travel to Rocamadour in the neighbouring region of Lot. Explore this important pilgrimage site where many miracles are said to have occurred, and then walk in the dry, limestone ‘causse’ lands to watermills and isolated farms. (BLD)

Day 5
Walking above the Dordogne for fabulous views over the valley and through beautiful farmland. We visit the elegant Chateau des Milandes, former home of the entertainer Josephine Baker and the fortified ‘bastide’ town of Domme, established in 1280. (BLD)

Day 6
A day with some options; visit the famous Gardens of Marqueyssac and walk the Belvedere path which gives one of the best views of the Dordogne, canoe down the gentle Dordogne, passing chateaux and lovely villages, visit another lovely town, or the Lascaux ll caves. Dine out in Sarlat this evening. (B)

Day 7
We head south to walk in the Lot Valley, along one of the variantes of the Pilgrimage Trail to Santiago de Compostela, along a tow path cut into the limestone, and visit Saint-Cirque Lapopie, one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, overhanging the valley. (7-14 kms/2.5-4 hours). (BLD)

Day 8
Our tour ends after breakfast. We transfer you to Sarlat railway station this morning in time for trains to Paris via Bordeaux or Libourne. (B)

Included

  • Transfers between Sarlat or Souillac railway stations and our accommodation at the beginning of the tour
  • Transfer to Sarlat railway station at the end of the tour
  • All local transport to walks, sites and visits
  • Seven nights accommodation in a selected holiday house
  • Professional driver/guides,
  • Organised program of walks and visits
  • Seven breakfasts (B), five lunches (L) and six evening meals (D)
  • Wine and beer with six evening meals

Not Included

  • Two lunches and one evening meal. We will visit a restaurant in Sarlat one evening to experience the soft golden stone at night
  • Optional canoe excursion on the Dordogne), admission to Marqueyssac, the Padirac Caves, or Lascaux II.
  • Travel insurance (required)
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