Freewheeling France – DORDOGNE self-guided driving holiday.
Driving holidays for people who want to explore independently with the security of a planned itinerary. Tell us where you want to go, how long you’ve got, your must-see sights, preferred type of accommodation and leave the rest to us.
While all holidays are fully customised, some regions are requested frequently, such as DORDOGNE. Bordeaux is just over 3 hours from Paris by TGV, so it is a perfect starting point for discovering the special qualities of south-west France. The town itself deserves a couple of days to enjoy its many sights and restaurants, and we can organise visits by minibus to the famous vineyards for tours and tastings. Bordeaux is also a good starting point for the Basque region to the south and for the Charente Valley (Cognac) to the north.
Below is an itinerary that we have used as an outline for many clients. For some we have added the Lot Valley, often staying in the picturesque village of St Cirq Lapopie. For others we have extended the itinerary to Cordes-sur-Ciel and Albi, ending the holiday in Toulouse, or in Carcassonne. Both are lovely towns and very convenient for a barge cruise or rental boat holiday on the canals.
Day 1 – To Paris Montparnasse station for TGV to Bordeaux. Taxi or tram to your central 3 star hotel. Explore Bordeaux.
Day 2 – Morning free in Bordeaux, then a half day guided visit to the Margaux vineyards (or a full day exploration of the Medoc vineyards).
Day 3 –Taxi to the railway station to collect your rental car and drive to St Emilion for a central 3 star hotel with parking and swimming pool.
Day 4 – Explore St Emilion and environs, or an excursion through the Entre deux Mers vineyards to Sauternes and Barsac for Chateau de Malle. Overnight St Emilion.
Day 5 – Follow the Dordogne past Bergerac to Chateau Monbazillac (sweet muscat wines), then continue to Les Eyzies for a charming central 2 star hotel with a notable restaurant.
Day 6 – Excursion up the Vezere Valley to Montignac for Lascaux II (prehistoric cave paintings), then return to Les Eyzies, visiting en route Chateau de Losse, St Leon-sur-Vezere and La Roque St Christophe (wonderful troglodyte village).
Day 7 – Free morning in Les Eyzies to visit the Prehistory museum and the Grand Roc caves, then a short drive to Sarlat for a grand B&B on the edge of town.
Day 8 – Free morning for the market, then an afternoon excursion to a nut-oil mill, the formal gardens at Manoir d’Eyrignac and the rambling gardens at Cadiot.
Day 9 – Free morning, then an afternoon excursion to Beynac-et-Cazenac (cliff-top chateau), Marqueyssac (gardens & great views) and La Roque Gageac (pretty village with tropical garden and the option of a boat trip).
Day 10 – Full day excursion east to the cliff-clinging village of Rocamadour and the Gouffre de Padirac (underground river and caves).
Day 11 – North to Terrasson-la-Villedieu for its dramatic contemporary garden, L’Imaginaire, the restored old town and Bovetti’s chocolate museum. Then follow the river to Condat for a night in a chateau, which also has a good restaurant.
Day 12 – Early start for the autoroute to Libourne and return the car in time for the TGV back to Paris.
CONTACT US to discuss your Dordogne driving holiday.