The Dordogne is often called the most beautiful river in France. Our tour to this land of the castles of Richard the Lionheart features the most famous and spectacular section of the river, studded with castles and cave art. The hiking is perfect, and a plenitude of sights and attractions rounds out your vacation. This guided tour in the southwest serves as a delightful introduction to France, but also suits experienced adventurers.
Carsacelec, Carsac-Aillac, France
What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP
Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides
6 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
Dates available upon request
Trip can start any date. Self-guided and custom trips also available. Call or email for details.
ARRIVE / DEPART
15 km (10 miles) daily average
You start in Souillac, about 500 km south of Paris. Souillac is on the main Paris-Toulouse rail line, a five-hour trip with no change of trains.
The tour ends in La Roque Gageac, from where you’ll need to take a taxi to Souillac to catch a train to leave the area.
Arrive in Souillac, a bustling town with a delightful Romanesque church. Soak in the atmosphere of the Café de Paris, where refugee poets and artists congregated during the war.
Start the day with a short taxi transfer to Rouffillac, where you’ll start your walk. Head along the river and into the hills, past two castles, one of which is the spectacular Château de Fénelon. Pass through Groléjac, with its picturesque medieval streets. Today’s destination is Carsac-Aillac, a lovely village near the junction of the Dordogne and the Enéa Rivers.
You have several choices today. Explore Carsac, with its 16th- and 17th-century houses topped by lauze roofs and a delightful 11th-century Romanesque church. Enjoy a walk to Aillac or follow a bicycle path to Sarlat, one of the best preserved medieval towns in France. Spend a second night in Carsac.
Walk past Montfort Castle looming over the Dordogne. Arrive in Domme, a beautiful bastide town perched on a rocky crag over the river with a three-star view. Domme’s medieval gates still stand, its maze of old streets invite you to wander, and you can even visit the cave where the town’s inhabitants hid during the Hundred Years’ War.
Enjoy castles and stunning scenery today. Pass Castelnaud, crowning the limestone cliffs over the river. Visit the fascinating museum of medieval warfare in the castle. Wander through the beautiful gardens of the Château de Marqueyssac, then follow an ancient route to La Roque-Gageac, considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. You’ll spend two nights here.
Today stroll through La Roque-Gageac, built into the face of an overhanging cliff riddled with troglodyte caves. Head to Beynac and climb up winding, cobblestone streets to the château, once owned by mighty Richard the Lionheart, that looms over the Dordogne and glares at its rival Castelnaud on the other side.
Take a last stroll around La Roque Gageac before your departure.
This elegant 17th century manor house and 13th century Old Towers that comprise Les Vieilles Tours are set in a large, tranquil park with lovely gardens and pool, and the charming rooms are furnished with period furniture. Relax in this beautiful locale and enjoy a delicious dish carefully prepared in the kitchen.
This modest family-run auberge in the village of Carsac has basic, but comfortable rooms and a restaurant on site where 3 generations serve. Alternative: the Villa Romaine.
Located on a rocky outcropping in the picturesque medieval town of Domme, this Perigordian house directly overlooks the Dordogne with magnificent views of the Dordogne valley and river from the terrace. L’Esplanade boasts stylish salons and a Michelin rated restaurant that specializes in truffles.
Situated in one of the most beautiful villages in France, this hotel is a converted mansion that offers spacious and comfortable rooms enjoying views over the river. Enjoy delicious meals in the spacious dining room and relax on the lovely, intimate terrace.