Join us in one of France’s favorite and most iconic destinations, the Périgord Vert (Dordogne). Considered by many to be the heart and soul of the country, you won’t get more “French” than the Périgord. The landscape is covered in turreted castles, tiny villages with hand-laid stone roofs, and rivers navigated by “gabarres” (flat bottom boats). On our “boutique” tour of this region, we will base ourselves in one village and slow down, taking the time to enjoy the hospitality of a French family hotel and the ultimate Périgord cuisine, including foie gras, truffles and walnuts. Come experience magical Dordogne on our carefully crafted, immersive, adventure.
Arrivals and transfer to our home base, near the “Plus Beau Village” of Brantôme, officially classed as one of the prettiest of French villages, and often called the “Venice of the Perigord”. Canals circle the streets, adorned with waterlilies, weeping willows and riverside gardens. Once you’ve recovered from your breathtaking arrival in this beautiful corner of France, join your travelling companions with a welcome drink on the terrace. We will have our first glimpse of our home town of Brantôme this evening as we stroll to one of the locals’ favourite bistros.
We start our immersion into this welcoming corner of France by visiting the some of the people who make it tick, on a tasting tour of the countryside. Today’s savory adventure will include a visit to a family owned estate where sturgeons are raised for their delicious caviar, which we will pair with a glass of sparkling wine. Also on the agenda, a nearby mill and tasting of an unmissable Perigord speciality, walnut and hazelnut oil, produced following traditional methods. We will also discover the largest artisan bakery in the area, known for its “toasts” (think: with caviar!). Our last gourmet stop ill be a local goats cheese producer, with an introduction to the famous ‘cabecou of Périgord’ (another toast topper). A picnic would be a lovely idea today too, as we take a break along the way. If you still have room after all your grazing, you will have an evening free to taste regional specialities in one of Brantôme’s restaurants, down little cobblestone streets or along the canal.
You haven’t truly understood the French way of life until you have spent the morning at a weekly farmer’s market, where all the locals gather to gossip and forage for the very best seasonal produce. Wednesday is market day in the region’s capital city of Périgueux. You will have a morning to meander the streets, chat with the vendors and make your purchases, whether they be foodie treats or local crafts. We’ll then meet up for lunch in a charming tea room in the Medieval old town. On our way home, we will be treated to a guided tour and light show of the fascinating Grotte de Villars. Here, you will see traces of prehistoric cave drawings, including the ‘little blue horse’ and the ‘sorcerer and bison’ paintings on the walls. Later, we will gather for dinner at a special location.
Lots of surprises are in store today as we take a drive south to Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, another officially rated “plus beaux village” in France, for plenty of reasons! We will be greeted on arrival by our Editor in Chief, Guy Hibbert, who, as a local resident, will proudly show us around the village, which is built into rock like an amphitheatre, and topped by a ruined castle, with views over the river and valley below. We will amble together through the streets, meeting artisans along the way, including a potter and a hat maker, and enjoy a traditional crepe lunch with a view! After lunch, we will visit a truly rare sight for which the village is known, a unique underground church. Buried for many years and then excavated in the 1950s, this 12th century Monolithic church carved into a cliff is the tallest in the world, standing at an enormous 20 meters inside. Once back in Brantôme for the evening, you are free to again enjoy a special dinner on your own or even a simple pizza at a local’s favorite spot. There are also two 1* Michelin rated restaurants close by that we would suggest reserving in advance for a special treat!
End of an amazing week with many memories made. Transfers to Brive la Gaillarde 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: © 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:
Six nights double room hotel accommodation in comfortable family owned hotel of 3* category
All breakfasts, 4 lunches (inc 1 picnic), 4 dinners
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 7
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 Périgeux 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 Périgeux in under 4 hours. The second choice, Brive, is a major station on routes from Paris, Toulouse and Perigeux (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.