2019 Cost from: $4526 per person sharing a twin room (minimum of 4 participants)
(single room supplement $1850)
This tour has been designed to discover 2 of the most beautiful regions of south western France. The Bordeaux wine region first, a world-renowned destination for all wine lovers. Here, not only will you discover some of the most renowned appellations, but you will also have the opportunity to visit prestigious Classified Growth wineries and taste some of the most famous blends that this area has to offer. The English-speaking specialised wine guide will also be happy to share all his knowledge so that your Bordeaux experience is as enriching as possible.
Then continue to the enchanting Dordogne Region. Small traditional villages classified among the “most beautiful of France”, breathtaking Medieval castles that line up along the River, refined and exhilarating Art that goes back to the origins of Man and incredible food, all these aspects concur in making the Dordogne so special. Departing from the beautiful town of Sarlat, your daily excursions will lead you to the most significant attractions in what is without a doubt one of the fascinating provinces of France.
day 1 Arrival in Bordeaux
Pick up in Bordeaux (Airport/Train Station). Transfer to your centrally located hotel.
Enjoy some free time to discover the lively city of Bordeaux!
Bordeaux is classified "City of Art and History" and has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble". It is home to one of Europe's biggest 18th century architectural urban areas and stands out as one of the first French cities to have entered an era of urbanism and metropolitan big scale projects, with the team Gabriel father and son, architects for King Louis XV, under the supervision of two Governors, first Nicolas-François Dupré de Saint-Maur then the Marquis de Tourny.
day 2 Discovering Medoc Wine
9.30am Pick up at your Hotel
A Full Day Tour of the Famed Medoc Wine Region
The Medoc wine region spans the left bank of the Gironde from the mouth of the river to the city of Bordeaux and includes the four famous communes of St Estephe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux. It is about 60 km north to south, and about 10 km wide, with around 10,600 hectares under vines and a production of about 50 million litres of wine per annum. All the wine made here is red and the main grape variety used is Cabernet Sauvignon.
In-Depth Visits of 3 Wineries Including Tasting Sessions
During this full day tour, you will experience 3 visits and wine tasting sessions in classified growth or Cru Bourgeois estates that have been carefully selected for their exceptional setting and quality of wine. During these visits you will learn all there is to know about the history of the estates, the wine making process as well as the techniques used during the winemaking. All these visits are followed by a commented wine tasting session.
The wineries that you will visit are usually located in Margaux, Saint Julien, Pauillac or the Haut Medoc appellations.
For lunch, we have selected a local restaurant that will introduce you to all the specialties this area has to offer.
5.30pm return to Bordeaux and remainder of the evening at leisure.
day 3 Saint Emilion Wine
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.30am pick up at your hotel.
Discover the Magic of the ‘Right Bank’ Wine Region of Bordeaux
Today the wine region known as the right bank is on your program. Your main destination will be the Saint Emilion appellation. Saint Emilion centres on the commune of the same name. There are several villages around the region that share the Saint-Émilion name, such as Montagne-Saint-Émilion or St-Georges-Saint-Émilion and they are permitted to label their wines under the same name. Merlot is the dominant grape in this area, followed by Cabernet Franc.
Incredible mix of Wineries with the Enchanting Village of Saint Emilion
This full day tour consists in the visit and wine tasting in 2 carefully selected Wineries of the Right Bank as well as the discovery of the enchanting medieval village of Saint Emilion.
Your morning will include the visit and tasting in a winery which produce wines that perfectly reflect their ‘terroir’ – a very important notion for French Wines as it is the local soils and climate that truly define the main aromas and flavours that are to be found. But not only! The winemaker also contributes in a large manner to the quality of the wines that is why our tours combine both prestigious names to lesser known ones in which the visits are usually taken care of by a family member or the winemaker himself.
Uncover the Magic of Saint Emilion
After the morning winery visit, we reach Saint Emilion. The village is all the more charming because it is so different from all the other French medieval villages. Emilian, a Benedictine monk, was born in Brittany in the 8th century, to a modest family. The count who ruled the province chose him to be his financial steward, which turned out to be an unfortunate distinction in his life: Jealous rivals accused him of thievery to discredit him in the eyes of his master and confidant. After some turmoil, his path eventually led him to a forest where, captivated by the serenity of the area, he dug out a cave and dedicated his life to God. The hermit had performed so many miracles and done so much good around him that his name was given to the place where he had lived (after his death in 767) which became known as Saint Emilion.
Follow your guide on a walking tour and unusual place not to be missed: the underground monolithic Cathedral. 125 ft long, 66 ft wide and 36 ft high, all you can see from the exterior are a few windows on the one facade and the steeple, topped with a Gothic arrow 174 ft high. Benedictine monks were the inspiration for this church carved out of solid rock which is Europe’s largest monolithic cathedral!
After your walking tour, enjoy some free time for lunch and personal discovery.
Finally, your tour will include a visit & wine tasting session in a 2nd winery. At opposite ends from your morning visit and located in a different appellation, this will be the perfect opportunity for you to understand how two wineries that are located in the same wine region can produce such very different wines. Color, Aromas, Tannins, Flavours are just some of the notions that will be evoked but undoubtedly the commented tasting will constitute the highlight of this afternoon tour! 5.30pm return to Bordeaux and night at your hotel.
day 4 Bordeaux-Sarlat
Breakfast at your hotel. Check out.
Leisurely departure by private transfer from Bordeaux to Sarlat.
Arrive in Sarlat la Caneda and check in at your hotel. Remainder of the day is at your leisure.
day 5 Sarlat: Gourmet Experience-Villages Walking Tour
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.30am Pick up at your hotel.
Experience the Best of Historic Sarlat in Two Hours
Follow your guide on a 2-hour walking tour and discover all the main sites the town has to offer including the Lantern of the Dead, Saint Sacerdos Cathedral, Saint Mary church and covered market, the house of La Boétie and so much more. On Wednesdays and Saturdays your guide will also point out all the main specialties that one can find in the Sarlat Market.
A Perfect Half-Day Jaunt through the Magic of the Dordogne Valley
In the afternoon, drive to the beautiful village of Domme. With its trapezoid city plan, Domme is a bastide (a fortified medieval town) adapted to the surrounding terrain, and thus falling short of the rectangular city plan characteristic to Bastides. The village is classified as one of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (the Most Beautiful Villages of France). In 1307, Knight Templars were imprisoned in Domme while during the Hundred Years’ War, the town was coveted by the English who first took it in 1347 and repeatedly changed rulers throughout the war until 1437 when it finally fell under French rule again.
Then drive to La Roque Gageac and enjoy a peaceful cruise on the Dordogne River on board an authentic Gabarre to admire mighty castles that line the river. You can also discover the Gardens of La Roque that benefit from micro-climate conditions and where local vegetation stands alongside more exotic plants such as Banana trees, agave and Bougainvillea flowers.
Finally, we reach Beynac to admire the village and the Castle. This Middle Ages construction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River. The castle was built from the 12th century by the barons of Beynac (one of the four baronies of Périgord) close the valley. The sheer cliff face being sufficient to discourage any assault from that side, the defenses
were built up on the plateau: double crenelated walls, double moats, one of which wasa deepened natural ravine, double barbican. After the tour, return to Sarlat. 5.30pm Return to your hotel and night in Sarlat.
day 6 Lascaux IV-Art of the Caves
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.00am Pick up at your hotel.
A Full Day Exploring the Fascinating History of the Cave Paintings of the Dordogne
Some 15,000 years B.C. unknown artists created breathtaking cave paintings of which the most extraordinary examples are found in the Dordogne area. During this day tour you will be introduced to this fascinating art and to the people who made it. Begin the day in Les Eyzies de Tayac for a guided visit of the National Prehistory Museum. Opened in 2004, this national museum possesses the largest collection of prehistoric artifacts in the world. Continue to Montignac where you will visit Lascaux IV cave, a perfect reproduction of the original cave. Opened in 2016, Lascaux IV is a triumph of technology. Unlike any other cave visits, Lascaux IV employs different set designs, displays, state-of-the-art interactive workshops and immersive technology to bring it to life. In fact, the atmosphere inside the replica cave is just like that of a real cave: dark, damp and muffled.
Finally, end the tour with the visit of Rouffignac Cave that possesses original and authentic etchings and drawings. The Rouffignac cave was already mentioned in 1575 by François de Belleforest. In his Cosmographie Universelle he cites “paintings and animal traces”. In the 19th century the cave was known as a tourist attraction. Famous archaeologists like Henry Breuil, André Glory and Martel had visited the cave in the early 20th century, but it was only in 1956 when Louis-René Nougier and Romain Robert, two prehistorians from the Pyrenees,
rediscovered and confirmed the cave art. After the visit, return to Sarlat.
6.00pm return to Sarlat and night at your hotel.
day 7 Rocamadour
Breakfast at your hotel.
9.00am Pick up at your hotel
A Spectacular Half-Day Visit of this Most Special Village