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Our Southern France Romance

Covering the areas of Nouvelle Aquataine and Occitaine With Bastide Towns, Perched Villages, Châteaus, Spectacular Countryside, Vineyards and many of the listed 'Most Beautiful Villages of France'.

April 1st - 16th, 2025

Our days will be spent traveling through the French countryside visiting Bastide Towns(meaning it was founded by the French in the 13th century, at a time when the English ruled much of this part of France.) Perched Villages, thus named as they are perched on a hillside and several of the villages on the list of 'the most beautiful villages of France'. We will also take in a few castles, a few churches and a few vineyards. Although this is just a small part of France we could only put so much into the itinerary and could not fit in everything that we wanted to see and do. Even so, we think we come up with a wonderful itinerary to give you the best of this region. Come join us on this amazing adventure!

Price includes 16 nights accommodation, all dinners, lunches listed in the itinerary and breakfast each morning, all activities, sightseeing and entrance fees as listed in itinerary, all taxes, fees and service charges. Guided minibus travel with with luggage handling.

 

$9995US per person.  1 Double and I Single Available!

$1495 single supplement.

$500 deposit to book your spot.

 

Day 1 - April 1st - We will meet at our accommodation at Bordeaux Airport this morning and then start our journey south along the Bay of Biscay with lovely seaside stops along the way. Our first stop is Arcachon on the Côte d'argent ('the silver coast'). Arcachon is known for its wonderfully maintained sandy beaches, town centre markets and its extensive number of grand villas built in the 1860's, and is the most complete 'belle epoque' town you will find anywhere in France. Arcachon has 4 major sections: The Summer Town (Ville d'été), along the northern coast and the most developed part of Arcachon, next to the beach and with a good array of restaurants, bars and shops. The Autumn Town (Ville d'Automne), to the east and around the marina and port areas of the town. The Winter Town (Ville d'Hiver), south of the summer town and the region to see hundreds of imposing villas from the end of the 19th century. The Spring Town (Ville de Printemps), the western part of Arcachon and closest to the lovely beaches such as Pereire to the west of the town centre. We will spend some time exploring before we head further south to the smallest seaside resort in the Landes de Gascogne forest, Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains. The town is not lacking in charm or assets with its artificial marine lake and its ocean beaches it is an ideal place to relax between maritime pleasure and splendid natural scenery. We will lunch here before making our way further south to Bayonne, a lovely city with an extensive historic centre, a beautiful cathedrals, and a lovely promenade along the river. The town is best taken in by a walk around the old town’s narrow streets and soak up the atmosphere. The shops are interesting and there is an abundance of nice looking restaurants, bars and cafes. The river frontage, the old town and the cathedral are the principal highlights of a visit. Dinner and Overnight near Biarritz. (B,L,D)

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Day 2 - The next few days will be spent exploring the lovely villages of the Pyrenees, but we will explore Biarritz this morning before we leave this area. Biarritz has lots of nice shops and is very pleasant to stroll around. The market halls are a centre of ativity and open every morning, and to the east of here you can see the Gare du Midi, once a train station and now a congress centre. Among the other places of interest you will come across are several museums, dedicated to such varied subjects as chocolate, asian art and the ocean. They say if you could only visit one village in the interior of the French Basque Country, it would have to be Espelette. Its picture-perfect streets are lined with traditional Basque houses, many of which feature Espelette’s number one export, the Piment d’Espelette (Espelette pepper). These drying peppers proudly dangle from lines that are attached to the facades of the houses, creating the symbol of the entire village. The village has many stores and boutiques selling not only the famous peppers but also many more local products such as chocolate and cheese. We will have lunch here before making our way further inland to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. It lies at the foot of an important pass through the Pyrenees between France to Spain (hence the name of the town, which means 'at the foot of the pass'). It became an important town because of its strategic position on the pilgrim route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, also known as the Way of St James.The old town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is really one old cobbled street, the rue de la Citadelle which runs downhill from the 15th century Porte St-Jacques to the Porte d'Espagne. A lovely old stone bridge crosses the River Nive and the view of the river and the old stone houses stretched along it is very picturesque. We then make our way to our accommodation at Lourdes to get settled. Dinner and Overnight Lourdes. (B,L,D)​

Day 3 - We will spend our day exploring more of the Pyrenees. Our first stop is a village in the heart of Pyrenees, Arreau. At the confluence of four rivers that flow down from the mountains, the town boasts a typical Pyrenean architecture. Stone houses with wooden balconies, lined with galleries and with slate roofs pierced with skylights to let the generous rays of sunlight filter through. Arreau is a small town, but has a pretty riverside setting and there are several historical buildings of interest, all surrounded by the steep wooded hills of the Pyrenees. Our next stop is Sarrancollin, the gateway to the stunning Aure valley and is an ancient medieval town with an unspoilt charm. Renowned for its marble production - examples of which can be admired in Versailles, the Petit Trianon or the chateaux of the Loire - the town is built around the old quarter and its half-timbered houses, whose distinctive galleries overlook the water. We next stop in Tarbes to find some lunch and then do some exploring. Tarbes is  the capital of the Hautes-Pyrenees department and the town markets itself as being the gateway to the Pyrenees. As Tarbes is known for its gardens, we will visit Massey Gardens which is a favourite of the locals and a haven of peace in the town centre! This wonderful 11-hectare garden was created by local of Tarbes, Placide Massey, steward for Queen Hortense of Holland and Director of the vegetable garden at the Château de Versailles. We will explore the wonderful variety of tree species, the cloister with 40 arches and historiated capitals, the majestic alleys, the water flowing through the entire park and the scent of a thousand flowers! Then we make our way back to Lourdes where you will have the rest of the afternoon and evening to expore on your own. Overnight Lourdes. (B,L)

Day 4 - Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges is one of the 'most beautiful villages of France', situated on a small hill about 30 miles  southeast of Tarbes in the Pyrenees. The village is in a lovely sleepy location, surrounded by the lush green valleys of the region and overlooked by the Pyrennean foothills. Built on the site of a Roman city, it was once a large town called Lugdunum Convenarum, where Pompeii ruled over 10,000 inhabitants. Things have changed slightly and the village now has about 250 inhabitants! We next stop in the wee village of Tourtouse for a picnic lunch. This peaceful location gives little clue to the history of Tourtouse: during the 13th century ownership and control was contested by the counts of Toulouse and Languedoc, and in the 16th century much of the village was destroyed during the Wars of Religion. The castle donjon dates from the 12th century, with the upper part added in the 14th century. The donjon is surrounded by a small garden area above the fortified walls, and there is a small 17th century church next to the tower. The town of Rieux-Volvestre, to the south-west of Toulouse, is a very scenic small town in a picturesque setting and with several buildings of interest to discover. The centre of the town is largely built in the small red bricks typical of the region round Toulouse, adding to its charm. There is a cemetery at the northern end of the bridge, in a position where a castle once stood, and also from this end of the 17th century bridge there are attractive views along the river Arize and the cathedral. The main cluster of buildings in the village is found at the other end of this bridge. In the town centre along Rue d'Auriac you will see the 15th century market hall, and a house in the same square built in the 17th century featuring several busts representing Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Poseidon, Saturn and Bacchus. We then make our way to our accommodation in Toulouse. Dinner and Overnight Toulouse. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - We will spend today in the city of Toulouse, located on the Garonne plain in the heart of southwest France, half way between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, is more important now than it has been for many centuries.  Since 2016, the fourth-largest city in France has become the capital of the second largest region of France, the new region of "Occitanie", which stretches  from the Rhone in the east to within 60 miles of the Atlantic coast in the west. Modern Occitania is similar in extent to the great County of Toulouse which,  from the 9th century until the end of the 13th, was an independent territory of southwest France. We will have a walking tour of Toulouse which encompasses the history and stories about the most famous of Toulouse’s landmarks. During the walk we will pause, wonder and enjoy the immense Place Capitôle and Toulouse’s stunning town hall; Basilique St-Sernin, a key stop on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. We will stroll along the scenic Garonne to see the private town houses built during Toulouse’s “Golden Age” all interspersed with good local stories and inside knowledge without which any walk would not be complete! After our tour we will stop for afternoon tea before you have the afternoon and evening free to explore more of the 'Pink City', thus named due to the colour of the predominant bricks that give Toulouse  a marked southern European feel and charm! Overnight Toulouse. (B,L)

 

​Day 6 - This morning we visit the Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne. Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation. We will have a tour where we enter through the main entrance, known as Porte Narbonnaise, to the medieval city and learn about the fortifications built by the Romans. We will also visit the museum inside the castle to learn about the Trencavel family that defended the Cathars during the Albigensian Crusade. We will walk along the top of the wall, crossing both medieval and Roman towers as you head towards the Gothic church and see the beautiful stained glass windows, built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Then we walk through the streets of the ancient religious quarter and learn about the inquisition in Carcassonne and Toulouse. We then visit Lagrasse, a picturesque village nestling at the heart of the Corbières. It is classed amongst the most beautiful in France and makes a lovely picture, with its old humpback bridge over the Orbieu, its medieval houses, the remains of ancient ramparts and its abbey overlooked by an imposing bell tower. It is also the perfect place to stop for lunch before visiting Minerve. Bordered to the south by the Canal du Midi and to the north by the Montagne Noire mountain range, the medieval town of Minerve nestles amid breathtaking scenery: the gorges carved into the limestone of the Causses are covered with vegetation, combined with human architectural feats such as the magnificent viaduct bridge giving access to the village. Then on to our accommodation to get settled in before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Narbonne. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - This morning we visit several of the villages that make up the Grands Causses Highlands. Just before reaching these villages we find nestled at the heart of the Causse du Larzac, the medieval village of La Couvertoirade which has retained a truly remarkable group of buildings from its Templar and Hospitaller past. The towers and wall-walk of the ramparts, fortified doors, Templar Castle from the late 12th century, fortress church from the 14th century, paved side streets dotted with typical stone houses, and old residences like the Scipione House and the Grailhe Mansion make La Couvertoirade a simply unmissable listed site! Next we visit Le Massegros, land of breeding and agriculture with its many farms mainly focused on sheep production. No less than 20 different cheeses are produced here. Ideally located at a stone's throw from the Tarn river Canyon and in the heart of the Causse de Sauveterre Highland Plateau make it a lovely place visit and to stop for a picnic lunch. After lunch we visit Le Recoux, an old village also located on the Causse de Sauveterre Plateau, in a relatively wooded area. It is surrounded by a “devèze” meadow where the sheep graze, which provide a large part of the milk for the Massegros dairy, the world’s largest sheep milk processing dairy. The village is made up of many Caussenard houses with picturesque charm, in an unspoiled natural setting. Our final stop is La Tieule, also perched on the Causse de Sauveterre Plateau. La Tieule has come back to life in recent times, thanks to its farm and its stables, lodges welcoming tourists and hikers passing through. La Tieule and its hamlets will charm you with their typical Caussenard architecture. These places made up of picturesque dry stone farms are less populated than before, but have become more accessible. As such, the village of La Tieule is a place with unparalleled tranquility. Then on to our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Estaing. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - This morning our first visit is Conques, famous for its Romanesque Abbey Church of St Foy, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Way of St James. It continues to be an important stopping-place for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, but Conques is also an unmissable destination for all lovers of architectural heritage. Even so, the Abbey built in the 11th and 12th centuries is a must visit just for the masterpiece of Romanesque art with its western door. This sculpted gem has a tympanum adorned with 124 figures illustrating the Last Judgment. The inside of the building is no les resplendant with contemporary stained glass windows, the work of the Aveyron artist Pierre Soulages. Another wonder to behold is the treasure of medieval goldsmithery, the undisputed centrepiece being the Majesty of St Foy, a reliquary statue from the 10th century made of yew wood covered in gold and silver panels! After a visit to the Abbey, we will explore the town before we move on to Figeac, City of Art and History and also a delightful medieval town. The picturesque narrow streets lined by mansions with carved facades and timber-framed stone residences will definitely delight you. If you want to take advantage of a beautiful panoramic view of the medieval town, follow the sign for the viewpoint situated near the Notre-Dame-du-Puy church. From there, the view of the roofs of the old town is splendid! Our final stop of the day in Najac, located at the entrance of the wild gorges of the Aveyron and looming on a headland overlooking the beautiful valley of the Aveyron.  The village is now ranked among the most beautiful villages in France and has with Villefranche-de-Rouergue, the prestigious label "Great Sites Midi-Pyrenees." There is an impressive fortress lookout placed 600 feet above the gorges of the Aveyron. From the top of the tower, the view is breathtaking. Then we make our way to our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - As we are about half way through the tour you will have the whole day to relax, regroup, explore and enjoy in any way you choose while here in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. From the top of a rock dominating the unspoiled landscapes of the Lot valley, the village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is among the most remarkable sites in France. An entirely listed village, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie also appears on the list of the Most Beautiful Villages of France.Fascinated by the charm of this place, as so many other artists and writers did, the poet André Breton chose to live there. This cliffside village is indeed particularly photogenic, with a harmonious group of beautiful stone houses with brown-tiled roofs and its fortified Gothic church, which stands on the edge of the high rock. Perfect for a stroll, the beautiful flower-filled narrow streets of the village are lined with craft workshops and art galleries. The historic heart is fully pedestrianized, allowing stroll through alleys, squares and cobbled streets. You will find many places for both lunch and dinner. Get rested up for the second half of the tour. Overnight Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. (B)

Day 10 - This morning we visit the important prehistoric site of Peche-Merle situated in Cabrerets in the peaceful Célé valley. This decorated cave was discovered in 1922 and opened to the public in 1926. It contains remarkable cave paintings in numerous concretions. It is in a magnificent place surrounded by stalactites, stalagmites and draperies so mcuh that you will be amazed by all these natural wonders and incredible series of prehistoric artworks, such as drawings, paintings and silhouette engravings of humans, horses, mammoths, bulls and bears. We will find s lovely place to stop for lunch and then this afternoon we spend at Rocamadour, sacred town and important pilgrimage site. The village of Rocamadour is perched on the side of a limestone cliff and towers majestically over the Alzou canyon, what a wild and unspoiled environment! Famous for its sanctuaries and more especially for its Black Virgin, Rocamadour attracts each year a large number of visitors and pilgrims. Moreover, the village of Rocamadour is the second most visited attraction in France after Mont-Saint-Michel! Having climbed 216 stairs of the main staircase leading to the church square, pilgrims and walkers discover the seven sanctuaries of Rocamadour, among which the Notre-Dame chapel, the Saint-Sauveur basilica and the Saint-Michel chapel. We then make our way to our accommodation to get checked in before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Sarlat-La-Caneda. (B,L,D)

Day 11 - This morning we visit Chateau de Beynac, sitting high above the Dordogne river, in the village of Beynac. One of the most impressive castles in the Dordogne region, a simple glance at the clifftop position is sufficient to understand the naturally defensive position occupied by the castle. Although the position was occupied even earlier, the castle we see today dates from the 12th century and is a very good example of medieval military architecture. Naturally defended by the cliffs to the south, the other sides of the castle are defended by double ramparts and a deep moat. In the 12th century, ownership of the castle passed briefly to Richard the Lionheart when the owner died without a natural heir, but the transition was shortlived since Richard the Lionheart also died soon after, as did Mercadier, his companion who was entrusted with the castle and the castle returned to the Beynacs. After a tour of the castle we visit the very attractive village Of Beynac which is spread along the northern bank of the river, and then continues up the hill to the chateau perched above. Beynac is listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France'. We next stop for lunch before another castle visit, Chateau de Castelnaud, a splendid castle at the confluence of the Dordogne river and the Céou river, between Domme and Beynac.The castle has magnificent views across the surrounding countryside, and to Castle Beynac standing across the Dordogne River. Castelnaud castle was built in the 12th century, and has the high drama history that you would expect. It's original owner supported the cathars and got chased away by the Albigensian crusade of Simon de Montfort. Later taking the side of the English during the Hundred Years War, the chateau was a useful base for harassing the neighbourhood and generally making life miserable in the region. At the end of the Hundred Years War the Caumont family repaired and added to the castle, adding large new living quarters but always keeping its defences a key priority. The Caumonts became Protestants and protected the castle during the wars of Religion in the 16th century. Captain Geoffroy, who was born at the castle, fought so ferociously that no one dared to attack Castelnaud. The owners though, ended up moving to the much more comfortable Chateau des Milandes just along the valley. After a tour of the castle we return home to Sarlat. Dinner and Overnight Sarlat-La-Caneda.​(B,L,D)

Day 12 - This morning we visit Domme, our favourite place in the Dordogne. The village is on the Dordogne river just a few miles south of Sarlat, and listed as one of several 'most beautiful villages of France' in the Dordogne department. It is a very attractive bastide town, founded in 1283 and situated in an exceptional hilltop location. The town is entered by a large fortified gate at the bottom of the main street: it is unusual for a bastide town to retain its fortifications as Domme has done. The huge towers either side of the entrance called La Porte des Tours once served as prisons and you can still see the religious symbols scratched like graffiti on the walls by the Templar prisoners during the 14th century. The position of Domme at the top of a fairly steep hill is a large part of why the village is so special. There are 180 degree views across the Dordogne river and surrounding countryside from the terraced belvedere area at the top of the village, from where you can also see other picturesque villages including Beynac and La Roque Gageac. Next we visit Marqueyssac Gardens for a tour of the gardens followed by lunch in the tearoom. Listed as a National Historical Monument, the romantic and picturesque Marqueyssac Gardens offer a 19th century stone-tiled castle and over 4 miles of shaded pathways lined with 150,000 hand-pruned boxwood, punctuated with belvederes, rockeries, waterfalls and greenery. After lunch we visit La Roque-Gageac, one of the 'most beautiful villages of France', is also just a few miles south of Sarlat and on the banks of the Dordogne River. La Roque-Gageac is the third most important site of France after Mont Saint-Michele and Rocamadour! Although only a small village, little more than a row of riverside houses squeezed between the Dordogne river to the front and sheltered below the overhanging cliffs behind, it is very picturesque and set in a magnificant location! Almost all the houses in the village are built in the traditional yellow stone of the Dordogne area and with stone roofs. The most imposing building here is the Chateau de la Malartrie, at the western end of La Roque-Gageac. Surprisingly it is also one of the most recent, having been built in the 19th century.Although most houses in La Roque-Gageac are along the river, in other places the medieval houses have found the space to spread up the hill a little, towards the troglodyte caves set in the cliffs above. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free in Sarlat. Overnight Sarlat-La-Caneda. (B,L)

Day 13 - This morning we make our way east to the Lot-et-Garonne department of southwestern France to visit more beautiful French villages. Our first stop is Monpanzier, listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages of France'. The origins of Monpazier date from the end of the 13th century when it was founded as a bastide town in 1284 by King Edward I of England. It is considered to be the most intact bastide town remaining in France today. Around the paved central square, with the original market hall on one side, Monpazier retains many ancient buildings and the original arcades around the edge of the square.The houses and arcades around the edge of the square (the sheltered pathways under the arches) are the highlight. More than 30 of the buildings in Monpazier are classified as 'national monuments', and there is little to spoil the impression that all is much as it has been for the last 700 years! Our next stop is in the quaint village of Villereal, founded in 1269 by Alphonse de Poitiers as a French Bastide Town, although the town was occupied by the English during most of the Hundred Years War. Although not on the official list it is well worth exploring with its large central square surrounded by medieval arcades and ancient houses, and a second square that contains the village church. The most unusual and interesting feature of Villereal is its 14th century market hall, with impressive carpentry work and an unusual half-timbered first floor - one of our favourite medieval market halls in France. The hall dominates the central square and markets are still held under the hall every Saturday morning, as they have been for the last 700 years. Around the edges of the square there are some very picturesque half-timbered houses and the stone town hall. There is also two popular cafes in the town centre, with plenty of outdoor seating where you can sit and watch the world passing by. Various other shops and cafes are also to be found here and in the surrounding streets. We then male our way to Monflanquin, listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages of France'. It is a French bastide town, founded by the French in the 13th century, at a time when the English ruled much of this part of France. The central square in Monflanquin, the Place des Arcadeshas beautifully preserved arcades around the edges and many other impressive buildings. Dinner and Overnight Monflanquin. (B,D)

Day 14 - This morning we make our way to the pretty village of Limeuil, officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France at the confluence of the two most important rivers in the region, the Dordogne and the Vézère. We will stroll along the river front, cross the road and pass through the old stone gateway into the historical old town. The village is still partly surrounded by its original fortified walls, and is a very lovely Dordogne village, with cobbled streets winding up the hill between honey-coloured houses with pretty little gardens. We next make our way to Château Feely near Saussignac, a village located in the east side of Bordeaux. Our experience includes a one-hour guided tour of the vineyard to understand in detail the organic and biodynamic viticulture and the local terroir. Afterwards, we will be introduced to 4 of their wines with food and wine pairings around a plate of organic and local cheeses, accompanied by a selection of organic and local breads, seasonal fruits and vegetables and organic chocolate, all in the form of a picnic. On the way home we stop in Eymet, founded 1270 by Alphonse of Poitiers, like many of the French bastide towns, as part of a defensive strategy against the English. Eymet is a very attractive and unspoiled town with a thriving central square, and a pretty location on the banks of the Dropt R6iver. As a transport link along the Dropt this enabled Eymet to flourish. We make one more stop at the wee village of Lauzun, one of several towns spread along the Dropt Valley. We then make our way back home before a dinner outing. Pretty houses, nicely paved streets edged with lots of plants and flowers and lots of interesting architectural details to see as you wander round the village make a visit to Lauzun a pleasant experience. Although very samll and not on any beautiful lists, it is a favourite place of ours. Dinner and Overnight Monflanquin. (B,L,D)

Day 15 - This morning our first stop today is the Latour Marliac Waterlilly Garden, a stunning waterlily garden and nursery that has been in operation since 1875. Joseph Bory Latour Marliac developed a method of crossing a white waterlily, that was the only hardy waterlily of the time, with tropical and wild waterlilies from elsewhere in the world and creating a range of hardy waterlilies in a wide range of colours. Claude Monet ordered a large number of colourful waterlilies from Latour Marliac and made these famous in his waterlily paintings. We will have a guided tour of the park where our guide will explain the history of the site, its past, present, and the link with Claude Monet, as well as how to grow water lilies and lotus. We then explore the nursery, gardens and museum before lunch on the veranda in the bamboo grove. We then make our way to another of the most beautiful villages of France, Pujols. We will enter the walled village through an archway called the Saint Nicholas. This stone arch brings you straight into the main square in Pujols, with the church to one side, a 19th century market hall, a bar and a couple of small galleries. We will enter the village through an archway called the Saint Nicholas. This stone arch brings you straight into the main square in Pujols, with the church to one side, a 19th century market hall, a bar and a couple of small galleries. You can follow the main street in either direction to enjoy looking at the ancient houses, often with hanging baskets of flowers, the small gardens and the views. Here on Rue Citadelle you can see several impressive houses from the 16th century. We then visit Penne d'Agenais, a small village on the River Lot and a very pretty place to visit and was once a stopping point on one of the pilgrim paths to Santiago de Compostella. The village consists of two parts, the historic village, entered through one of the medieval gateways that pass through the ramparts that still surround Penne d'Agenais, and a grassy area on the hill above the village where you can see the basilica and the remains of an ancient castle. Then back home where you can find dinner on your own. Overnight Monflanquin. (B,L)

Day 16 - This morning we start our journey to Borxeaux for our last night together. Our first stop is the village of Issigeac, in the southern part of the Dordogne department to the east of Eymeton a site occupied since the 6th century by a monastery. The Issigeac that we see today dates largely from the 13th-16th centuries. Firstly property of the Lords of Bergerac, then later the Bishops of Sarlat, the town had a tumultuous middle ages with a lot of damage during the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion. Issigeac lacks a central square, but is more a warren of medieval houses and streets with numerous half-timbered houses One particular highlight is the house 'Maison des Tetes' where 600 year old carved wooden heads adorn the outside of the building. Our next stop is Saint Emilion, known all around the world for its splendid wine but it is also one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the most famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants makes this the perfect stop for lunch. Next we make our way to Château Ambe for a Gourmet Wine and Chocolate Tour. Our guide will take us to the vineyard to discover or wine origins, then through the vinification room to have a clear presentation of all the different step for vinification and finally learn about ageing in the heart of the barrel cellar. After our tour we are ready for the tasting of three wines paired with three chocolates. We then make our way to our accommodation near Bordeaux Airport to get settled in before a Farewell Dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Bordeaux Airport. (B,D)

Day 17 - This morning we return you to the Bordeaux Airport for your journey home.

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