Richard Hammond describes this 7-day self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday in the Dordogne through picturesque villages, changing landscapes and panoramic views, with excellent regional cuisine. This trip is reachable by train from the UK.
In a nutshell:
A self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday through the picturesque villages of the Dordogne, central France, such as Beaulieu, Loubressac and La Vaysse, with your luggage transported for you - from hotel to hotel - freeing you up to explore the region without having to carry your bags.
Price: £930 per person (not including train travel or transfers)
What's included: 6 nights at four selected hotels (two 2-star hotels; one 3-star hotel; one guesthouse); your luggage transported for you from hotel to hotel; route notes and maps; 7 dinners; 3 picnics; 7 breakfasts.
Departures: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Nearest station to start of trip: Brive (from where it's a 40-minute transfer drive to Beaulieu)
Nearest station to end of trip: Souillac (which is a 20-minute transfer drive from your final hotel in La Vaysse)
Optional extra: you can extend your stay to 12 nights walking along the Dordogne and Ouysse rivers in the footsteps of pilgrims to the town of Rocamadour (total price = £1,775).
What's the trip like:
The walk starts in the historic 9th century town of Beaulieu visiting some of the most beautiful mansions and half-timbered houses in France, such as Autoire, Loubressac and Carennac.
On Day 2 you can choose between a 9.5km ( 3 hours) or 12km (4 hours) walk from Beaulieu to Port de Gagnac where you'll spend the night at the lovely Auberge du Vieux Port overlooking the River Cère (it has an excellent restaurant). On Day 3 is a longer 18.5km (6 hours) walk to Loubressac where you stay for two nights at Relais de Castelnau in a wonderful position overlooking the château of Castelnau. On Day 4 you can choose to do a 9.5km (3.5 hour) circular walk from the hotel via Autoire or visit the incredible caves of the Gouffre de Padirac. On Day 5, choose between walking from Arennac to La Vaysse 18km (5.5 hours) or a longer option via Floirac (20km, 6.5hrs). The final day 6 is a 'free day' in La Vaysse where you can simply chill out by the swimming pool at Le Domaine de la Vaysse. If you're keen to spend some time at the river, you could hire canoes for a paddle from nearby Gluges (5km away). Alternatively, if you're still up for some more walking, you could do a wonderful circular walk to Martel where there's a lovely market (Wednesdays and Saturdays).
The routes are fairly leisurely and included in the itinerary is time for long picnics at the various viewpoints along the way, and time to really enjoy the evening dinners of the flavoursome regional cuisine – such as duck, truffles and wild mushrooms - Dordogne style!
How to travel by train to Brive
It's a fairly easy journey by train from London to Brive - take the Eurostar to Paris then change stations in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Austerlitz for the connecting train down to Brive. The total journey time from London to Brive is from 7 hours 28 minutes. The transfer in Paris can take 20-30 minutes on the Paris metro (9 stops), but we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer (see our guide to How to transfer between train stations across Paris). For more details on the train journey from London to Brive, including some suggestions for where to stay near the train stations if you want to break up the journey and spend more time in Paris, see our flight-free journey planner: Train from London to Brive.
How to enquire/book this holiday:
This holiday is provided by Inntravel, one of the founding tour operator members of Green Traveller. One of the great things about this holiday is its flexibility: you have a choice of start/end dates and you can add additional nights on to the itinerary. If you'd like to know more about this holiday, please see more details on the relevant page given below and if you'd like to book it, do contact them directly or complete their booking form and a member of their team will be in touch with you: