The Charming Dordogne
No Single Supplement*
Based in pretty Le Bugue, this train holiday takes you to some of the most beautiful parts of the Dordogne, where you can marvel at exquisite medieval towns, outstanding countryside and pre-historic sites.
You will meet your Tour Manager at our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International before you travel on the Eurostar service to Paris. Here you connect with the train to Brive for a transfer to Le Bugue, a small and attractive market town that sits on the Vézère River. The town remains mostly untouched by the throng of tourism, so walking around is a delight. Enjoy the laid back pace of life the locals are accustomed to during your time in this historic town, which is spent at the Hotel Royal Vézère.
Take to the water at La Roque-Gageac today for a traditional flat-bottomed Gabare boat cruise. Sail serenely along the river and watch in awe as high, rocky hills elevate dramatically behind elegant houses which are beautifully framed by verdant scenery. This is the essence of the Dordogne region and your chance to experience the true charm of the Dordogne countryside as you gently cruise down river. Next you'll make a visit to the hanging gardens of Marqueyssac, a 300 year old topiary garden conceived by the landscape designer who worked on Versailles' show-stopping gardens. Here you can explore wander through intricate, hand-shaped mazes made up of over 150,000 boxwood trees.
Today is free for you to explore the charming town of Le Bugue. You have the opportunity to admire the town's traditional houses and take a stroll along the river. Alternatively, you could make a visit to nearby Gouffre de Proumeyssac, the single largest developed cavern in Périgord.
Your excursion today starts in Sarlat, an incredibly picturesque town in the heart of the Dordogne. The medieval Old Town, with its labyrinth of alleyways and buildings built in warm honey-coloured stone, is virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. Developed around an ancient Benedictine monastery, Sarlat is a favourite location for film directors as modernity has largely excluded the area from its grasp which leaves it as one of the most representative towns of 14th century France.
Today is also market day, giving you the chance to peruse the stalls for fresh produce and local crafts. Enjoy a stroll, perhaps visiting the Cathedrale Saint Sacerdos, a pretty cathedral that is one of the National Monuments of France,and whose cathedral's belfry dates back as far as the 9th century, though a whole range of architecture is on display, thanks to extensive redevelopments in the 16th and 18th centuries.
Continue this afternoon with a visit to the Lascaux II, a carefully-constructed replica of the off-limits World Heritage listed Lascaux cave system in the Vézère Valley. Discovered in 1940, the original caves are home to a collection of fascinating palaeolithic cave paintings, believed to date back almost 20,000 years and depicting creatures that roamed the landscape here all those years ago. As the original caves are closed to the public, Lascaux II was created to provide an authentic experience, without risking damage to the ancient caves.
This morning you travel to the magnificent village of Rocamadour, perched high above the meandering river below. The town rises up in levels, and is crowned by l'Hospitalet Abbey. Perched on the side of a rocky hill this town overlooks the countryside with sweeping views and is a focal point of the region due to its pretty towered skyline. In the afternoon you continue to the medieval village of Martel, an attractive place that is steeped in history.
We take a ride on the restored Truffadou Steam Train which hugs the side of the hills as it travels around the valley, a great way to adsorb the views over the stunning Dordogne valley. The rail line was built to carry timber to Bordeaux, for the production of wine casks, though its current name comes from its later use as a method of truffle transportation from the market of nearby Martel. Whilst previously timber would have been carried slowly on Gabare boats, the introduction of the train line shortened the process considerably, creating considerable competition for trade with the Gabare river boats.
The railway was built in the 1880s and opened for traffic in 1889, though it was later dismantled in 1917 by American soldiers to help the First World War effort. Rebuilt the following year - also with the help of American soldiers - the rail operated in this commercial capacity until 1980. Thanks to railway enthusiasts, the line was reopened as a tourist attraction in 1997, and is now run entirely by volunteers.
Transfer by coach to Brive today, for the intercity train to Paris. Here, you change for the Eurostar to St Pancras International, where your tour concludes.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 25 verified reviews
This has been our best Rail Discoveries holiday so far.
Generally very satisfied, but travelling days -particularly outward were too long. personally I found the excursion to the cave paintings a disappointment.
Arriving late at the hotel could have been avoided by using the fast train route to Bordeaux both ways although there was a 2 hour coach transfer to our Hotel Royal Vezere.
It was a well designed itinerary with an excellent tour manager and the same very helpful coach driver for all days out.
Overall it was very enjoyable
Disappointing rail and coach journey to our destination. The Eurostar part of the journey was fine but from Paris to Brieve was 4.5 hours in a carriage with no air conditioning and no sign of refreshments the whole journey. And then to be told we have a 90 minute coach transfer arriving just before 21.00. Then on return rail journey to Paris was not an issue but given no time to cross Paris, make our way to the Eurostar terminal, get through customs and passport control with just minutes to spare. Felt the courier could have made sure that all those on the holiday had got through security rather than leave us to our own devices. Managed to board Eurostar with 5 minutes to spare. A total, complete rush made worse for those who struggled with their luggage and general walking
well arranged, variety of events, good accommodation
Well organised throughout. Excellent train journey’s, very nice traditional hotel,, friendly staff and good food. Well paced tour.
Very well organised with a good tour manager
A bit frantic. Very disappointed did not get requested upgraded seats on Eurostar having asking twice before booking for Club Duo seats. Would seriously think twice again before paying a considerable amount for the upgrade.
Experience the beauty of the Dordogne