The Charming Dordogne
No Solo Supplement*
Based in pretty Le Bugue, this rail holiday takes you to one of the most beautiful parts of France, where you can marvel at medieval towns, and outstanding countryside, and journey on a unique heritage railway.
Meet your Tour Manager at our Departure Office at London St Pancras, then travel on the Eurostar service to Paris. Here you connect with the intercity train to Brive, before transferring to Le Bugue by coach on arrival, an 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 stay 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 its true charm as you gently cruise downriver.
This afternoon, continue to Château des Milandes, the sumptuous former home of Josephine Baker, a star of Parisian cabaret in the roaring 20s. Before then, it was home to the Caumonts, an eminent family of the French aristocracy. Château des Milandes was built in 1489 with stunning Gothic features of the period, and shows a fine example of Renaissance architecture. It would soon be home to American-born Dancer and Singer Josephine Baker. She famously restored the chateau in the style of the time, creating an Art Deco haven for her large, adopted family. Whilst exploring, you can see the wonderful displays commemorating Josephine, her life, and work.
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 is to 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 a Benedictine monastery, Sarlat is a favourite location for film directors as modernity has largely excluded the area from its grasp, leaving 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 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. Enjoy lunch locally, returning back to Le Bugue this afternoon.
This morning, 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. In the afternoon, you continue to the medieval village of Martel, an attractive place steeped in history.
From here, 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. 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. Whilst previously timber would have been carried slowly on Gabare boats, the introduction of the train line shortened the process considerably.
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 by a not-for-profit group.
Transfer by coach to Brive today, for the intercity train to Paris. Here, change for the Eurostar to London St Pancras, 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.
Enhancing your tour
Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 6 verified reviews
The destination, hotel and coach trips were brilliant, sadly for me the discomfort of putting cases on and off Eurostar did not impress me nor did the trek across Paris
Apart from the long journey to get there we thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in the Dordogne. The weather was good and our travelling companions were very pleasant
As a newcomer to Rail Discoveries I found it all went very smoothly
The holiday was great - but the initial journey to Le Bugue was too long.....the return journey was OK
Pleasant hotel-well situated by the river in pleasant town. Good venues visited. Excellent guide at Lascaux 11 site. Tour manager supportive to people who needed support. The most elderly (dealing with fall) possibly slightly isolated couple.
Overall a very good holiday
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.
Experience the beauty of the Dordogne