Experience Dordogne’s authentic provincial charms for a week in Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of France’s most beautiful and well-preserved medieval villages. Stay in the family-owned Plaza Madeleine Hôtel, formerly a grand 19th-century townhouse. Discover the region’s charming villages, medieval castles and prehistoric treasures through specially arranged excursions and Cultural Enrichments, including the medieval pilgrimage site of Rocamadour and the fascinating prehistoric cave paintings of Rouffignac and Cap-Blanc, all UNESCO World Heritage sites. Enjoy the perfectly reproduced cave art at Lascaux and the exclusive Village Life® Forum with local residents who will share insights into daily life. Bordeaux Pre-Program and Albi/Toulouse Post-Program Options.
Day 1 Depart the U.S. or Canada
Day 2 Bordeaux, France/Sarlat-la-Canéda— Arrive in Bordeaux and transfer to Sarlat‑la‑Canéda. Check into the Plaza Madeleine Hôtel.
Day 3 Sarlat-la-Canéda—Your charming “village home” is in the pre–French Revolution capital of Périgord Noir. It is a bon vivant’s dream—with close proximity to Bordeaux. Stroll through cobblestone streets illuminated by gas lamps and lined with Renaissance‑style stone houses. The cultural heart of Sarlat is the Place de la Liberté.
Day 4 Rocamadour/Souillac—The UNESCO World Heritage‑designated village of Rocamadour has one of the most dramatic settings of any village in the world. During the Middle Ages, pilgrims flocked here from across Europe to perform penance by ascending the 216 steps of Le Grand Escalier on their knees—seeking miracles from the sacred 12th‑century statue of the Black Virgin and Child at the crypt of Saint Amadour. Embedded in the cliff above the doorway to the Chapelle de Notre Dame is a sword said to be that of the heroic knight Roland. Nearby, visit the quaint town of Souillac and its 12th‑century Abbaye Sainte‑Marie.
Day 5 Eyrignac Gardens/Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil/L’Abri du Cap-Blanc—The Eyrignac Manor has been the continuous family residence of 22 generations spanning over 500 years. On this 17th-century estate located just outside of Sarlat, view what many consider the finest gardens in France. Enjoy a guided tour of the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies and see L’Abri du Cap‑Blanc’s UNESCO-designated prehistoric cave friezes. In Sarlat this evening, meet dordognais in the Village Life® forum.
Day 6 Lascaux/Saint-Amand-de-Coly—In 1940, a quartet of schoolboys stumbled onto the Lascaux cave, a repository of the most stunning works of prehistoric art and today a UNESCO World Heritage site. See a perfect reproduction in the International Center for Cave Art at Lascaux. Continue to the village of Saint-Amand-de-Coly, dominated by the 13th-century abbey church, and then sample regional cheese and wine in a specialty épicerie in Sarlat.
Day 7 Rouffignac/La Madeleine—Start your day at Sarlat’s market and attend a presentation in the hotel by a local expert on preserving the village’s medieval architecture. Visit Rouffignac, “Cave of a Hundred Mammoths,” and enjoy a private, 19th-century French folk music and dance performance after a three‑course dinner in La Madeleine.
Day 8 Beynac/Domme— Traverse an elaborate series of stone walls, parapet walks, watchtowers and passageways at the fortified Château de Beynac. Cruise the Dordogne River aboard a private 19th-century gabare, followed by a lunch in a local restaurant. Continue to visit Domme, an authentic medieval fortified village. Enter through its original ramparts and see graffiti etched by the Knights Templar on the inner village walls.
Day 9 Sarlat-la-Canéda/Bordeaux/Return to the U.S.