Dordogne, Albi & Carcassonne
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 ow 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 memory 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.
- Return flights
- Seven nights four and three-star superior accommodation with breakfast and five dinners
- Walking tour of delightfully medieval Sarlat, perhaps the most picturesque town in the entire Dordogne
- Tour of the astonishing pre-historic cave paintings at Lascaux
- Travel by traditional boat through the river Dordogne valley
- Visits to some of France’s most attractive medieval villages: Domme, Rocamadour and Roque-Gageac
- Stroll around the typically formal gardens at Marqueyssac with their amazing panoramic views over five castles and the twisting river below
- See Cahors’ fine examples of medieval military architecture
- See the world-class collection of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work in Albi, his home town plus its remarkable Gothic Cathedral
- Walking tour of the dramatic 13th century fortress city of Carcassonne
- Escorted by our experienced tour manager
- The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at a supplement of £295. The price includes return flights or Eurostar and onward rail, seven nights four and three–star superior accommodation with breakfast and five dinners; guided tours of Sarlat, Albi and Carcassonne, all transfers, entrance to Marqueyssac Gardens, ‘garbare’ river cruise, journey on Martel railway, entrance to Lascaux caves, all touring as mentioned. Where hotel features a swimming pool, these will be open during the summer months according to weather conditions.
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