Dordogne & Herault

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Day 1:  Sarlat for 4 nights

1st class train from Paris to Brive with seat reservations

Departure at 9:34 am, arrival at 1:59 pm

Pick up car at the train station Renault Grand Scenic 5+2 pax or similar Midsize Class – Automatic Transmission unlimited mileage CDW & theft included no deductible

Guided walking tour of Sarlat

Visit the charming town of Sarlat, a medieval town built around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin. Sarlat is one of the only towns in France which has kept its 14th century influence!

Driving time 2h19 minutes

I suggest you stop in Domme:  built high on top of a hill that dominates the region with a view of walnut trees and tobacco fields. It is a French Royal bastide built between the 12th and 13th century. It is also classified -plus beau village de France- a classification of the most beautiful French villages.

Recommended lunch at l’Esplanade in Domme.

An elegant restaurant offering a lovely panoramic view and generous classic cuisine.

Sarlat & Souillac:  famous medieval towns famous for its half timbered houses, foie gras and churches.

 

1 superior double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Clos de la Moussidiere****

Relais De Moussidiere offers well-equipped rooms ideally located near the medieval centre of Sarlat. The hotel’s grounds feature a lake and an outdoor swimming pool. Free WiFi access is available.

Rooms at the Relais De Moussidiere are elegantly decorated and have satellite TV.

After a pleasant day visiting the sites of Sarlat, such as the beautiful Cathédrale Saint-Sacerdos, you can return to the hotel for a drink in the cosy lounge bar.

Staff at the Relais De Moussidiere offer a range of services and will be happy to help you plan your stay in Sarlat 24 hours a day.

http://www.hotel-moussidiere.com/

 

Day 2

Full day private guided tour Lascaux IV & the Art of the Caves

Today you will go to Les Eyzies, capital of Prehistory, where Cro Magnon men were discovered.

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 4 is employing 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.

Then, visit the Font de Gaume, which hosts a collection of prehistoric cave paintings. Prehistoric men living in the Dordogne Valley first settled in the Font de Gaume around 25,000 BC. The cave was forgotten until the 19th century. The paintings found here date back to 17000 BC, during the Magdalenien period. The most famous painting, a mural of five bison was discovered accidentally in 1966 while the scientists were cleaning the cave.

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.

 

Day 3:

Day at leisure to explore Rocamadour and St Cirq Lapopie

Today you will head to Rocamadour, one of the most visited places of France, first as a pilgrimage destination, but also because of its beautiful village built on a cliff side.  The village is renowned for its historical monuments and its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which for centuries has brought pilgrims from every country, among them kings, bishops, and nobles.

Visit the renowned Notre Dame Chapel, part of an extraordinary 13th-century chapel complex perched on a cliff and one of the most dramatic pilgrimage sites in Europe. .

Stop in a local farm producing and selling goat cheese.

After the cheese tasting, depart for the wonderful village of St Cirq Lapopie, known to be the most beautiful of all the beautiful villages of France. Its position, originally selected for defense, perched on a steep cliff 100 m above the river Lot has helped make the town one of the most well preserved in the area, almost as if it was an open air museum. After it was “discovered” by the Post-Impressionist Henri Martin, it became popular with other artists and the home of the writer André Breton.

 

Day 4:

Day at leisure to discover the Dordogne villages

Today discover the breathtaking landscape and traditional villages of the Dordogne valley. First, 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 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, 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) to 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 was a deepened natural ravine, double barbican.

 

 

Day 5:  Carcassonne for 2 nights

Drive the Cathar Road

Southwest France was once a thriving and distinctive kingdom, the home of Catharism – an ascetic Christian sect that eschewed and threatened the power of Rome. Along the road, stop at spectacular castles and abbeys.  See grand ruinous castles perched on craggy hilltops.

 

1 double classic king with street view, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel de la Cite*****

Set in Carcassonne’s circular walls, Hotel de la Cite Carcassonne – MGallery Collection is set in a Medieval-style chateau. The hotel features gardens and an outdoor pool with views of Saint Nazaire Basilica. Free WiFi and wired internet access is available.

Classic or Provencal-style decoration and an iPod docking station feature in all of the guest rooms and suites at Hotel de la Cite. Some suites have a balcony with views of the city.

Homemade pastries are served at breakfast and regional dishes are offered in the brasserie and summer restaurant. Guests can also dine in the Michelin-starred Barbacane restaurant or enjoy a cocktail in the 2 bars.

Guests can go wine tasting in the on-site cellar or organise a river cruise at the 24-hour reception. The hotel has a shuttle service and a valet service available for guests using the private car park.

http://www.cite-hotels.com/hotels/hotel-de-la-cite/

 

Day 6:

Day at leisure to explore the medieval city of Carcassonne

 

Day 7:  La Grande Motte for 2 nights

1 double deluxe room sea view, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel La Plage Art et Emotions

This property is 2 minutes walk from the beach. Located on the seafront, La Plage Art et Emotions offers guests accommodations just a 10-minute walk from the centre of La Grande Motte. Spa facilities by Payot are featured. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

The hotel has a heated outdoor swimming pool and a well-being centre with a hammam. Guests can enjoy dinner at the on site restaurant “Les Planches”.

The rooms located on the first or second floor feature sea views and a private balcony, while the ground floor rooms offer a 35 m² private garden and a terrace. Each air-conditioned room is equipped with a flat-screen satellite TV, a coffee machine and a minibar. The private bathrooms are stocked with bathrobes and free toiletries.

The property was completely renovated in June 2017, and has applied for 5-star status.

https://laplage-artetemotions.com/

 

Day  8:

Day at leisure to relax at the beach or explore Montpellier

Or have a wine tasting at Pic St Loup

Go to Pic Saint Loup, a Montpellier highlight, and a commune of the Coteaux du Languedoc.  Discover a terroir, visit some wineries, meet the winemaker, and taste the wine.

 

Day 9:

Drop off car at Montpellier train station

1st class train from Montpellier to Paris

 

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