8 Day Bordeaux/Dordogne Tour

NEW 2024 Daily Itinerary

Day 1- Welcome to Bordeaux!

Welcome to magnificent Bordeaux! Known worldwide for its exceptional wines, Bordeaux is also one of the most popular cities for the French to call home thanks to its idyllic lifestyle and abundance of cafés, restaurants and more. This elegant city brims with glamorous 18th-century architecture gracefully spanning the Garonne river. Read our blog here to see why we love Bordeaux so much!

Your Bordeaux adventure will begin between 11am-4pm when we pick you up from either the Bordeaux airport or train station. We'll drive you to the lovely Chartrons neighborhood to check in to the 4* Hotel Vatel, your home for the next four nights. After unpacking and relaxing, we'll gather again for a memorable Welcome Dinner river cruise along the Garonne. As we float past Bordeaux's illuminated landmarks, you'll savor your first delicious French meal paired with regional wines.

Tip: If you have the option, we recommend arriving a 1-2 days early in Bordeaux in order to adjust to the time difference and counter any travel delays you might encounter. During our tour you will enjoy a walking tour of the city center, a Medoc wine masterclass at the Vin & Negoce museum, Les Bassins de Lumieres and a river cruise on the Garonne river. You will also have 3 free evenings in Bordeaux to explore restaurants and wine bars. With extra days before the tour you could visit the Cite du Vin museum, Medoc wineries, spend extra time shopping in Bordeaux, and more! Feel free to email us if you would like us to arrange an extra night at Hotel Vatel for you and send you a list of additional activities and sightseeing recommendations.

Pick up, Hotel Check in - Welcome Dinner River Cruise - 4* Hotel Vatel Bordeaux

Vatel Bordeaux Hotel
Bordeaux dinner cruise small group tour France

Day 2- Bordeaux City & Medoc Wine

Today you'll become intimately acquainted with magnificent Bordeaux on a walking tour of the city's landmarks and historical sites. We'll stroll the Garonne riverfront, learning about Bordeaux's Roman settlers and it's rise as a port town. You'll admire the stately Place de la Bourse, Porte Cailhau, Esplanade des Quinconces fountain, and bustling Rue Sainte-Catherine shopping street..

After a lunch break, we'll head to the Musee du Vin et du Negoce for a Médoc wine masterclass and tasting. We will discover the nuances of Médoc wines and explore this small but fascinating museum filled with artifacts chronicling Bordeaux's wine commerce history (This museum is not La Cite du Vin)

Tonight, enjoy your first free evening in glamorous Bordeaux and discover the city's vibrant restaurant scene. We will email you a Bordeaux guide with restaurant recommendations to try, or you can grab some treats from a local bakery for a light dinner or snack and relax in your comfortable hotel room.

Guided Tour Bordeaux, Medoc Masterclass & Wine Tasting - Free evening - 4* Hotel Vatel Bordeaux

Bordeaux most beautiful city of France
Wine tasting Bordeaux Small Group Tour
Bordeaux, One of the Most Elegant Cities in France

Day 3- St Emilion Medieval Village & Wine

This morning we'll take a short 45-minute drive to the picturesque village of Saint-Émilion for a walking tour of this medieval gem. Here you will wander cobblestone streets and soak in fascinating history, legends, and architecture like the 12th-century underground church - a highlight most visitors miss. The postcard-worthy scenery of vineyards and limestone buildings surrounding this countryside village will be sure to impress!

After a lunch in the scenic setting of St Emilion village, we'll visit a family-run winery to discover Saint-Émilion's famed wines - some of Bordeaux's most renowned and coveted reds. Tour the vines and old underground quarry cellars of this storied region, whose winemaking pedigree dates back to Roman times. Finish with a tasting of their delicious wines.

Later, we'll return to Bordeaux for a free evening. Stroll Bordeaux's streets under twilight or relax at a sidewalk café with a glass of Bordeaux. However you spend it, you'll sleep well after a day blending past and present in Saint-Émilion.

St Emilion: walking tour, lunch, family winery - Free Evening - 4* Hotel Vatel Bordeaux

bordeaux dordogne small group tour
Small Group Tour Dordogne Bordeaux Wine

Day 4- Art, Countryside, Food & Wine

Before we head back to the countryside, we will visit one of the city's most in-demand attractions: Les Bassins de Lumieres. Culturespaces is a company known for converting abandoned buildings into immersive light show art galleries. Bassin de Lumieres is their most interesting and largest one yet, as they converted an old German U-Boat base into an art center! The unique light show showcases art from the most famous artists in history and integrates music into the show for an unforgettable immersive experience.

Late morning we will then cross both the Garonne and the Dordogne river to reach a lovely boutique winery where we will have lunch together overlooking the endless vineyards of Bordeaux. A perfect time to relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside. After a delicious lunch carefully prepared just for us by the owner, we will get to visit her estate, listen to her life story and enjoy a wine tasting.

For our last activity of the day, get ready for a fun and convivial moment in the company of like-minded new friends on the tour! The wine-making adventure is on—get your hands dirty in the fascinating process of creating your own personal blend to take home at a local château (1/2 bottle).

Tonight is your final free evening in Bordeaux - make it memorable! Savor one last magical night at a Michelin-starred restaurant or cozy French bistro. The perfect finale to your Bordeaux experience.

Bassins de Lumieres, Winery Lunch,  - Free evening - 4* Hotel Vatel Bordeaux

Bassins de Lumieres Bordeaux
Wine country St Emilion

Day 5- Dordogne, Lascaux IV, Medieval Fortress

Your trip as a French local continues on this day as we depart for the breathtaking region of Dordogne where we will stay for the next 3 days. Nicknamed "the valley of 1,001 castles", this enchanted place carved by the Dordogne river is one of the most picturesque areas of France.

Our first stop is the fascinating Lascaux IV museum containing an exact replica of the prehistoric cave paintings discovered here in 1940 by four local teenagers. This immersive exhibit lets you relive the wonder and excitement the four adventurous boys must have felt when they made the original discovery of the Lascaux cave and stumbled upon hundreds of 15,000 year old paintings.

After a quick lunch, we'll check into the beautiful 4-star Domaine de Monrecour in the annex building.

You will have some free time to enjoy the beautiful grounds and heated pools before we visit one of our two favorite selected castles for the tour - the majestic Beynac Castle. Perched on a limestone cliff, this 12th century fortress delivers awe-inspiring valley views. For the ultimate aerial perspective, you can opt for a hot air balloon ride over the castle and countryside instead of the guided tour. (extra cost, read about it here)

Whether you take to the skies or not, we'll gather in the village of Beynac for dinner at a local restaurant. Savor French cuisine and conviviality to celebrate your first day discovering the magic of Dordogne. You'll sleep well back at the hotel after soaking in centuries of history.

Check-out, Lascaux IV, Check-in, Beynac Castle - Group Dinner in Beynac, 4* Hotel Domaine Monrecour Annex Building

small group tour dordogne bordeaux
Small group tour Dordogne Bordeaux

Day 6- La Roque Gageac Cliff Village, Josephine Baker, Truffle Farm

Today after a short 10 minute drive we will reach La Roque Gageac, which is labeled as "one of the most beautiful villages of France". You will have some free time to wander around and explore this picture perfect village by the Dordogne river, gaze up at the limestone cliff, and see remnants of a troglodyte fortress above the town.

After lunch together in the village we will hop in the vans and drive another 10 minutes to our second favorite castle in Dordogne: Château des Milandes. Built around 1489 by a Caumont Lord in the Renaissance style to impress his wife, this fairytale castle continues to impress with its timeless looks and most gorgeous gardens. It housed the Caumont family until the French Revolution, after which it eventually became the home of the famous American-born French entertainer and activist Josephine Baker who lived an interesting life and even was a member of La Resistance in WW2! The castle is certainly worth a visit for its rich history and beautiful gardens.

Next, since Dordogne is known for its gastronomic culture and being the foie gras, duck, and truffle capital of France, it only makes sense that we would take you to a truffle farm! We will meet with one of the employees of this local truffle farm and walk amongst the trees while they share their passion and knowledge of cultivating and locating these delicacies with beloved dog Noxo. We will finish this special encounter with a tasting of their homemade truffle butter.

After some free time, we'll gather for dinner back at our hotel restaurant for some gourmet French cuisine. Tomorrow brings more magic, but for now, relax and toast an unforgettable day of discovering.

La Roque Gageac, Dordogne River, Chateau des Milandes, Truffle Farm - Group Dinner Hotel Restaurant, 4* Hotel Domaine Monrecour Annex Building

Small group tour Dordogne
Chateau Milandes Bordeaux Dordogne Tour
Truffle farm tour Dordogne

Day 7- On the Compostela Road & Down in the Gouffre de Padirac

Have you booked your tour yet? Hurry up and secure your spot so you don’t miss out on these next two sites! Today we are diving deep into a real, magnificent cave. Edouard Martel, a famous French cave explorer, discovered one of the largest chasms in Europe in 1899, the Gouffre de Padirac. The locals used to call it the "Devil's Hole" because of its size and depth. At the bottom of the sink hole is a spectacular cave system, full of wonderful natural structures carved out and created by millennia of water erosion. You will see underground pools, giant stalagmites, interesting rock formations, and even take a short boat ride on the underground river!

After our exploration, we will retrace the steps of centuries of countless pilgrims with a walking tour of Rocamadour, a medieval hillside village fit for a postcard. You will be amazed at the harmony of man’s creation and nature as the buildings and landscape complement each other perfectly. It is known for being a site of pilgrimage on the Santiago de Compostela Road. Inside a cathedral is a 12th century black statue of "Madonna", the virgin Mary, which according to legend has healing powers. The history and scenery of this beautiful little village makes it a must see in the area. You’ll have some free time to explore after your guided tour before heading back to your hotel.

Tonight is a free evening. Unwind on our hotel's lovely grounds, get dinner at the hotel restaurant, or take a taxi into charming Sarlat for a night out if you have the energy! We will stop at a bakery on our way back for the ones that don't wish to dine at the hotel restaurant

Rocamadour, Gouffre de Padirac - Free Evening, 4* Hotel Domaine Monrecour Annex building

Rocamadour Cliff village
Rooftops of Rocamadour
Padirac Chasm by Gerald Fauvelle https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gouffre-v-hdr.jpg https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

Day 8- Medieval Sarlat-la-Cadena, French Market, Farewell Dinner

On our last full day, we'll live out a dreamy French experience - visiting a local village market! The impossibly picturesque town of Sarlat-la-Canéda is the perfect backdrop. During a guided walking tour, you'll admire Sarlat's fascinating medieval architecture and streets lined with centuries-old buildings, while learning about the town's rich history. Because modern development has passed it by, Sarlat remains wonderfully preserved and transports visitors back to 14th-century France. We'll also explore the bustling market stalls filled with regional delicacies, fresh produce, artisans and more. You can pick some food at the market to make your own lunch or grab a quiche or pastry at the bakery.

After checking off “French market day” from the bucket list, we'll bid adieu to idyllic Dordogne and drive to Bordeaux. Late afternoon you will check into the Sheraton Hotel at the airport where you'll have free time to refresh and relax before we gather one last time for our farewell dinner. Over a gourmet meal, we'll reminisce on our week of food, wine, history, culture and camaraderie. It's been a trip to remember!

The next morning, head home (or continue your adventures!) with hearts full of memories, already dreaming of your next visit. Au revoir for now, France!

Check-out, Sarlat-la-Cadena, French Market, Check-in - Farewell Dinner, Sheraton Hotel Bordeaux Airport

Sarlat-la-Caneda, one of the most beautiful villages of France
Sarlat Small Group Tour Dordogne Perigord France

Day 9- Departure

The time to say goodbye to beautiful Bordeaux and newfound friends. The hotel shuttle will take airport-departing guests to catch their flights home. For those leaving by train, we'll arrange transportation to the station.

We hope you've enjoyed experiencing France as a local thanks to our carefully crafted itinerary and intimate small group travel.  Wherever your next destination, may it be filled with more French joie de vivre. Safe travels and au revoir! Departure for your train or plane before noon.

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