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Unique Backroad Journeys


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The Dordogne A SMALL GROUP CULTURAL JOURNEY JUNE 5-15, 2013 A Journey Back in Time The Dordogne June 5-15, 2013 To Reserve your spot go online or call us at Day 1 Meet at Bordeaux Train Station
The Dordogne A SMALL GROUP CULTURAL JOURNEY JUNE 5-15, 2013 A Journey Back in Time The Dordogne June 5-15, 2013 To Reserve your spot go online or call us at Day 1 Meet at Bordeaux Train Station Bienvenue en Aquitaine. We meet at the Bordeaux train station after a lightening fast TVG train ride from Paris. Transport to, WOW isn t this beautiful, Sarlat, a handsome medieval market town nestled in the middle of the Dordogne. Check into your hotel**. You ll have time to settle in before we gather for a scrumptious Dordogne-style welcome dinner. Daily Itinerary Meals: (D) Day 2 Caves, Vézère River, St. Léon, Roque St. Christophe, Les Eyzies On our first day we ll explore the lush Vézère River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the existence of man dates back at least over 17,000 years. Today you will see for yourself the bold and, nothing short of amazing, colorful and creative wall and ceiling paintings of Lascaux II, the most famous painted cave in the world. Our tour guide will point out the different animals and cryptic signs painted in the cave while describing the sophisticated techniques used to show perspective and create intense, vivid colors long before Giotto started the Renaissance. We ll continue to explore this area and travel further downstream to St. Léon sur Vézère, a village listed as one of the prettiest in France. There we ll have a guided visit of a very fine 11 th century Romanesque church. For lunch we ll feast on a French-style picque nique near the banks of the river, mmmmm.wine, water, cheese, bread, fruit bon appetite! After lunch we ll travel a little further downstream and climb a majestic limestone cliff for a guided tour of a half-mile long precipice. Inhabited for thousands of years, the most recent residents of this cliff built an entire village on the overhang, some of which still remains. H IGHLIGHTS D AY 1 Arrive Bordeaux Check into hotel in lovely Sarlat Welcome dinner H IGHLIGHTS D AY 2 Visit the most famous painted prehistoric cave in the world See a lovely example of a Romanesque Church Visit one of the most beautiful villages in France Picque Nique on the banks of the river Stand on a limestone cliff high above the river Wander the streets of the town of prehistory Our last stop during this day s journey back in time is to Les Eyzies, known as the village of prehistory. While there you will have an opportunity to visit the Museum of Prehistory which has one of the largest collections of prehistoric artifacts in the world. There is time to visit the shops and cafes as well as an opportunity to visit another painted cave in the area, Font de Gaume.* This evening try one of the many great restaurants in Sarlat. The Dordogne June 5-15, 2013 To Reserve your spot go online or call us at Day 3 Domme, Beynac Village, Chateau des Milandes This morning we will cross the gentle Dordogne River and climb a winding road to the solidly-walled bastide village of Domme. Perched high above the river, it was the perfect place for protection during the 100 Years War. We ll wander the narrow streets past buildings and half-timbered houses constructed of ancient biscuit colored stones with our guide. He ll tell us about the history of the village and life during the Middle Ages. Beynac village, another of the most beautiful villages of France, is right on the edge of the Dordogne River. We ll have another picnic lunch with time to stroll through the village. Chateaux and castles embellish the area around the Dordogne and a 15 th century turreted chateau, once the home of the American torch singer and dancer, Josephine Baker, is out next destination. We ll have a guided tour of the Chateau and visit the formal gardens with views high above the river. A falconry display at the chateau will follow. We return to lovely Sarlat for a rest and dinner at your own pace at one of the many lovely eateries in Sarlat. H IGHLIGHTS D AY 3 Wander around a medieval village high above the river View the Dordogne River valley from an ancient bastide town Visit one of the most beautiful villages in France BASTIDE- a planned walled town built between 1200 and 1400 AD used for populating a region, safety and trade. Day 4 - Sarlat s Market Day Vendors come from miles away to sell their wares at Sarlat s bustling Saturday outdoor market. There are bargains, handmade goodies and different kinds of food. After lunch we ll rendez-vous with our guide for a walking tour of the town. We ll learn about the different architectural styles and a little history. Lunch and dinner are your choice. There are lovely outdoor cafés and many street vendors from which to choose. Meals: (B) H IGHLIGHTS D AY 4 Time to stroll around the liveliest and largest markets in the Dordogne Guided tour of Sarlat Day 5 Rocamadour and Le Gauffre de Padirac This morning we will follow the ancient pilgrim s path to a sacred site. Perched on a cliff high above a deep river gorge, we ll visit Rocamadour and discover a labyrinth of 7 churches, found at the end of 223 steps. One of the 7, the Chapel of our Lady, houses a statue of the sacred, and worshiped for centuries, Black Madonna. During your guided tour you will learn about the history of this hallowed place and the famous people who climbed all 223 steps sometimes on their knees. A delicious lunch is planned in the village and there will be an opportunity to shop. Be sure to look for the famous goat cheese from the region and the equally famous goat's milk soap. At the next stop on today's journey, you ll descend 103 meters to the bottom of an ancient sinkhole, the Gauffre de Padirac. At the bottom, after a short walk, you ll board a flat-bottomed boat and glide gondolastyle on an underground river in a huge well-lit cavern. After a few hundred meters you ll disembark and walk past several limestone pools and waterfalls to a great cavern 300 feet high. Stairs take you up past great stalagmites and stalactites allowing you to get a great sense of the size of the cavern and the rock formations in the cave. After another full day, we return to our hotel and dine at one of the restaurants of your choice in Sarlat. H IGHLIGHTS D AY 5 Guided tour Rocamadour Lunch Rocamadour Sail on underground river Day 6 Cadouin Abbey, Monpazier, Truffle Hunting After breakfast we ll travel along the Dordogne River to a small village where we ll have a guided tour of an 11th C. Cistercian abbey. After our visit to the abbey, we ll journey to one of the best-preserved bastides in France. Built in the 13th Century, Monpazier boasts two main gates giving way to wide streets, both of which lead to the large arcaded town square. Our visit will include a guided tour of the town and a delicious lunch. Known as black diamonds or black gold, this part of France is recognized for its highly prized black truffles. After lunch we ll visit a truffle farm and learn something about how to find these tasty subterranean mushrooms followed by a delightful tasting of truffles and wine. Return to your hotel. Dinner is at your leisure. H IGHLIGHTS D AY 6 Guided tour of Cistercian Abbey Guided tour and lunch of a bastide Learn the art of truffle hunting Day 7 Castelnaud, La Roque G ageac, Gabar River Trip A guided tour of a superb example of a medieval fortress will start our day. There is a wonderful collection of medieval arms and armor at the castle as well as spectacular views of the Dordogne River and surrounding countryside. From the docks of La Roque Gageac village, a riverside village listed as one of the Plus Beaux Village de France, we ll set sail on a traditional flatbottomed boat of the region known as a gabare. These vessels were used to carry goods up and down the river all the way to Bordeaux near the Atlantic Ocean. After our guided trip there will be time to stroll through the village and find a place to have lunch. Return to Sarlat for a free afternoon.****(possibility of Canoeing on river extra charge) This evening we ll gather for a superb Dordogne-style dinner. Day 8 Free Day Meals: (B,D) Today is yours to do with as you wish. The market is in town again and it s a great time to shop or send postcards. Day 9 Turenne, Collange La Rouge, The Gardens of Eyrignac Meals (B) After breakfast we ll visit to 2 villages that are members of Les Plus Beaux Village de France starts your day. The first, Turenne, is a pretty 13th century settlement clinging to a hillside with outstanding views of the pastoral countryside from the crumbling castle on the summit. The second, Collange La Rouge, was built with the local red sandstone and dates from the 8th century. The village is filled with round turreted houses, pretty little gardens and an 11th century church with a particularly interesting doorway. We ll have the opportunity to eat lunch where we like during the visit in any one of the restaurants or cafés. Our next stop is guaranteed to surprise and delight. It is an oasis of beauty and calm; a jewel of sculpted formality, secret spaces, fountains and pools. There is a storybook chateau with its own private chapel. Considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in France, every inch of the 10-hectare wonder is meticulously groomed and maintained. A guided tour is planned of the gardens which blends the classical and structured harmony of French gardens with the movements and H IGHLIGHTS D AY 7 Guided tour of medieval fortress Guided river cruise on a Gabare Wander a Plus Beau Village de France H IGHLIGHTS D AY 8 Free Day H IGHLIGHTS D AY 9 2 Plus Beaux Village de France Formal, sculpted gardens imagination of the distant Italian Renaissance Bring your camera; this destination has been scheduled for the warm afternoon light...perfect for great photos. Overnight Meals (B) Day 10 Saint- Émilion, Bordeaux Sarlat This morning you will check out of your hotel and drive to St. Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You ll have time to wander the labyrinth of cobbled streets and secret passages of the village as you explore this iconic center of Bordeaux wine. There are plenty of excellent cafés and restaurants tucked away in Saint- Émilion. The difficult task is to choose and make sure you have a glass of the world-class wine of the region. After lunch there is a guided tour of a winery with a tasting in a chateau grand cru classé. Drive to Bordeaux and check into hotel*** located in the historical part of the city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gather for a farewell dinner. Overnight Bordeaux Day 11 Bordeaux & Au Revoir Check out of hotel. Enjoy a guided morning tour of beautiful Bordeaux. Time for lunch. Transfer to airport or train station. France Meals (B) Meals: (B,D) H IGHLIGHTS D AY 10 Visit Saint-Émilion Visit winery Check into hotel Bordeaux H IGHLIGHTS D AY 11 Guided tour Bordeaux Price: The Dordogne $2675/$2475*** per person, double occupancy ***Price of $2675 reflects 10 to 14 guests Price of $2475 reflects 15 to 17 guests $575. Single Supplement Single supplements are due with deposit Exchange Rate: All prices are based on exchange rates. If the exchange rate goes above $1.35 per euro, the price will change to accommodate this 30 days prior to departure. Single supplements are as indicated and also subject to exchange rate change. What s Included: Hotel accommodations for 10 nights Professional English speaking guide for 9 days plus a 2 hour guided tour of Sarlat Professionally driven 19 passenger van Entrance fees to 8 sites All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners Transfers to and from rail station in Bordeaux Gratuities for hotel and meals Trip Literature What s Not Included: Tips for guide(s) and driver Meals not included in the itinerary Drinks not included in the itinerary Transportation other than what is indicated in the itinerary Optional Expenses listed below Optional Expenses *Font De Gaume Cave $9. - there are a limited number of tours per day and tickets go quickly. Please indicate your interest with the first deposit and include the ticket price with your deposit. ****Canoeing on the Dordogne River canoe rental and taxi to Sarlat T RIP P ROTECTION Trip Insurance is advised. Here is a link where you can compare packages after entering the details of your trip. Deposits & Final Payment Deposit & Single Supplement January 9, 2013 Final Payment March 7, 2013 Payment Methods Credit Card (call for for details) Personal Check Cancellation Policy 90 days prior to start date of trip (March 13, 2013) 50% of your cost of the trip (not including single supplement) 120 days prior to start date of trip (February 11, 2013) 50% of the deposit (not including single supplement) Less than 90 days, 75% of the cost For more information us at or call us at
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