Current as of: May 25, 2024 - 14:16

Dordogne River Walk

Dordogne River Walk Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays
  • Destination: France
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 9 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 9 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 18+
  • Trip Code: W08DO

Trip Overview

This walking holiday explores the limestone cliffs, wooded valleys and beautiful medieval villages that are so unique to France’s Dordogne region.

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
  • Continental breakfasts and 5 evening meals
  • Route notes and maps provided 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

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
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
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 local agent 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 agent 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

Itinerary

W08DO map 22

Land Only

  • Start City: Rocamadour
  • End City: Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse

Flight Inclusive

  • Start City: London
  • End City: London

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Rocamadour

Arrive in Rocamadour, home to one of France’s most venerated sites and a place of pilgrimage for thousands of years. Your hotel – with private pool – is nestled in parkland and is a haven of tranquillity. You stay at Hotel Les Esclargies (breakfast included)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 2
Rocamadour to Meyronne

Before leaving Rocamadour, explore this UNESCO village that clings prettily to the cliffside. Discover its ancient chapels and medieval sanctuary, then set off for Meyronne via the Grottes de Lacave. Stay the night in a beautifully converted 11th century chateau hotel. (Staying at Hotel de la Terrasse)

Distance covered: 6mi (10km)

Activity hours: 3

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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)

Distance covered: 12mi (19km)

Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast

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

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)

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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)

Distance covered: 12mi (19km)

Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9
Leave Saint-Vincent-De-Cosse

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hotels

Dordogne River Walk

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.

Single supplement from £ 442

Food & Drink

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.

Transport

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

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

Dordogne River Walk

Joining Instructions

Your trip normally starts at our hotel in Rocamadour 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.

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

Transfer Details

Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Souillac train station at 16:30 Mon-Thurs & Sat, 15:18 Fri and 18:34 Sun and back to Souillac train station at 10:30 Mon-Sat & 07:30 Sun.

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)

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

Visa

France

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter France. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/france
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/france
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

Vaccinations and Health

France

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

France's time zone: Europe/Paris (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

France's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and E (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Dordogne River Walk

Money

France's currency: Euros (EUR)

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 Travel

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… 

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When 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, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part 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. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances 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. 

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 our website for online bookings, 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.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three 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.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

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; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, 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.

Licensing

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 money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.