Walking and Cycling Holidays in France

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Dordogne & Vezere Valley Walk

Location: Dordogne & Vezere, France.
Holiday type: Self Guided Walking, Inn to Inn
Activity level: Mainly moderate occasional short steep climbs
Duration: 8 days (7 nights)
Hotels: 2 to 3 * Accommodation. 4 of the 5 hotels with pool.
Meals: 7 breakfasts and 5 evening meals included
Prices from: £790
Highlights: 3 Plus Beaux Villages de France. Jardins de Marqueyssac.

The walk starts from Les Eyzies–de-Tayac on the banks of the Vezere river. The beautiful area surrounding this village is incredibly rich in prehistoric dwellings and caves with wall paintings and engravings as well as the site of the National Museum of Prehistory. There is so much to see we have included a day here to enable you to investigate the various sites where Cro-Magnon man lived 15,000 years ago.

The walks will take you through mediaeval villages, past towering limestone cliffs, on quiet tracks through woods and along river banks. Climbing to visit the fortified strongholds of Beynac and Castelnaud and the ’bastide’ village Domme. The tour ends in Sarlat-le-Caneda, this beautifully preserved mediaeval town where you’ll feel like a time traveller as you wander through the twisting streets and passages.

Day 1: Arrival in Les Eyzies

Arrive in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac where your hotel has it’s welcoming swimming pool. The village nestles under the overhanging limestone cliffs, one of which is crowned with a statue of a caveman indicating where Stone Age man inhabited it’s caves. The village is on the banks of the Vezere river and is home to the National Museum of Prehistory. Dinner included.

Hotel Cromagnon website.

Day 2: At Les Eyzies - 11.9km/7.4 miles

An easy circular walk today with some lovely views of the cliffs and grottos above the Vezere river. It’s worth making a short detour to visit the Grotte de Cirq (also known as the Grotte de Soucier) which is in a quaint setting by a little house built into the rock. This can also be combined with a visit to the National Museum of Prehistory. Today you choose to dine in one of the many restaurants in town. B & B

Day 3: Les Eyzies to Boyer - 18km/11.2 miles

After leaving Les Eyzies the walk passes through woodland and valleys to the Chateau de Commarque, sited on a rocky outcrop in the Beaune valley. It was hidden beneath undergrowth for centuries until being discovered in the 20c and has since been undergoing a major restoration programme. You can climb to the top of the tower for amazing views. Swimming pool at tonights hotel. Dinner included.

Domaine de la Rhonie website.

Day 4: Boyer to Beynac 18km/11.2 miles

Lovely undulating walk through shaded woods and fields to arrive at the impressive 11c Chateau de Beynac perched high on a crag above the river and overlooking the feudal village. Beynac is a perfectly preserved medieval village (one of the 157 ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’) with the Dordogne river at it’s doorstep. Your accommodation tonight in the hamlet of St Vincent de Cosse is the stunning Chateau Monrecours with it’s welcoming swimming pool. Dinner included.

Domaine de Monrecour website.

Day 5: Beynac to Vitrac 17km/10.5 miles

Today’s walk visits the stunning overhanging gardens at the Jardins de Marqueyssac, www.marqueyssac.com The walk then crosses over the Dordogne river to visit the 13c Chateau de Castelnaud, originally built to face it’s rival at Beynac. Castelnaud houses a fine collection of mediaeval war machines. After a pleasant walk you arrive in the hilltop fortified village of Domme (another ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’) with it’s own mint where the villagers were paid with leather money. A further few kilometres brings you to Vitrac. Swimming pool. Dinner included.

Hotel Plaisance website.

Day 6: Vitrac to Sarlat 19.5km/12 miles

Today you’ll pass the privately owned ‘Chateau de Montfort’ placed high on a rocky ledge overhanging the village of Montfort. Said to be destroyed and rebuilt four times, Chateau Montfort has had a turbulent history, and undergone a great deal of change during its 800 years existence. The trail then goes through fields and woodlands to arrive in the mediaeval city of Sarlat with its ancient facades now protected by law. Dinner included.

Hotel La Couleuvrine website.

Day 7: Optional Circular Walk 6km/3.7 miles

Today you can discover Sarlat, every Wednesday & Saturday the produce market is held in the centre and Saturday also hosts the largest market in the region. The glass lift with panoramic views, housed within Sainte-Marie's bell tower offers a unique experience. Watch the world pass by as you sit in a street café. Today you choose to dine in one of the many restaurants in the city. B & B.

Day 8 The tour ends after breakfast:


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