8 Day Bordeaux/Dordogne Tour
Day 1- Welcome to France!
Bienvenue en France! We are delighted to meet you and begin to share and enjoy French culture together. The tour will start with pick up from the airport in Bordeaux. At 2pm we will depart the airport to drive to Château Fleur de Roques where you will begin to feel like you are experiencing the France of your dreams! This is the first hotel on our trip and it is a beautiful, renovated 16th century castle surrounded by vineyards, where we will relax before having our welcome dinner to formally meet everyone and get to know each other. The hotel boasts great facilities with an outdoor pool, free WiFi throughout the property, a garden with a terrace, a pool table room, and a restaurant set in the former kitchen of the castle. If several guests arrive much earlier than 2pm we will set up a 2nd pickup time so that you are not waiting in the airport for several hours to leave to go to the hotel.
Pick up from Bordeaux airport, Check-in 16th c. Chateau Hotel near St Emilion, Free time to Settle in - Welcome dinner - Hotel Château Fleur de Roques
Day 2- Winery, St Emilion, Michelin Restaurant
On our first real day of touring, we are starting off by taking a short drive to the heart of the famed wine appellation of St Emilion in the Bordeaux region. Here is where it all started as wines have been produced here dating back to Roman times, making it the oldest active wine appellation of Bordeaux. The first winery on our tour will be the Chateau de Candale. Along with its rich history and prestige, this winery is classified as a “Grand Cru” vineyard, which means it is of the highest quality. To get really excited about this special winery just visit this travel guide page: https://bordeauxtravelguide.com/chateau-de-candale-a-saint-emilion-gastronomic-escape/. To top off this visit, you will have lunch on site at the restaurant for a bistronomique meal in the dining room as you appreciate the beauty of the vineyards through the glass windows. After lunch we will return to the hotel to relax, go for a swim in the pool, or take a nap to get some extra recovery from your flight. In the late afternoon we will enjoy a walking tour of Saint-Emilion village, a medieval town picturesquely surrounded by thousands of hectares of vines, packed with history and classic French architecture. To finish our visit here, you will be treated to a dinner at a Michelin star restaurant! Do you believe that your French dreams are coming true yet?
Chateau de Candale Wine Tour, St Emilion Walking Tour & Free Time - Michelin Star Restaurant - Hotel Château Fleur de Roques
Day 3- Relaxing Day in Wine Country
After reading about a St Emilion vineyard and a Michelin star dinner you may be asking yourself can this tour get any better? Well keep reading for the next activities. Today you will visit a French market in the morning, and then head to the kitchen at Chateau Fage for an exclusive experience of seeing a master chef demonstrate the art of French cooking! They will talk about the techniques and principles of preparing food in the French style while personally making exquisite creations for your lunch. After your meal, you will learn more about wine making as you tour the vineyards on site and wash down your delicious meal with some fabulous wine at the tasting. Of course you came to Bordeaux for the wine, so we will then head back to our Chateau hotel to explore the vineyards and winemaking operation there and enjoy another great tasting before ending the day to give you some free time and allow you to have dinner on your own or with your new friends on the tour at the on site restaurant Table Margot.
Market, Cooking Show Chateau Fage, Chateau Fage Wine Tour, Chateau Fleur de Roque Wine Tour - Free Evening - Hotel Château Fleur de Roques
Day 4- Lascaux Cave & Medieval Fortress
Today begins the next chapter in your French adventure as we depart in the morning for the breathtaking region of Dordogne. Our first visit along the way is quite a moving experience that is something you can’t see anywhere else. In 1940, four teenagers stumbled onto a cave unlike any other containing hundreds of prehistoric paintings on the walls dating back at least 15,000 years near the village of Lascaux. Understandably the original cave is permanently closed to preserve the historic creations but a museum was opened for tourism complete with a replica cave that we will explore to see reproductions of all the art so that we can relive this striking discovery exactly how those adventurous teenagers did years ago and learn from the interactive exhibits. After taking in this amazing site, we will have lunch near Lascaux and then settle into our hotel at Domaine du Château de Monrecour with a little bit of free time. Like the last hotel, this one also has a pool for relaxation, 30 acres of grounds to explore for some fresh air, and other great facilities and restaurant on site. In the afternoon we will really take in the Dordogne region with one of its most breathtaking sites, Beynac Castle. Once occupied by the great King Richard Lionheart of England, it still dominates the town and marshlands from a limestone clifftop. If you really want an experience of a lifetime, you have the option to book a hot air balloon ride to observe the castle and picturesque valley from above for an extra charge. You will miss the visit of the castle itself and the history which is a great experience in its own but the choice is yours! Whether you choose the hot air balloon ride or the castle visit, we will all visit the town of Beynac where we will have a delicious French meal before heading back to the hotel for the night.
Check-out, Lascaux IV, Check-in, Free Time, Beynac's Castle & Village, Optional Hot Air Balloon ride - Dinner in Beynac, Domaine du Château de Monrecour
Day 5- Josephine Baker, Truffle Farm, La Roque Gageac
The French dream continues on this day with a visit to Chateau 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 panoramic view of the Dordogne valley. It housed the Caumont family until the French Revolution after which it eventually became the home of the famous French entertainer and activist Josephine Baker who lived an interesting life and even was a member of La Resistance in WW2. She owned the castle at one point and used the castle as a home for children in need and to promote harmony by accepting children of all religions and ethnicities. The castle is certainly worth a visit for its rich history and beauty. 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! You will meet the owner and walk amongst the trees while he shares his passion and knowledge of cultivating and locating these elusive and cherished delicacies with his beloved dog. We will finish this special encounter with a tasting of his products and have a drink in the bucolic setting. Last but not least, we will visit La Roque Gageac and enjoy some free time to explore the picture perfect village at the foot of a limestone cliff, walk along the riverside, and see remnants of a troglodyte fortress above the town.
Chateau des Milandes, Truffle Farm, Dordogne River & La Roque Gageac - Free Evening, Domaine du Château de Monrecour
Day 6- 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 millenia 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 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 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 and then we will stop dinner on our way back to the hotel.
Gouffre de Padirac, Rocamadour - Group Dinner, Domaine du Château de Monrecour
Day 7- Medieval Sarlat-la-Cadena, French Market, Bordeaux
Every true France-lover often dreams about spending a morning waking up and visiting a local market to see to collection of local goods, antiques, and delicacies, so that is exactly what we are doing today! After we check out of the hotel we will drive to the nearby medieval village of Sarlat-la-Cadena. Just by the name you know it is going to be a beautiful site and it is a perfect backdrop for the French scenery of a market day. We will do a walking tour to explore and learn the history of the town and spend some free time discovering the market and picking up some food there to make your own lunch. After checking this off the bucket list, we will continue to our final destination, the city of Bordeaux! Although the first thing that comes to mind in Bordeaux is the wine, the city is just as glamorous. It was once called “the Sleeping Beauty” due to pollution that covered the walls of the buildings there. It has since been cleaned up and now free to shine in all its glory. It is second only to Paris for having the most nationally protected buildings so you are going to see lots of the magnificent architecture that France is known for. You will have a free evening after checking into hotel in the fabulous Chartrons district to relax and get acquainted with the awakened beauty of the city.
Sarlat-la-Cadena, French Market, Bordeaux - Free evening, Hotel Vatel Bordeaux
Day 8- Bordeaux City, Wine & Dinner River Cruise
Today you will be formally acquainted with the city of Bordeaux as we will embark on a walking tour of the city and visit many of its famous landmarks and historical sites. We will walk alongside the Garonne River, hear about the Romans who settled here, learn how it became a flourishing town with its port, admire the fine buildings and city squares like the Place de la Bourse and the Porte Cailhau, stop at the fountain at the Esplanade des Quinconces, see the famous building of the Musee d’Aquitaine, shuffle through the bustling Rue Sainte-Catherine, and with so many things and places to see here the list goes on. We will take a break for lunch and then go for a final group wine tasting to wind down the day before returning to the hotel for a break. Lastly we will have a farewell dinner on a boat cruise where you will reflect on the memories of the past week spent together and bid your guides goodbye. Although the guided portion of the tour is over, you have the option to add on one more day in Bordeaux (see below) with self guided activities we have planned to keep you entertained before you return home or continue traveling without us.
Guided Tour Bordeaux, Wine Tasting - Boat Cruise Group Dinner, Hotel Vatel Bordeaux
Day 9- Departure
It is time to leave Bordeaux and return home with new friends, great memories, and plenty of stories! A private chauffeur will drop you off at the airport or train station in the morning. We hope we will have succeeded our mission of sharing our culture and region for the French trip of your dreams, full of good times and smiles, and that you will join us again on one of our other tours!
Departure for your train or plane before noon.
ADD-ON - Extra Day Bordeaux
Self-Guided Bordeaux: Art Show, Wine Museum, Extra Night Hotel Vatel, Breakfast ($360 for 2ppl sharing room or $310 solo traveler)
With so much to see and do in Bordeaux, staying an extra day in Bordeaux would be the perfect way to end your trip allowing you some free time to do and see what you please. We highly recommend a visit to the Bassin 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 integrate music into the show for an unforgettable experience. Being able to appreciate art, a symbol of light, in a former relic of war that symbolized darkness, makes this a very special, must visit site in Bordeaux. The other stop you should go to is La Cite du Vin, which is the best wine museum in the world. This museum brings wine to life with immersive experiences that explain the history, arts, techniques, types, and more! It is a unique and technologically advanced museum that shows and explains everything about wines in the past and present. This grand homage to the drink that France is famous for and the one of a kind experience you get here makes it a must see when visiting Bordeaux. A ticket to each of these sites is included in the price of the add on as well as an extra hotel night at Hotel Vatel and breakfast. We will also provide a list of other activities available in Bordeaux and restaurant recommendations to complete your dream trip of France and enjoy your last day here. Taxi ride from hotel to airport/train station not included. About 40 euros from downtown to BOD airport.
Bassin de Lumiere, Cite du Vin - Free Evening, Hotel Vatel Bordeaux