Headwater - Dordogne River Walk, Self Guided Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W08DO
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

Perigord is one of the largest and most picturesque areas in France. It is divided into two by the River Dordogne which founded the historic frontier between France and England during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). Along its banks you'll find over a thousand castles steeped in legend and history, and witness to centuries of conquests and conflict. Today the rich and varied culture of this land is still here for you to discover. You will meander along paths that follow the twists and turns of the valley and you will climb through fields and shaded woodland to hilltop towns and fortified strongholds with impressive views.

At a Glance

  • 8 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • 4 Days walking
  • Departs Every two days from 19 Apr '19 to 16 Oct '19
  • Continental breakfasts and all evening meals
  • Headwater wine service 
  • Route notes and maps provided 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Countries visited: France

Trip Highlights

  • Unspoilt scenery, woodland valleys, well-marked tranquil riverside paths
  • Pretty medieval villages; traditional Perigourdine markets, fairytale chateaux
  • La Roque Gageac, one of 'Les Plus Beaux Villages de France'
  • Wonderful river wildlife: heron, coypu,kites, kingfishers, buzzards and dragonflies
  • Friendly, family-run hotels, all with pools and good food

Is This Trip for You?

Classification: Self-Guided
Average daily distance: 16.5km/10.5 miles
No. of days walking: 4
Terrain and route: The suggested walking mainly follows Peaceful well-marked walks mainly through forests, sunflower fields and along riverside paths. Rolling hills, so no need for a head for heights.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. 

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Families
Self-guided walking holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you.

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
8

Child max age:

17

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Martel
End City:
Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Martel

    Arrive at your hotel in Martel, a picturesque town also known as 'la ville aux sept tours' or the town of seven towers. Your Hotel is a former convent school in 7000m2 of private gardens. (Staying at Le Relais Sainte-Anne)

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Martel to Meyronne

    Before leaving Martel, take time to enjoy its mediaeval streets, in particular the Palais de la Raymondie and the Place de la Halle. Martel is where the son of Henry II, (called Henry Court-Mantel for the new short cloak he made fashionable) died during the Hundred Years War; the house where he died is still visible today. Enjoy wonderful 360 degree views of the Dordogne Valley from the summit of Mont Mercou, before arriving at your 11th century chateau hotel. (Staying at Hotel de la Terrasse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 10 km / 7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3
  • Day 3

    At Meyronne

    You have lots of choices today. Either relax by the hotel pool or walk south of the river to Rocher Sainte-Marie and the Grottes de Lacave. If you prefer, head to the town of Rocamadour, home to the shrine of the Black Madonna and one of France's most venerated religious sites. Alternatively, travel by taxi to the Gouffre de Padirac, an enormous chasm where you descend into an underground cave system that you then explore by boat along the subterranean stream. (Staying at Hotel de la Terrasse)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Meyronne to Souillac

    Leave Meyronne following the rewarding path along the Roc de Monges with spectacular panoramic views along the river and buzzards and kites soaring overhead. Take the GR6 path through sleepy hamlets and lush farmland, rejoining the river at Chateau de la Treyne before continuing on to the atmospheric small town of Souillac. (Staying at La Vielle Auberge)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 19 km / 12 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 5

    At Souillac

    Wander around this delightful town or visit the Musee de l'Automate, which holds the largest collection of mechanical toys and dolls in France. Alternatively, walk to La Durantie for more stunning views along the Dordogne Valley. (Staying at La Vielle Auberge)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Souillac to Carsac

    Take a transfer to Roufillac then head along the south bank of the Dordogne River into the heart of the Perigord Nord. You can also take a short detour to visit Chateau de Fenelon en route to Carsac. (Staying at La Villa Romaine)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 7

    At Carsac

    Walk along the disused railway line that is now a 'voie verte' into Sarlat and explore this mediaeval town, the capital of the Perigord Noir. Wander the warren of old lanes and charming courtyards with their Renaissance facades and richly ornamented buildings, now protected by law. (Staying at La Villa Romaine)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Carsac to Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse

    Today's wonderful day of walking takes you along one of the historically interesting sections of the Dordogne River. Pass stone bories (dry stone huts) and small country hamlets as you walk between Chateau de Montfort, Vitrac port and La Roque-Gageac, with incredible views. With the fortifications of Castelnau just across the river from you, stroll into the incredible towering stronghold of Beynac with its quaint cobbled lanes, once besieged by Richard the Lionheart. Take a short but steep detour up to the Chateau de Beynac - perhaps enjoy a refreshing drink on a cafe terrace, with stunning views over the river) then continue through the serene countryside to your hotel. (Staying at the Domaine de Monrecour Chateau Hotel, Half Board)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 19 km / 12 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 9

    Leave Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will stay in characterful 3 & 4 star hotels throughout, including a grand country manor set in its own private parkland, two beautifully preserved chateaux and a traditional family-run auberge. All hotels have private swimming pools.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £400.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Continental breakfasts and all evening meals.

The Dordogne has a rich cuisine based on 'produits du terroir' (locally grown produce). A typical first course would be 'tourain', an onion and garlic soup cooked in a broth with duck or goose fat, and ladled over slices of country bread and cheese. Paté, often duck or goose, is equally popular, as is foie gras. Main course specialities also include duck and goose, often served in light cream sauces and, in the autumn, fresh cepes. Duck or goose fat is also used for the accompanying pommes de terre sarladaises - slices of potato sauteed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms. Traditional desserts include tarte aux noix, and flognarde, a type of flan with fruit and liqueur. A local cheese that is worth tasting is Bleu des Causses, similar to Roquefort, as well as Rocamadour goat's cheese. There are also some fantastic wines that come from the local area and a little further afield in Bordeaux that will accompany your meals perfectly.

Transportation

Your luggage is transported from hotel to hotel for you. Transfers will be in a taxi or minibus. On Day 6 there is a transfer to Roufillac.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Summers in the Dordogne are warm-hot with temperatures reaching 25-35 degrees Celcius. There may be occasional storms and showers, these are usually short but you should be prepared. Colder spells can also arrive and last a day or two. Temperatures in the early morning can still be quite mild, so it is a good idea to have an additional layer.

In spring and autumn the weather in the Dordogne is similar but milder, with temperatures around 22-28 degrees Celcius and with a greater chance of rain - especially in late spring.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Your trip normally starts at our hotel in Martel on the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flight Inclusive prices include our standard flights and transfers

British Airways Heathrow to Toulouse 07:40/10:30 then rail Toulouse to Souillac 14:28/16:30 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 13:25/15:18 Fri & 13:34/15:29 Sun and transfer to hotel 20 minutes. Return: Transfer to Souillac station 50 minutes/Brive station 90 minutes then rail Souillac to Toulouse 12:30/14:33 Mon-Fri & Sun & Brive to Toulouse 12:02/14:15 Sat then British Airways Toulouse to Heathrow 17:40/18:35 except Fridays when 19:50/20:45. Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Transfers included from Souillac train station at 16:30 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 15:18 Fri and 15:29 Sun and back to Souillac train station at 11:30 Mon-Fri & Sun and back to Brive at 10:20 Sat.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge)

Location start:
Martel
Location end:
Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Walking boots
  • Water bottle
  • Daypack
  • Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
  • Warm jumper
  • Waterproofs

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are strongly recommended
  • A small umbrella in case of unexpected showers
  • Swimming costume and towel for swimming pool at the hotel

Reading List

  • DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Dordogne, Bordeaux and the Southwest Coast
  • Tourist Guide Dordogne, Berry, Limousin Michelin Green Guide
  • The Rough Guide to the Dordogne and the Lot, 5th edition
  • A book, printed in English, written by Brian Spencer (pub. Bartholemew), covers various walks in the Dordogne, notably from Carennac, Souillac and St Sozy, and might be of interest to anyone spending more time here.

 

Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will only need money for lunches, snacks and drinks and any sites you wish to go to. Lunches can be inexpensive if you buy produce from local markets or shops and make up a picnic. However, if you stop at a café you can easily spend €15. We would recommend budgeting for €5-15 for lunches and allow an additional €10 a day for any extras.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.