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Bordeaux, Dordogne and Languedoc
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Bordeaux, Dordogne and Languedoc

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 13 day(s)
Group Size: 8 - 16 people
Destination(s): France  
Specialty Categories: Food & Wine   Cultural Journey  
Season: September
Airfare Included: Yes
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 6999 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 6999 US Dollar (USD)

Tour Dates:
August 30 - September 12, 2015
August 28 - September 10, 2016

Come along with us on a luxurious adventure to the mouth-watering region of Bordeaux, Dordogne and Languedoc, France. During our 13 day journey you will indulge in the finest of haute French cuisine, the most famous wines in the world, elegant but warm and friendly regional accommodations, magical landscapes, breathtaking mountain vistas, medieval villages, flamboyant châteaux, and prehistoric cave paintings over 50,000 years old.

Bordeaux needs little introduction. The wine route takes us to the most famous vineyards in the world, covering the appellation regions of Médoc, Haut Médoc (Saint Estèphe, Pauillac, Margaux), and Saint Emilion. To accompany our fine wines we dine in grand style on such regional specialties as stuffed carp in the Poitou fashion, chevreau (young goat), or tender steaks served with a Bordelaise wine sauce. The exquisite Sauternes dessert wines are a perfect accompaniment to Poitou baked cheesecake, chocolate marguerites from Angoulême or macaroons from Saint Emilion.

An hour east of Bordeaux is the Dordogne River Valley and the region known as Périgord. This is truly fairyland countryside, dotted with ancient châteaux and picturesque “bastides” or medieval walled villages. There is much to see in this beautiful valley, from the prehistoric caves with their stalactites, stalagmites, and authentic paintings, to hill top castles, to tiny Gallo Roman villages with narrow cobblestone streets, half timbered houses, and enticing cafés. From the spectacular mountain village of Rocamadour we are a short drive to the Languedoc region, one of France’s best kept secrets. In following the path of the 13th century Cathar wars, we explore the citadel Carcassonne, the picturesque town of Albi, and the ancient capital of Toulouse.

Your Itinerary

Day 1.
We arrive at the Bordeaux airport and take a short ride to our hotel in the city center. After some free time to either rest or explore, we have a guided walking tour, led by our wonderful local guide, followed by a delicious welcome dinner.
Overnight: Bordeaux | Includes: (D).

Day 2.
This morning we head up the wine road to Pauillac to visit one of the famous wine châteaux of the Médoc. After lunch on the quai along the Gironde River, we take a ferry from Lamarque to Blaye and follow a picturesque route to the quaint wine village of Saint Emilion, our base for the next two days.
Overnight: Saint Emilion | Includes: (B), (D).

Day 3.
A guided walking tour explains the fascinating history of Saint Emilion and its exotic ruins, including the largest monolithic underground church in the world. After visiting one of the 1,000 Saint Emilion vineyards, we enjoy a wine-tasting class, which will give us the background to enjoy the rest of the trip to the fullest. Dinner tonight is a gastronomic affair in a beautiful wine château.
Overnight: Saint Emilion | Includes: (B).

Day 4.
Today we head east into the region of Périgord, a fairytale land of castles, prehistoric caves, medieval villages, and unparalleled gastronomic delights. Our first stop is a visit to Lascaux II, the famous replica of the original Las caux Cave, where we’ll get an excellent introduction to Paleolithic cave art. After lunch in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, known as the capital of prehistory, we visit the National Museum of Prehistory with its world famous collection of prehistoric findings. A scenic drive along the Dordogne River then brings us to our home for the next two nights, the picturesque medieval town of Sarlat.
Overnight: Sarlat | Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 5.
Sarlat is the geographical center of Périgord-Quercy and the most important site in the region. Founded in the 9th Century by Duke Pepin of Aquitaine, Sarlat grew to be an important city in the Middle Ages. With no cars on its narrow medieval streets, Sarlat is often used in filmmaking. On one visit we mingled with the costumed actors of The Three Musketeers. Sarlat is also known as the capital of foie gras and truffles, so we’ll be sure to wander through the most temping shops. After exploring this amazing town, we take an excursion into the beautiful countryside for an unusual experience: an authentic truffle hunt. We’ll learn all about this priceless mushroom from a truffle expert and his faithful dogs. After a cooking demonstration followed by a truffle flavored lunch, we visit Rouffignac Cave, where we see authentic prehistoric cave drawings from the Magdalenian period. We return to Sarlat for a free evening.
Overnight: Sarlat | Includes: (B), (D).

Day 6.
This morning we take a guided tour of the nearby Château Beynac-et-Cazenac. High on a hill above the Dordogne River, Beynac has an exciting history from the Middle Ages, having been captured by Richard the Lionheart during one of the many battles between the French and the English. It has been meticulously restored and was the model for the Michael Crighton film Timeline. After walking down the picturesque castle road, we visit another charming medieval village, Domme. Here, at the top of a small mountain with a panoramic view of the Dordogne River Valley, we have a very special gastronomic lunch. After walking off some calories in this beautiful town, we return in the evening to Sarlat.
Overnight: Sarlat | Includes: (B), (D).

Day 7.
This morning we drive to our next destination, Rocamadour, an incredible ancient ecclesiastical village built into the side of a mountain, where we enjoy a guided city tour. In the 12th century Rocamadour became an important center of medieval Christianity, and since that time pilgrimages have been made here in hopes of miracles. We can visit the same chapel where King Henry Plantagenet came to pray for a miracle in the 1100s. After lunch and free time to explore, we have an optional visit to a duck farm, where we learn the ancient art of making foie gras (I promise it is not cruel to the ducks!). Our lovely inn for the next three nights is on a sheep farm just outside the village. Our wonderful friendly hosts, Christine and Eric, serve us a welcome aperitif before our first gourmet dinner in Rocamadour.
Overnight: Rocamadour | Includes: (B), (D).

Day 8.
Today is a fun adventure day. We take an exciting boat ride on an underground river at the famous Gouffre de Padirac. Our enchanting journey takes us through an underground canyon and lake, passing by striking views of stalactites, passageways, chambers, and a waterfall. Since 1898 speleological expeditions have uncovered more than 13 miles of underground galleries, the most beautiful of which our boat ride takes us by. After a gourmet French picnic complete with foie gras and French pastries, we continue to explore the Quercy Valley. We end our day relaxing by the poolside before a wonderful gourmet dinner.
Overnight: Rocamadour | Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 9.
If the weather is right we have the option of a spectacular balloon ride floating over the beautiful Quercy valley. We then take an excursion to visit two beautiful villages: Collonges-la-Rouge and Carennac. This evening we enjoy another gastronomic dinner that upholds this region’s reputation for culinary excellence.
Overnight: Rocamadour | Includes: (B), (D).

Day 10.
We leave the Dordogne Valley, stopping for lunch in Cahors, a lively town known for its local wines. We then visit the charming hilltop village of Saint-Cirq Lapopie, one of the most photogenic towns in France. Next we head into the Languedoc region, named for the ancient language once spoken here. Our hotel for the next three nights is a lovely inn in the center of the lively town of Albi.
Overnight: Albi | Includes: (B), (D).

Day 11.
Today we visit the ancient city of Toulouse. Dating from Roman times, Toulouse became a great center of learning in the Middle Ages, and its university today is second in size only to the University of Paris. Our guide shows us the most interesting sights in the old city and teaches us about the fighting among the powerful Counts of Toulouse, the Albigensians and the Cathars. After lunch we have free time to explore. Returning to Albi, we visit her magnificent cathedral be fore dinner.
Overnight: Albi | Includes: (B).

Day 12.
This morning we visit the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi, which contains the most complete permanent collection of the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi’s native son. Next we drive south to the fascinating walled village of Carcassonne. The “Cité” of Carcassonne is the largest fortress in Europe. Over the centuries the city walls with their 52 stone towers were built and rebuilt by the Gauls, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and Franks. Entering through a 13th-century gate you will feel transported back in time. We visit the castle, walk around the massive rampart walls, browse among the shops, and relax in one of the hundreds of sidewalk cafés. We return to Albi for our gourmet farewell dinner.
Overnight: Albi | Includes: (B), (D).

Day 13.
In the morning we drive to the Toulouse airport for the return flight home.
Meals: B

Airfare is included in the tour price.

Price Includes:

- Roundtrip airfare from Boston or New York (airfare price can be deducted)
- 12 nights in small, elegant accommodations of regional character, 3 or 4 star with lovely private baths
- 12 breakfasts, 10 dinners (most gastronomic), 2 special lunches
- Wine tasting class and all wine tastings
- Transportation in comfortable, air-conditioned minibus
- Visits to: Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion, Pauillac (Médoc wine region), Blaye, Les Eyzies, Sarlat, Beynac, Domme, Rocamadour, St. Cirq la Popie, Albi, Toulouse, and Carcassonne
- Guided tour of authentic prehistoric cave paintings as well as Lascaux II
- Boat ride on an underground lake in famous Gouffre de Padirac Cave
- Local guides in castles and medieval towns
- Optional balloon ride over Rocamadour Alzou Gorge
- All museum and monument entrance fees, tips, and taxes.

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