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Southwest France: Bordeaux and the Perigord

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Road Scholar
Program #14253RJ
16 Days | 15 Nights
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Mary Anne from Naperville, IL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/16/14 - 10/31/14
This program included experiential activities such as a short walk in the Pyrenees National Park, a visit to a sheep farm, a search for the special truffle mushrooms, a ride on the new Bordeaux tram, wonderfully explained tours of ancient cave paintings, a visit to Lourdes that touched non-Christians in our group, a visit to a Basque home and visits to seaside resort areas. We also tasted wines, cheese, chocolate and local brandy. Add to that all the information we were given about the history of the region and the local food specialties we were served and you have a wonderful program that should not be missed. Once you have seen Paris, come to southwest France!

Bentley from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/16/14 - 10/31/14
Southwest France: Great tour. Interesting variety. If you need a break, skip trip to Carcassonne. Do not miss day in the Pyrenees or visit to Lascaux II. October 2014 was a great time to visit. We had perfect weather and few crowds.

Ron from Lebanon, IL Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 09/18/14 - 10/03/14
This program is just outstanding. Our tour leader was excellent and took care of all our needs. She treated us like we were her own "Mom & Dad". The hotels were acceptable and all were *** or **** rated. The food was excellent and all meals were enjoyed by everyone in our group. The field trips were extremely interesting and different from other trips we have been on. Our small group were very friendly and we all had a good time. The wine flowed and we were happy. The only small issue was we thought baggage portage to and from our room was included. This was not the case (probably our fault for not checking before hand). It was a challenge in some of the very small elevators and was time consuming at check-in and checkout. We would recommend this trip to anyone. It was truly great and Sandrine (our tour leader) was just perfect. Well worth the &&&&. SO get off the couch and book yourself on this program (smile).

James William from Cleveland, OH Number of programs attended: 20
Date attended: 09/18/14 - 10/03/14
After enjoying over 20 Road Scholar programs throughout the USA we decided to participate in a program abroad. We chose Southwest France and the Perigord. This was a wonderful program and exceeded all our expectations. So many opportunities to see and do things we could never have done on our own. Thank you, Road Scholar.

Carol from PA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/05/14 - 06/20/14
This is an extremely interesting and diverse trip visiting Cro-Magnon to modern sites as well as large cities and Pyrenean wilds. It is a demanding trip and not for the faint of heart or slow of foot. You will be on the move and on your feet for hours at a time, so be warned. I especially enjoyed the medieval sites and architecture of which there was plenty. There is limited free time on this trip so much is covered. My only complaint was the extended lunches, while they were delicious it really ate into a day to spend 2+ hours eating lunch! This lead to us being late and getting short changed at the end of the day as sites were closed or churches were in use for services. Very nice hotels, excellent meals, interesting stops. Truly a great experience and recommended if you can handle the physical demands.

J. Peter from Scotia, NY Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 06/05/14 - 06/20/14
This was an outstanding program which provided us with many views of SW France. It is very challenging physically. The days are long and filled with activities, but well worth the effort. You see it all- from pre-historic times to the present, from the urban to the rural, and get to taste many of the specialties of each of the regions visited. Of special note were the visits with the sheep farmer/cheese maker, the chef who did the cooking demonstration, and the truffle farmer. They were all genuine, once in a lifetime experiences.

Anita from San Francisco, CA Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 09/05/13 - 09/20/13
This was an amazing trip. From the beautiful countryside to the medieval cities. You could see the hundreds of years of history by visiting the medieval cities, churches and castles. You see people still working the land and tending the flocks. The history lessons gave meaning and depth to the sites we were seeing. The food was outstanding, one of my fellow travelers had taken a culinary trip of Italy and they said the food we had on this trip surpassed their Italy culinary tour. This is a fast paced tour with beautiful scenery, great food and history of a beautiful region in France. I was very impressed!

Joyce from Westerly, RI Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 09/05/13 - 09/20/13
Think carefully about this trip. If you love food and sitting at lunch and dinner for long spells (2-2/12 hours with wine) constrasted with short sightseeing trips in between than you will enjoy this trip. Unfortunately, to spend only 1 hour with only 10 minutes free time at Lourdes and then sit for 2 1/2 hours at lunch and this type of time planning was repeated several times was unacceptable for me. We could have had lunch on our own and chosen what we wanted to do with our time. But this trip did provided a good overview of all of the regions of the area which it covered. There were time fillers which were unacceptable like a second goat farm visit and the floor of the farm was completely covered with flies and was very dirty and we had already visited a goat farm. I think that the trip needs revising but on the whole with some modifications a trip like this would be better enjoyed.

Kay from Columbia, MD Number of programs attended: 21
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/24/13
Wine, memorable meals, and incredibly picturesque villages. Castles perched atop sheer cliffs. Hundred-year-old chestnut trees in blossom. Who could ask for more? This trip has an enviable combination of history (not to mention prehistory) and culinary delights. Far from Paris, this part of France is warm and welcoming. From the goat farm in Basque Country to the winery at St. Emilion, the people we encountered were charming. The food and wine were the best we've ever had on a Road Scholar trip (this was our 21st), which was appropriate, since the Dordogne Valley is France's agricultural heartland. Southwest France is a photographer's paradise--thank God for digital cameras, which most of us were constantly recharging due to the irresistible sights on this tour. Our Group Leader, Sandrine Boue, was delightful and considerate. My only caveat is that the tour is more strenuous than advertised. Many of the hills are very steep, and some of the cobblestones are rough and sharp. Handrails are few and far between. If you have knee problems or balance issues, this tour might not be a good idea. There were several days when the total miles walked (according to one participant's pedometer) exceeded 5 miles, but I'm hoping the program officials can adjust that. I think they were just determined to have us see EVERYTHING in their beloved part of France.

Paul from Columbia, MD Number of programs attended: 21
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/24/13
I really enjoyed this trip. We started at Bordeaux learning about the wine trade and then had a wine tasting and lunch at Chateau Haut Sarpe with a hilarious Frenchman who claimed to be Bond, James Bond. Moving south other cities like Bayonne and Pau had their charm and historic buildings. In the Basque country the snow-capped Pyrenees overlooked prosperous villages and farms. We visited a herd of 240 goats, where some participants held their nose in the immense barn. The goat cheese, however, was excellent. We followed the pilgrim trail leading to St James Compostella for a few minutes but shared it with modern day pilgrims heading south. Lascaux II cave was a bit disappointing because it is only 3 small crowded rooms, while the electric train in Rouffignac cave was more interesting than expected. The Dordogne valley had great scenic views of the river and villages while vistas from the fortified towns on the cliffs above the river were amazing. Our guide, Sandrine, was wonderful, enthusiastic, considerate and good natured to put up with our ribbing about her English pronunciation. I highly recommend this trip, but you should be aware there are many cobblestone streets and varied terrain. There are also a few very long days and considerable walking (4-6 miles by a participant's pedometer). Hotels are in good locations and food was generally good and generous (read too much) with a few spectacular meals.

Esta from Philadelphia, PA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 05/09/13 - 05/24/13
Wonderful, fast-paced adventure. Very varied and interesting sites accompanied by excellent food and wine.

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"In the heart of Basque country, we stopped here for a marverlous lunch." Uploaded By: Kay
"In the heart of Basque country, we stopped here for a marverlous lunch." Uploaded By: Kay

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
14 nights of accommodations
35 meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 8 dinners
10 Expert-led lectures
26 Field trips
5 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances


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