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 walking, pedalling and canoeing are all perfect, and a plenitude of sights and attractions rounds out your vacation. This tour to the southwest serves as a delightful introduction to France, but also suits experienced adventurers.
What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP
Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
9 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 3 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)
Self-guided and custom trips also available and can start any day. Call or email for details.
ARRIVE / DEPART
Rides: 45 km daily average (30 miles).
Walks: 10 to 16 km daily (6 to 10 miles).
The canoeing is appropriate for skilled beginners and up. There are some sections of fast water with possible eddies, but there are no rapids or waterfalls and no portaging is ever required. Typically the canoeing fills about 4 to 5 hours of the day.
Land Cost (current year):
Getting there :
Rocamadour: The tours begin in Rocamadour, about 550 km south of Paris.To reach Rocamadour you need to change trains in Brive-la-Gaillarde and the whole trip takes close to seven hours.
Arrival in the ancient pilgrimage site of Rocamadour, a near-vertical village overlooking the isolated Ouysse ravine.
The route to Lacave traverses the causse, a wild limestone plateau with stone walls and black-eyed sheep. You’ll walk through remote river canyons, along the same paths followed by pilgrims a thousand years ago.
Leave the Ouysse River Valley for the larger Dordogne. Pass the Belcastel and the Chateau la Treyne and through delightful villages. Arrive in Souillac, a bustling town with a delightful Romanesque abbey church. Soak in the atmosphere of the Café de Paris, where refugee poets and artists congregated during the war.
Today you’ll see the Dordogne from a whole new angle as you canoe to your next destination. From the water you’ll see castles and charming villages, as well as the cliffs and woods that surround them. Arrive at Carsac-Aillac, a picturesque village with houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Carsac also has a small Romanesque church from the 11th-century.
La Roque Gageac
More canoeing is on the agenda today. Pass the spectacular castle of Montfort, plus lots more of the well known scenery of the Dordogne: walnut groves, cliff faces, quaint villages. Pause for a walk to spectacular Domme, then continue to La Roque Gageac, your base for two nights.
Enjoy a full day to explore the region. Wander through Sarlat, with its charming winding streets and magnificent buildings. Visit Beynac, then Castelnaud castle with its medieval warfare museum. Feast your eyes on the unforgettable view from the golden hilltop village of Domme.
Enjoy spectacular views of the Dordogne valley as you follow winding roads through the forests and villages of the Périgord Noir. Pause at St-Cyprien, dominated by its massive Romanesque church, then head to Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, sometimes referred to as “The World Capital of Prehistory”.
On a day ride from Les Eyzies you’ll explore the Vézère River valley. This is the land of the most famous prehistoric sites, including caves and troglodyte dwellings. Visit Font de Gaume, Abri du Cap Blanc, and the lovely village of St-Léon. Go as far as Lascaux.
Savour the beauty and tranquility of this charming landscape as you follow gentle river valleys through the green hills of the Bouriane to Gourdon, a beautiful town with a charming nedieval quarter of narrow streets and golden limestone houses.
Take a final stroll through Gourdon before heading off on your next adventure.
Set in Parc naturel régional des Causses du Quercy, on a property with an oak grove, this serene, woodsy-chic hotel is an 8-minute walk from downtown L'Hospitalet and 15 minutes on foot from Rocher des Aigles bird park.
This carefully restored hotel, once a farm more than a century ago, is in a beautiful and peaceful location by the L'Ouysse River. The 11 rooms and 2 apartments are beautifully appointed and maintain the charm and taste of the rest of the hotel. There is a pleasant pool and beautiful grounds and a wonderful restaurant with excellent cuisine.
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 hotel is located in the peaceful surroundings of a large park. This quaint 18-room Relais offers warm hospitality and fine regional cuisine. There is a lovely pool and gardens to enjoy along with a marvelous panoramic view overlooking the Dordogne and its cliffs.
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.
A former mill, this quaint hotel is situated on the banks of the river Beune in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. Proprtietors of Moulin de la Beune share a great love food from which they have created one of the top restaurants in Les Eyzies.