Join us at the tail end of summer, when the crowds start to disappear, at one of France’s favorite destinations, the Dordogne. With its ancient name of Perigord, this is truly the heart and soul of the country. The landscape is covered in turreted castles, tiny villages with hand-laid stone roofs, and rivers being navigated by “gabarres” (flat bottom boats). The region also hosts an unbelievable concentration of caves containing pre-historic paintings. France Today Travels has planned the perfect discovery of this dream of France, with time spent in the Perigord Noir followed by the Perigord Vert, two micro-regions, where we will enjoy the hospitality of French family hotels and the ultimate Perigord cuisine, including foie gras, truffles and walnuts. The summer night markets are still in action and we get right in with the locals at long tables on the village square, enjoying the fun of a seasonal “fete”. Come experience magical Dordogne on our carefully crafted, immersive, adventure.
Arrivals and transfer to our home base for the next 3 nights, Le Manoir de la Malartrie. Once you’ve recovered from your breathtaking arrival at this stunning location, continue to take it all in with a welcome drink on the terrace. Our group will dine at a beautiful nearby village this evening.
Morning walking tour of the unmissable Renaissance town of Sarlat, with preserved 16th century houses of honey colored stone. Our highlight is a trip up a panoramic elevator, which rises through the bell tower of the Sainte Marie church , bringing passengers up above the top for 360° views over the rooftops of Sarlat. Lunch at your leisure in this gastronomic capital, known for foie gras and truffles. En route home, we stop for an hour’s boat ride in a “gabarre” on the scenic Dordogne river. A casual dinner will be prepared by our charming hostess at the Malartrie, where we will be joined by a retired tour guide who will entertain us with an amusing talk on French cultural differences.
The Perigord Noir is famous for having the highest concentration of pre-historic art in the world. Today, we step back in time to understand why cave men expressed themselves in this way. Accompanied by a guide specialised in Paleolithic cave art (17,300 years ago!), visit the brand new Lascaux 4 visitors centre, followed by a gourmet picnic lunch in the Vézère river valley. Coming out into the sunshine, we will return via the “hanging” gardens of Marqueyssac, situated on the cliff above our hotel. A very special experience awaits this evening as we attend a “marché nocturne” in one of the local villages. This is the end of the summer season for the night markets, where you can choose your dinner from little chalets and then join the locals at long tables in the village square, all animated by live music.
Au revoir to our charming hostess and head north to the Perigord Vert. On the way, we stop at the region’s capital city, Perigeux. Visit of the fascinating Gallo Roman Vesunne Museum, designed by architect Jean Nouvel, built around the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa. After lunch in the Medieval old town, we will continue our short journey on to our next base, the Moulin du Roc. Enjoy an afternoon discovering the hotel and all it offers. Dinner on the terrace of the hotel restaurant.
End of an amazing week with many memories made. Transfers to Brive airport or train station, as arranged.
* Final itinerary to be confirmed 2 months prior to departure. The night market is provisionally scheduled and the date will be confirmed in Spring 2017.
Top image: © MargaretClavell / Fotolia
In addition to our years of experience as journalists and residents uncovering the best France has to offer, our sense of fun, our local contacts, our passion for authentic dining spots, delicious wines, the best and most colorful farmers markets in the region, outstanding scenic stops, chances to chat with French friends, off the beaten path experiences, and plenty of relaxation at highly comfortable hotels, you can quantify it as follows:
Seven nights double room hotel accommodation in two carefully selected hotels
All breakfasts, 4 lunches (inc 1 picnic), 5 dinners (inc 1 Farm-Auberge and twice at the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant)
Local wines included at group dinners
Services of an on-site and full-time experienced Tour Director
Services of all accompanying local guides, where applicable
All private tours and outings, including entrance fees and tastings, where applicable
Optional activities, where specified
Comfortable group transportation throughout the trip
Arrival and Departure transfers to/from the airport and train stations specified below, to the meeting point on Day 1 and from our last location on Day 8
All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service
What’s not included:
Air travel to/from France, and any transportation required to get to and from the Arrival/Departure points on our trip itinerary.
Travel or International Health Insurance
Individual meals or drinks taken on your own, when not dining as a group
And of course, there is no hassle with France Today Travels!
We will make arrangements to collect you and return you Brive-la-Gaillarde train station. Brive is a major station on routes from Paris, Toulouse and Perigeux (via Bordeaux). Another possibility is Brive Airport served by Air France from Paris. Do chat with us to ensure you have the best option to tie in with any of your pre and post tour travel plans.