No region in France epitomizes the country more than the Dordogne, also known as the Périgord. It is a land of dense oak forests, slow flowing rivers, medieval villages and chateaux everywhere! Step back in time as we enjoy an old fashioned welcome at our family owned hotels, with sumptuously decorated bedrooms, and the famously rich Périgord cuisine. From the Périgord Noir, known for dense forests and hidden caves of pre-historic art painted by Cro-Magnon man, we will travel to the Périgord Vert, a delightful treat for the senses with waterwheels trickling and the most beautiful villages of France. This is the beginning of summer and the markets will be overflowing with strawberries, cherries, seasonal cheeses and sunshine. Join us as we ensure you experience the magic of the Dordogne and what makes it truly the dream of French life.
Arrivals and transfer to our home base for the next 3 nights, a charming manoir house hotel, known for its high level of comfort and beautiful location, nestling into the base of cliffs overlooking the meandering Dordogne River. Settle in and take in your surroundings, then join your fellow travellers for a welcome drink on the terrace. A casual dinner will be prepared by our delightful hostess in the gardens of the hotel, where we will also have a surprise guest as company this evening!
Morning walking tour of the unmissable Renaissance town of Sarlat, with preserved 16th century houses of honey colored stone, little alleys and hidden courtyards. Our guide will take us into a special private building for a true insider’s peek into a hidden corner of this popular village. Lunchtime is at your leisure in this gastronomic capital, known for foie gras and truffles. You will have enough time to choose an authentic dining spot, whether you go the route of a long French lunch, or perhaps a quick tea room, and then explore the little streets with their myriad of artisanal boutiques. Back home, this afternoon there will be an optional hour’s boat ride in a “gabarre” on the scenic Dordogne river or simply relax at the hotel’s suntrapped pool and stunning gardens. Tonight we will gather together for a typically French dinner at a nearby village that you would have seen from your “gabarre”; another one built into rocks!
The Périgord 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 specialized in Paleolithic cave art (17,300 years ago!), we will have a full day out, visiting the brand new Lascaux 4 visitors center, along with a privately owned cave, highly restricted to only a few visitors per day, and a stop at the International Center for Prehistory. Our lunch stop will be in one of France’s official “Plus Beaux Villages”, where you will have a choice of gourmet “tartines” for a light meal. After such a busy day, seeing rare and hidden ancient art, tonight you are free to stretch your legs with a short stroll into our local village, La Roque-Gageac, for dinner at your choice of restaurants, with menus items ranging from pizza to “confit de canard” (duck confit!).
Au revoir to the Dordogne river and clifftop castles and head north to the delightful region of Périgord Vert. On the way, we will enjoy a morning’s walk at the “hanging” gardens of Marqueyssac, situated on a cliff high above the Dordogne valley. A late lunch buffet of salads, local cheeses and charcuterie will be offered to us at a private home en route, where you will have the chance to be hosted in a typical “longére” farmhouse, renovated for modern living in a rural neighbourhood near Périgueux. This afternoon brings our arrival to our next hotel base, created from a working water mill, in a very green setting which reflects the name of this pretty region, the Périgord Vert. Here you will get the ultimate in French hospitality, with a warm welcome and a Michelin starred restaurant on the premises. You can probably guess where we will be eating dinner tonight!
End of an amazing week with many memories made. Transfers to Brive airport or train station, as arranged.
*Price quoted per person, based on double occupancy of a room. Please note there is a single occupancy supplement for solo travelers.
**Final itinerary and hotel selection to be confirmed 2 months prior to departure.
Top image: © ivoha13 / 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 of 4* category
All breakfasts, 4 lunches (inc 1 picnic), 5 dinners (inc twice at the hotel’s 1* Michelin 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 to either Périgueux or Brive-la-Gaillarde.
BY TRAIN: Thanks to the new high speed TGV Océane, you can get from Paris to Bordeaux and then on to the small town of Périgueux in under 4 hours. The second choice, Brive, is a major station on routes from Paris, Toulouse and Périgueux (via Bordeaux).
BY PLANE: 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.