Walking in France's Dordogne and Loire Valleys
Enjoy an active walking tour amid France’s idyllic landscapes of the Dordogne and Loire valleys. See the towering cliffs of La Roque Gageac and discover the medieval town of Sarlat. Marvel at the painted Lascaux Caves. Enjoy local French wine and cuisine and Loire Valley gardens. Learn about the sparkling wines of the region.
Board independent flights to Bordeaux, France.
Arrive in Bordeaux and transfer to Sarlat. (~2 ½ hour drive.) Check in to our centrally located hotel and gather for introductions and a welcome dinner. Hotel Plaza Madeleine (D)
Join a local expert this morning as we start our exploration of Sarlat, capital of the Périgord Noir. Visit the farmers markets at Place de la Republique and sample local specialties. After lunch we start our hike, walking along the tracks of a former steam engine. See the castle of La Fillolie and the church of St. Amand de Coly. Enjoy a field lecture about the region of Perigord and medieval religious and Romanesque architecture. Return to our hotel for dinner.
Walking: Up to 7 miles / ~4.5 hours through towns and on trails
Hotel Plaza Madeleine (B,L,D)
Today our walk follows the Dordogne River until reaching Domme, a beautiful 13th-century fortified town built on a hill approximately 500 feet above the river. After a picnic lunch take an expert-led excursion to the "Royale Bastide" of Domme. Return to Sarlat for dinner at local restaurant.
Walking: Up to 9 miles/ ~5 hours through villages and on trails
Hotel Plaza Madeleine (B,L,D)
Transfer to Sergeac and walk to Saint Leon sur Vezere, an exquisite village by the river with a stone-roofed church and two chateaus from the 14th and 16th centuries. Learn about the Vezere Valley, classified as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon transfer to Peyzac and walk along the Vezere River, passing by La Roque St. Christophe and the prehistoric site of Le Moustier. We end in the hamlet of Lespinasse. Enjoy a free evening and dinner on your own in Sarlat.
Walking: Up to 6 miles / ~3 hours, through towns and on trails
Hotel Plaza Madeleine (B,L)
Enjoy a guided visit to see the reproduced prehistoric masterpiece. The Lascaux IV Cave, a replica of the Lascaux cave that was discovered in 1940, opened in December 2016 and enables visitors to get a feeling of the original cave with the help of new technology, keeping the original cave from damage. Our afternoon hike includes a visit to a small vineyard in St. Cyprien and a truffle hunting demonstration.
Walking: Up to 4 miles /~5 hours, city walking and trails
Hotel Plaza Madeleine (B,L,D)
Transfer to Beynac-et-Cazenac, a village built on a cliff edge on the north bank of the river. Explore the castle of Beynac with a local expert. Learn about the history and architecture of the Dordogne Valley. After lunch continue walking on to the village of La Roque-Gageac with its ochre-colored houses and its overhanging cliffs. Enjoy some free time in the village before we sail on the Dordogne River on a typical “gabarre” boat. Return to Sarlat for dinner and an evening on your own. Hotel Plaza Madeleine (B,L)
This morning we visit the Cave of Cougnac to see the prehistoric cave paintings dating back to the upper Paleolithic period. Depictions include deer, Megaloceros, ibex, and mammoths as well as various human figures, interpreted as wounded men, virtually identical to similar figures at Pech Merle Cave. Continue to Gourdon for lunch and then on to the village of Carlux. Visit the small medieval fortress here, then walk down through the lovely village of Rouffillac and along the river to Aillac.
Walking: Up to 6 miles /~3 hours in caves, villages and on trails
Hotel Plaza Madeleine (B,L,D)
Loire Valley Today we depart the Dordogne and spend the day driving north to the Loire Valley. Stop in the village of Buzancais for lunch. Arrive to our hotel in Tours in the late afternoon. Dinner at our hotel.
Walking: Up to 1 mile
Hotel Oceania L’Univers (B,L,D)
Transfer to Savonniere and walk along the river to Chateau de Villandry one of the last great chateaux built during the Renaissance. Enjoy an expert-led tour followed by a field lecture. After a picnic lunch transfer by coach to Chateau de Moncontour. Learn about the sparkling wines of the region during a wine tasting. Walk back along the Loire River to Tours and enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
Walking: Up to 8 miles /~3 hours on flat, smooth asphalt, along the river
Hotel Oceania L’Univers (B,L)
Chateau d’Amboise Travel to Chateau d’Amboise for a guided visit. After lunch on your own we continue to Civray de Touraine to begin our walk. Enjoy beautiful views over the Chateau Chenonceau, probably one of the most beautiful castles in the Loire Valley. After our hike we take a public train back to Tours. Tonight we gather for a celebratory farewell dinner.
Walking: Up to 5 miles /~2 hours, on roads and forest trails
Hotel Oceania L’Univers (B,D)
After breakfast at our hotel transfer to Paris (2 ½ hours) for flights home. (B)
Cost and Details
Land Cost: $5,995
Single Supplement: $900
Minimum 10, Maximum 20 (not including staff)
Tour leader, local guides, and guest speakers; activities as specified in the itinerary; transportation throughout; airport transfers on designated group dates and times; 10 nights accommodations as specified (or similar); 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches (including some bagged picnic lunches), 7 dinners; wine and beer with welcome and farewell events; Commonwealth Club representative with 13 or more participants; gratuities to local guides, drivers, and for all included group activities; pre-departure materials.
International airfare; gratuity to tour leader; visa and passport fees; meals not specified as included; optional outings and gratuities for those outings; alcoholic beverages beyond welcome and farewell events; travel insurance (recommended, information will be sent upon registration); items of a purely personal nature.
Participants must be in very good health and able to keep up with an active group of walkers. Walks are moderate with some strenuous segments and ascents. On average guests will walk 4-7 miles each day over 3-5 hours, broken up throughout the day. Our longest hike option is up to 9 miles. Walkers can opt for shorter hikes if they prefer. Some days there is only walking at site visits.
Travelers should be able to walk on gravel and dirt hiking trails, over uneven terrain and use stairs without handrails. Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required; ankle-high shoes are recommended. One does not have to participate in every activity, but the tour is geared towards the pace described above.
Terms and Conditions
The Commonwealth Club (CWC) has contracted European Walking Tours to organize this tour.
A $1,000 per person deposit, along with a completed and signed Reservation Form, will reserve a place for participants on this program. The balance of the trip is due 90 days prior to departure and must be paid by check.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.
Cancellation and Refund Policy:
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
• 91 or more days or more prior to departure: $350 per person
• 90-1 days to departure: 100% fare
Tour pricing is based on the number of participants. Tour can also be cancelled due to low enrollment. Neither CWC nor European Walking Tours accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased in conjunction with the tour.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance:
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance as coverage against a covered unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave trip while it is in progress. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed on the Travel Insurance Services website.
Participation in this program requires that you be in good health and able to walk several miles each day. The “What to Expect” outlines what is required. If you have any concerns see your doctor on the advisability of you joining this program. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.
Itinerary Changes & Trip Delay:
Itinerary is based on information available at the time of printing and is subject to change. We reserve the right to change a program’s dates, staff, itineraries, or accommodations as conditions warrant. If a trip must be delayed, or the itinerary changed, due to bad weather, road conditions, transportation delays, airline schedules, government intervention, sickness or other contingency for which CWC or European Walking Tours or its agents cannot make provision, the cost of delays or changes is not included.
Limitations of Liability:
In order to join the program, participants must complete a Participant Waiver provided by the CWC and agree to these terms: CWC and European Walking Tours its Owners, Agents, and Employees act only as the agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with this program (“other providers”), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. CWC and European Walking Tours shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider, and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. e participant waives any claim against CWC/ European Walking Tours for any such loss, damage, injury, or death. By registering for the trip, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CWC/ European Walking Tours shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket to or from the departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the traveler. Reasonable changes in the itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the passengers.
Registration Commonwealth Club of California CST: 2096889-40 T