Dordogne, Albi & Carcassonne
Immersed in France’s bucolic rural heart, see its charming honey-coloured rural villages, sophisticated prehistoric art, gorgeous gardens and timeless medieval towns bursting with market-day life.
Far removed from the noise and pace of modern life, on this fascinating tour you can completely immerse yourself in deepest France. Here is a hauntingly beautiful, undulating rural landscape covered with a verdant carpet of dense oak, walnut and chestnut forests slashed by deep, twisting gorges lined by craggy cliffs filled with sparklingly pure, trout-filled rivers. It’s bisected by dry-stone walls, studded with isolated farm houses and wonderfully medieval, honey-coloured stone villages which spring into vibrant life on market days just as they have always done. Unchanged for centuries and blessed with a wonderfully benign climate, its magnificence will take your breath away.
From the very dawn of European art and civilisation come the remarkable stone-age cave paintings of Lascaux. The sheer intricacy of this work and the skill and imagination used is beyond belief. There are troglodytic villages set into huge cliffs which remarkably are still inhabited.
The Romans ruled here for 400 years introducing the vine which of course was immediately adopted with gusto! Then came the Cathars and the Wars of Religion, after which France became, more or less a united country. During medieval times, after the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to our own Henry II, the fate of England and France became very much intertwined. With future succession disputed, the Hundred Years’ War commenced and legacies of this violent period abound throughout the region. Today these splendid walled towns and hill-top castles are a delight to explore and it is difficult to imagine this wonderfully quiet and peaceful scene was once so violent. This history culminates as you gaze in wonder at the turrets and ramparts of the extraordinary walled city of 13th century Carcassonne. Art and culture are an ever present theme too, from the many craftsmen and artisans that have embraced the peaceful villages as their ideal home, to the extensive religious works in Albi’s remarkable Cathedral. Beautifully brick-built, Albi nestles serenely on the banks of the majestic River Tarn and was home to Toulouse- Lautrec, one of the world’s great artists and you can see a superb exhibition of his finest work.
There is so much to experience on this tour but the memories which will probably last longest is the stunning beauty of the countryside, the charm and allure of the enchanting villages and the seemingly idyllic lifestyle of the French themselves.
- Guided walking tour of Albi with its remarkable Gothic cathedral, home town of Toulouse-Lautrec – a museum now houses a world-class collection of his work
- Tour of the astonishing prehistoric replica cave paintings, perfectly reproduced at Lascaux depicting fauna from the Stone Age - with entrance fees included
- Walking tour of delightfully medieval Sarlat, perhaps the most picturesque town in the entire Dordogne area
- Guided walking tour of the dramatic 13th century fortress city of Carcassonne
- Travel by traditional flat-bottomed boat through the river Dordogne valley
- Visits to some of France’s most attractive medieval villages: Domme, Rocamadour and La Roque-Gageac
- Stroll around the typically formal gardens of Marqueyssac with their amazing panoramic views over five castles and the twisting river below with entrance fees included
- Visit Beynac, the formidable fortress of Richard the Lionheart
- See Cahors’ fine examples of medieval military architecture
- Services of our experienced tour manager
- Seven nights in three-star superior and four star accommodation including all local taxes, with breakfast and five dinners
- Return travel from a selection of regional airports or by Eurostar and Intercités train, and transfers to and from your hotel included
- Selected departures from April to October 2019
- The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes return flights or Eurostar and onward rail, seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast and five dinners, all tours as mentioned, all local accommodation taxes and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
- Included excursions are: guided tours of Sarlat, Albi and Carcassonne, entrance to the Marqueyssac Gardens, entrance to Beynac Castle, a ‘garbare’ river cruise, entrance to and tour of the Lascaux IV caves and visits to Domme, Rocamadour and La Roque-Gageac.
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