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Explore the heart of rural France with its fairytale chateaux, truffle-scented farmers' markets and prehistoric caves on this escorted tour of the enchanting region of Dordogne, Albi and Carcassonne

Join us on an unforgettable journey through the heart of rural France, where honey-coloured villages, ancient art, peaceful gardens, and bustling medieval towns await.

Located between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees in Southwest France, the Dordogne is crammed with medieval villages, sprawling palace gardens and historic walled cities, which seem unchanged for centuries.

You'll visit a series of enchanting walled towns and hilltop settlements, learning about the fascinating history of the region as you travel. Uncover the origins of European art with a visit to the incredible stone-age cave paintings of Lascaux, explore the remarkable walled city of Carcassonne, and stroll around the typically formal gardens of Marqueyssac with their amazing panoramic views over five castles.

You can also look forward to a walking tour of delightfully medieval Sarlat, perhaps the most picturesque town in the entire Dordogne area and a traditional flat-bottomed boat through the river Dordogne valley.

A highlight of the trip will be the beautiful city of Albi, whose 13th-century, red-brick Sainte-Cécile Cathedral dominates the skyline. Albi was also the hometown of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and you can see a world-class collection of his work housed in a 13th-century building which was originally the Bishop's Palace of Albi Cathedral.

Throughout the tour, you'll be based at three-star superior and four-star hotels, all conveniently located for your excursions and where you'll enjoy daily breakfast and five dinners. This tour also includes an exceptional meal at Carcassonne's Michelin-starred restaurant La Barbacane.

Departure dates from April - October 2024 are available; please call for details
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Price includes

  • Return flights or Eurostar and onward rail
  • Seven nights' in three-star superior and four-star accommodation
  • Daily breakfast and five dinners
  • Guided tours of Sarlat, Albi and Carcassonne
  • Entrance to the Marqueyssac Gardens, Beynac Castle
  • 'Garbare' river cruise
  • Entrance to and tour of the Lascaux IV caves
  • Visits to Domme, Rocamadour and La Roque-Gageac
  • All local accommodation taxes
  • The services of a tour manager

Availability

From
Sat, Sat, Jul 20, 2024
To
Thu, Thu, Oct 31, 2024
Duration
8 days
Price per person
£1,899*

* From price is per person, based on two people sharing a double/twin room in Hotel Le Renoir, subject to availability and based on 19 April 2024 departure date from Manchester airport. Various departure dates are available, please call for details. Price and itinerary correct at time of print but may be subject to change. Single supplement on request. Deposit £250pp. Not suitable for those with mobility issues. Local charges such as tourist tax may apply. Offers are not valid in conjunction with any other offers or promotions. Travel insurance is not included and should be taken out at time of booking. Images used may not reflect your actual tour experience. This holiday may be sold through other selected brands. Tour is operated by and subject to the booking conditions of TS Travel Ltd and Riviera Tours Limited.

Call now to book 02039934304
Quote ref: RIVDORDOGNE
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Itinerary

  1. Day
    1
    Arrive in Sarlat
    Sarlat-la-Can, France

    Arrive in Toulouse or Carcassonne on your flight or by train. You'll then be taken to your hotel in Sarlat, where you'll check in and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Spend the time settling into the hotel and start exploring the local area if you wish.

  2. Day
    2
    Sarlat and Lascaux
    Sarlat-la-Can, France

    After breakfast you'll learn about the fascinating history of Sarlat on a walking tour of this ancient market town, which grew after a Benedictine monastery was built there in the early 9th century during the reign of Charlemagne.

    As you meander through its enchanting cobbled streets, you'll hear how the town was shaped by the various conflicts that brought upheaval to the Dordogne in the Middle Ages.

    This afternoon we travel back around 17,000 years to prehistoric France and the famous cave of Lascaux. This UNESCO World Heritage Site near the village of Montignac is an elaborate cave system where chambers, galleries and shafts are adorned with almost 2,000 Upper Paleolithic paintings and engraved figures.

    Described by a local cave art scholar as the 'Sistine Chapel of prehistory' you'll visit the recently opened International Centre for Cave Art and wander through an exact copy of the decorated caverns that took three years to recreate.

    You'll have the opportunity to draw using the same tools and techniques employed by the Stone Age cave artists, touch original artefacts found by archaeologists

  3. Day
    3
    Rocamadour and Marqueyssac Gardens
    Rocamadour, France

    Today you'll follow the extraordinarily picturesque Dordogne River to one of France's most instantly recognisable sights - the remarkable village and monastery of Rocamadour.

    As you wander through a network of twisting and ever-ascending lanes, you'll soon be treated to views of this eclectic, near-vertical village, perched on the side of a limestone cliff and towering over Alzou canyon.

    Following the discovery of St Amadour's perfectly preserved body, Rocamadour became a pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages. It was known as the 'Lourdes of its time', famed for its healing powers and visited by numerous monarchs. You'll have time to explore the village at your own pace, before heading to Marqueyssac Gardens.

    This beautiful formal garden has over six kilometres of shaded pathways lined with hand-pruned shrubs and dotted with belvederes, rockeries, waterfalls and greenery. The gardens also boast one of the best panoramic views in the Dordogne.

  4. Day
    4
    Beynac and La Roque-Gageac
    Beynac-et-Cazenac, France

    This morning you'll visit the great fortress of Beynac, towering above the river and once captured by Richard the Lionheart. With amazing views, cobbled squares and a maze of narrow alleys, this village is recognised as one of the 'Most Beautiful Villages in France'.

    A short drive will then take you to Domme, a magnificent walled town with several fortified gates. Here you can enjoy more stunning views, an array of fine mediaeval dwellings plus goldsmiths' houses and a delightful covered market.

    Afterwards you'll travel back towards the river to discover one of France's prettiest villages, La Roque-Gageac. With its riverside location and cream-coloured stone houses, La Roque-Gageac is a delight to explore. You'll board a traditional 'gabare' boat, once used for transporting wine, to get a sense of the way of life here in centuries past.

  5. Day
    5
    Cahors
    Cahors, France

    This morning you'll bid farewell to the Dordogne and travel south to enchanting Cahors, with its splendid 14th century fortified Valentré Bridge majestically spanning the River Lot.

    On your journey, you'll see as the countryside gradually changes from rolling wooded slopes of lush green to the paler yellows, ochres and endless fields of the instantly recognisable sunflowers that are so typical of southern France.

    In Cahors, you might choose to sample some of its famous red wines, or follow a trail around the town's delightful 'secret gardens'.

  6. Day
    6
    Carcassonne
    Carcassonne, France

    There are many exceptional 'old towns' in France yet none quite rivals the enchanting allure of Carcassonne, with its mediaeval citadel, adorned with fairy-tale-like, cone-topped turrets and cream-coloured battlements.

    Today you'll enjoy a guided tour of this wonderful town, and experience a sense of timelessness, wandering ancient, cobbled lanes founded by Romans and trodden over the centuries by Visigoths, Saracens and rich mediaeval merchants.

    In the afternoon you will have time to explore its more peaceful corners at your own pace, wandering along more of the town's pretty streets.

  7. Day
    7
    Albi
    Albi, France

    Today you'll visit Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the banks of the The Tarn river. Albi is a stunning brick-built city, with a skyline dominated by an imposing gothic cathedral, thought to be one of the largest brick buildings in the world.

    You might find Albi to be more Mediterranean in character than the towns of the Dordogne. During an informative guided tour you will learn all about this once independent state and visit the beautiful cathedral, where you'll see its breathtakingly detailed interior with one of Europe's most important mediaeval works, an enormous mural of the Last Judgement.

    This afternoon you'll be free to explore as you wish. The renowned artist Toulouse-Lautrec was born here, and you might choose to see the rich collection of his most famous works at the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. Or you might simply amble around Albi's old town, one of France's largest conservation areas, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere.

  8. Day
    8
    Return home
    Albi, France

    Today you'll check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport or train station as your tour of the Dordogne comes to an end.

Brought to you by

TS Tours as agent for Riviera Travel
This tour is operated solely by TS Tours
TS Tours is acting as agent for Riviera Travel. Tour is operated by and subject to the booking conditions of Riviera Travel.

Established 35 years ago, Riviera Travel offers exceptional experiences at outstanding value for money. They were the highest-rated cruise operator in a 2017 survey by Which? magazine. Riviera is ABTA and ATOL-bonded.

TS Tours Ltd specialises in creating bespoke tours, cruises and rail journeys in the company of experts. Its exclusive trips combine unique experiences as well as access to inspirational people. All trips are ATOL-protected and financially bonded.

For information about TS Tours, click here.
For Riviera Travel's terms and conditions, see here.

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This tour is protected by the following:

Availability

From
Sat, Sat, Jul 20, 2024
To
Thu, Thu, Oct 31, 2024
Duration
8 days
Price per person
£1,899*

* From price is per person, based on two people sharing a double/twin room in Hotel Le Renoir, subject to availability and based on 19 April 2024 departure date from Manchester airport. Various departure dates are available, please call for details. Price and itinerary correct at time of print but may be subject to change. Single supplement on request. Deposit £250pp. Not suitable for those with mobility issues. Local charges such as tourist tax may apply. Offers are not valid in conjunction with any other offers or promotions. Travel insurance is not included and should be taken out at time of booking. Images used may not reflect your actual tour experience. This holiday may be sold through other selected brands. Tour is operated by and subject to the booking conditions of TS Travel Ltd and Riviera Tours Limited.

Call now to book 02039934304
Quote ref: RIVDORDOGNE