Dordogne troglodyte villages and chateaux
Your private guide will pick you up from your hotel on the morning of your tour and introduce you to the basics of the region’s history on the way to your first stop, Domme. A 13th-century bastide (fortified town) typical of the region, Domme is set high above the Dordogne River and its lofty position and fortified walls successfully warded off enemies for centuries. Handsome stone and half-timbered buildings line the streets leading to the lively square and you’ll have some free time here to wander through the cobbled streets and take in the sweeping views from the terraced lookout points.
Once you’ve had some time to explore, you’ll continue west to the Château de Castelnaud. Known as ‘The English Castle’, 13th-century Castelnaud was held by the English during the Hundred Years War and sits high above the banks of the Dordogne. The castle has been fully restored and your private guide will take you on a tour of its interior as well as along the ramparts. You can also see reconstructions of siege engines and trebuchets in the grounds and get an idea of how the fight played out on what was the front line of medieval warfare.
After a break for lunch, you’ll travel on to the troglodyte village of La Roque-Gageac which is built into the caves along the Dordogne River. You’ll have time to explore the village, and your guide will take you to an exotic floral garden situated on the village’s highest levels, which gives you good views of the river. You’ll then board a traditional flat-bottomed gabarre, a boat typically used on the river to transport goods during the Middle Ages. These replica vessels seat approximately 20 people and you’ll join the small group for an hour-long trip along the river accompanied by commentary from a local guide.
Finally, you’ll rejoin your private vehicle and drive on to Château de Beynac which, like Château de Castelnaud, is strategically perched high on a hilltop overlooking the Dordogne Valley. This 12th-century chateau is the oldest in the region and is largely empty inside, so we suggest a tour of the exterior with your private guide to get a feel for its extensive history and impact on the region. To end the day, stroll down the steep, cobbled streets of this little town and take in the views or visit the shops selling regional produce, medieval souvenirs, local linens and handcrafts before returning with your guide to your hotel.
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