A Walking Tour of France
Highlighting the “Dordogne” region and Bordeaux
May 20 to 30, 2015
The “Dordogne” is an area of France east of Bordeaux that conjures the image of a return to rural life at a slow pace – sort of a warmer and sunnier version of the Cotswolds, where houses are built of honey-colored stone and the meadows are green and lush.
This part of France is filled with uniquely pretty villages set in a charming landscape. In Rocamadour, climb toward heaven up the towering cliff to Place St-Amadour’s seven chapels and you might be transported to a better place. At Sarlat’s Cité Médiévale: Feast your eyes on Sarlat’s honey-color houses and 16th-century streets and then just feast at the hundred or so wine and foie gras shops; view the “Versailles in the sky” a dizzying 400 feet above the Dordogne River, the ancestral garden of the Marquises de Marqueyssac with a two-mile maze of topiaries, parterres and hedges. Lascaux is the “Louvre” of Paleolithic man and millions have witnessed prehistory written on its spectacularly painted cave walls. A visit can be made to its replica, known as Lascaux II. Then there is the food – Perigord truffles, foie gras, walnuts, plums and a myriad of mushrooms jostling for attention on restaurant menus.
The itinerary ends in Bordeaux. Why Bordeaux? Simple: It’s to stroll on the most graceful streets in France, eat well, drink better and then have the liveliest possible time in a city full of good taste and tradition. “The very essence of elegance,” concluded HM Queen Elizabeth II the last time she visited Bordeaux. The city, and its Center with its grandiose 18th century harmony, is unmatched in Europe.
• Round-trip coach transportation to JFK
• Round-trip jet flights to Toulouse & Paris
• Round-trip transfers between airport and hotels
• First Class accommodations
• Airline & hotel taxes
• Service charges at the hotel
• Transportation throughout France by coach
• Guided walks in the Dordogne region
• Daily breakfast
• Additional meals as indicated
• Sightseeing tours as per itinerary
• Sightseeing entrance fees
• Visit to a Truffle Farm
• Visit the Caves of Lascaux
• Wine Tasting tour in Bordeaux
1st Day, Wednesday, May 20: Depart the USA
Depart this evening for France.
2nd Day, Thursday, May 21: Arrival in Toulouse via Paris. Onto Rocamadour (D)
Arrive in Paris where we connect to our flight to Toulouse. On arrival, meet our guide who will transfer us to Rocamadour and give us an orientation tour of the town. Dinner and overnight.
3rd Day, Friday, May 22: In Rocamadour. To Loubressac (B)
After breakfast we will go to the village of Loubressac. Visit of the village and walk to Autoire (Waterfall and ruins of the Château des Anglais). Lunch in Autoire. Afternoon visit the Truffle farm of Loubressac with a demonstration. They also produce saffron, honey and donkey milk products. Return to Rocamadour in the late afternoon with a stop at the Romanesque church (once part of Cluny) in Carennac to see the sculpted Tympanum. Overnight in Rocamadour.
Today’s walk about 3 miles
4th Day, Saturday, May 23: In Rocamadour – Visit to the Valley of the Alzou & Ouysse (B)
From Rocamadour, walk down the valley of the Alzou and Ouysse to the 13th fortified mill of Cougnaguet. Visit of the watermill and return to Rocamadour by coach with a possibility to stop and visit a goat cheese farm or duck farm, free time for lunch in Rocamadour and guided visit of the sanctuaries. Overnight in Rocamadour.
Today’s walk about 5 miles
5th Day, Sunday, May 24: In Rocamadour – Visit the Lot Valley and the Caves of Pech Merle (B)
Depart by coach to the Lot Valley, walk from Bouziès to St Cirq Lapopie by the beautiful carved towpath. Free time for lunch and visit. Afternoon depart to the Caves of Pech Merle with its original prehistoric paintings. Overnight in Rocamadour.
Today’s walk about 3 miles
6th Day, Monday, May 25: To Sarlat (B)
After breakfast we leave Rocamadour and head for Sarlat – via the 13th century Royal Bastide of Domme. Guided visit and free time for lunch. Afternoon walk to the Chateau de Castelnaud and visit the castle and its museum of weapons, outside of which are reconstructed medieval war machines used to attack castles. Arrival in Sarlat in the late afternoon for our overnight stay at the Best Western Hotel le Renoir.
Today’s walk about 5 miles
7th Day, Tuesday, May 26: In Sarlat (B)
After breakfast, we visit the Internationally renowned Lascaux caves, about 20 miles north of Sarlet. While the actual Caves are closed to the public, an almost perfect duplicate has been created featuring the pre-historic paintings The replication is meticulous and the paintings are absolutely gorgeous and have a level of sophistication making it hard to believe they were painted by pre-historic man. The colors of the walls are absolutely gorgeous, deep red, rich ochre and black being the dominant tints. The pictures are beautifully painted. After our tour, we will visit the neighboring gardens before returning to our hotel and overnight in Sarlat
8th Day, Wednesday, May 27: In Sarlat – Visit of the Valee de la Verzere (B)
We travel to the UNESCO listed Valee de la Verzere Visit the Troglodyte village of Laroque ST Christophe, continue to St Leon sur Vezere and free time for lunch and walk back to St Christophe Overnight in Sarlat.
Today’s walk about 4 ½ miles
9th Day, Thursday, May 28: To Bordeaux (B)
After breakfast, we board our coach and depart through the beautiful southwest part of France for Bordeaux. Along with Burgundy and Champagne, Bordeaux is one of the great wine regions of France. As the capital of the Gironde département and of the historic province of Aquitaine, the city of Bordeaux is also the cultural center of southwest France. It is smack-dab in the middle of one of the finest wine-growing areas in the world, including St-Émilion which we will visit the next day. With a smorgasbord of wine and food to choose from, the entire region intoxicates with good taste. In the afternoon, we explore this grand city on the banks of the mighty Garonne River, strolling the attractive streets of the Old Town with its magnificent Cathedral. Overnight in Bordeaux.
10th Day, Friday, May 29: In Bordeaux. Excursion to St Emilion (B/D)
Breakfast at leisure and the rest of the morning free for independent exploration and lunch on your own. This afternoon, we drive to the nearby picturesque town of St Emilion. Founded by the Romans and an important settlement in medieval days, St Emilion is rich with ancient churches, period buildings and cobbled streets. Return to Bordeaux for a special farewell dinner at the charming Restaurant l’Estacade. After dinner, return to our hotel on our own.
11th Day, Saturday, May 30: To USA (B)
Transfer to the Bordeaux Airport for our connecting flight to Paris, where we board our flight home.
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