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Southwest France: Bordeaux and the Perigord

Program Number: 14253RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/16/2014 - 10/31/2014; 4/30/2015 - 5/13/2015; 5/28/2015 - 6/10/2015; 9/17/2015 - 9/30/2015; 10/8/2015 - 10/21/2015;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $4,095.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 30; 12 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Romans of the fourth century tilled the soils around Saint-Emilion and began growing grapes. Today, the region ranks among the world’s foremost red wine producers. From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, Southwest France resonates with the marvelous consequences of long-ago choices. Discover the Bordeaux wineries with Roman roots, Basque Country traditions and the living museum of Sarlat.




Highlights

• Explore the Dordogne Valley and the prehistoric cave paintings of Rouffignac and Lascaux II.
• Examine a complete retrospective of the works of Toulouse-Lautrec at the museum dedicated to him in Albi.
• Discover each region’s unique cultural, gastronomic and wine heritage in the Program, Basque Country and Bordeaux.



Activity Particulars

Extensive walking on uneven ground and cobblestones. Stairs sometimes without railings.




Date Specific Information

10-16-2014

Arrivals Bordeaux, 3 nights; coach to Bayonne, 3 nights; coach to Pau, 2 nights; coach to Toulouse, 2 nights; coach to Sarlat, 2 nights; coach to Bordeaux Airport, 1 night; departures. Please note this program title has been changed from Southwest France: Bordeaux, Basque Country and the Program to Southwest France: Bordeaux and the Program for 2015.
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4-30-2015, 5-28-2015, 9-17-2015, 10-8-2015

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Itinerary Summary

Arrivals Bordeaux, 4 nights; coach to Sarlat, 3 nights; coach to Rocamadour, 2 nights; coach to Toulouse, 3 nights; departures.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Bordeaux
4 nights

Established under the Romans, Bordeaux is renowned as a region of wines. Lectures and excursions center on this historic, multi-faceted trade. Led by an oenologist, learn about Bordeaux’s vineyards and wine economics during visits to local wineries for private tastings. Explore historic Bordeaux, the Musée d'Aquitaine and the small village of Saint Emilion.



Coach to Sarlat
3 nights

View the largest Paleolithic collection from prehistoric sites on a self-guided visit at the National Prehistory Museum of France. Experience the open air market in Sarlat. Explore the Dordogne valley and discover the Rouffignac cave on an electric train ride.



Coach to Rocamadour
2 nights

Explore Rocamadour, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites of medieval times. Discover Grouffre de Padirac, the medieval village of St. Céré and château de Montal.



Coach to Toulouse
3 nights
Departure

Learn about the region’s architectural splendors of the Middle Ages. Walk the historic streets of Toulouse to Saint-Sernin Basilica, the largest Romanesque church in Western Europe. Explore the medieval fortress of Carcassonne. Enjoy a visit to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi and sample cassoulet.






France

The epicurious and the curious find much to admire in Western Europe’s largest nation, whose agricultural riches and terrain of beaches, mountains and fertile fields have drawn residents for thousands of years. The northern region hosts the nation’s Parisian capital, as well as unique Breton culture, while the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast sports the chic beach-goers and the terraced vineyards of the interior.



Accommodations
Bordeaux: Centrally located hotel in an 18th-century building. Sarlat: Hotel with a beautiful garden and pool. Rocamadour: In the heart of the medieval city. Toulouse: Hotel in the heart of Toulouse.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona
  Bordeaux, France 4 nights
   Best Western Le Renoir
  Sarlat, France 3 nights
   Best Western
  Rocamadour, France 2 nights
   Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges Hotel
  Toulouse, France 3 nights
 Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Best Western Bordeaux Bayonne Etche-Ona is a charming boutique hotel, located in the very heart of Bordeaux. With its 18th century facades, this hotel has a unique configuration of two different locations within 40 meters away from each other, each providing you with exceptional living quarters, three conference rooms, a bar and lounge, and tramway access line B stop. The Grand Théatre is 50 meters away.
  Contact info: 15 cours de l'Intendance
Bordeaux,  33000 France
phone: +33 (0)5 56 48 00 88
web: http://www.bordeaux-hotel.com/
  Room amenities: An LCD TV and a minibar are in all of the rooms.
  Facility amenities: Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Newspapers, Elevator, Safe, Soundproof Rooms, Heating, Baggage Storage, All Spaces Non-Smoking (Public and Private), Air Conditioning, Room Service, Meeting/Banquet Facilities, Business Center, Laundry, Dry Cleaning, Ironing Service, Shoeshine, Fax/Photocopying, Concierge Service, Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and bookings.
  Check in time: 1:00 PM

 Best Western Le Renoir
Type: Hotel
  Description: Fully renovated and just a short walk to the medieval town.
  Contact info: 2 RUE SURGIER
Sarlat La Caneda,  24200 France
phone: +33 05 53 59 35 98
web: http://www.hotel-renoir-sarlat.com
  Room amenities: 36 bedrooms include a bathtub and shower, mini-bar, safe, satellite TV, and free WI-FI. Certain rooms have air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: Outdoor swimming pool.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western
Type: Hotel
  Description: TBA
  Contact info: TBA
Rocamadour,   France
phone: +TBA
  Room amenities: TBA
  Facility amenities: TBA
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located in the historic center of Toulouse, Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges is just 165 ft from Place Wilson. The Saint Georges is near the Capitole (City Hall) and next to Jean Jaurés Metro station, which allows access to all of Toulouse.
  Contact info: rue Saint Jérome
Toulouse,  31000 France
phone: +33 (0)5 62 27 79 79
web: http://www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-0370-mercure-toulouse-saint-georges/index.shtml
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, Data port in room, Free in-room mineral water, Telephone, Radio, Opening windows, Wi-Fi, Room service, Satellite/cable color TV, Manual temperature control, Work desk, Hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Newspapers, Non-smoking, Elevator, Safe, Heating, Baggage Storage, Air Conditioning, Room Service, Meeting/Banquet Facilities, Laundry, Dry Cleaning, Fax/Photocopying, Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins with orientation at 5:00 p.m. at the hotel in Bordeaux. You will be staying at Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast at the hotel in Toulouse. You will be staying at Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
n/a
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: High Speed trains from Paris Montparnasse Station to Bordeaux St. Jean station operate multiple times daily. Travel time is 3.25 - 3.75 hours and fare varies.
To Start of Program
  Location:  In flight
  Transportation to site: Independent travelers can get to the Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche-Ona by the Air France shuttle at the airport. Ticket price is 8 euros. Get off the shuttle at the Alles de Tourny stop by the Office du Tourisme/Place de la Comedie. The hotel is only 2 minutes walk from there. Taxis are also available from the airport and cost approximately 50 euros to get to the hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location: In flight
  Transportation from site: There will be a coach transfer to the airport.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures from the U.S.
(Thursday, May 28)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight to France.

Day 2: Arrival in Bordeaux
(Friday, May 29)

Note: The hotel is located in a narrow historic street, therefore the motorcoach drop off point is 300 feet from the hotel entrance. Luggage in and out of the hotel is handled by porters.



   
 Morning: Flight arrivals and group transfer from Bordeaux Mérignac Airport to the hotel in the heart of Bordeaux’s historic center.
 Afternoon: We will gather in our private meeting room in the early evening where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Bordeaux: History and the Wine Trade
(Saturday, May 30)

Note: Today's activities include walking up to two miles over the course of the day with frequent stops. There will also be public transportation use.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: There will be a lecture titled, "Introduction to Bordeaux". We will then take a field trip on foot through Bordeaux’s historic center, which will include Saint-André Cathedral, a UNESCO listed monument. Next, you will enjoy a tasting of canelé, the signature pastry of Bordeaux.
 Lunch: At the Wine Museum in the Chartrons District. Enjoy a wine tasting and lunch featuring local products.
 Afternoon: We will take a field trip to the Museum of Aquitaine, for a history overview of Bordeaux and its region.
 Dinner: On your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Bordeaux’s Wine Region: The Châteaux, Villages and Vineyards of Medoc
(Sunday, May 31)

Note: Today's activities include travel by motorcoach and walking up to two miles over the course of the day with frequent stops.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by private motorcoach to the Medoc and Saint-Emilion wine regions. There will be a lecture titled, “Bordeaux Wines: History and Economic Impact on the Region.” Next, we will have a wine tasting in a Medoc region château.
 Lunch: At a château.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring the vineyards of the Medoc.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: St. Emilion
(Monday, June 1)

Note: Today's activities include travel by motorcoach, as well as walking and standing on cobblestones and paved streets in the historic center of Bayonne for up to 1.5 hours over the course of the day.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will take a field trip to Saint-Emilion, to explore the underground cathedral, constructed deep into the limestone. Later, enjoy some free time in the village. We will then return to Bordeaux.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Bordeaux on your own.
 Dinner: On your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: The National Prehistory Museum / Arrival in Sarlat
(Tuesday, June 2)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart for Sarlat with an en-route discussion on the histroy of the Perigord.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: At the National Prehistory Museum of France, view the largest Paleolithic collection from prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley on a self-guided visit.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Le Renoir
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: The Dordogne Valley / Regional Gourmet Specialties / Medieval Bastides
(Wednesday, June 3)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Wednesday is market day in Sarlat. Take some leisure time to experience the open air market that occupies the town's main squares. We will then depart by coach to Vitrac, a charming village along the Dordogne River.
 Lunch: Enjoy the gourmet tastes of the Perigord through a cooking demonstration at a chef-owned restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue to Domme, a typical "bastide" from the 13th century and medieval village, overlooking the Dordogne valley. There will be an en-route lecture titled, "Introduction to Bastides." We will then proceed through the Dordogne valley to La Roque Gageac, a scenic town set in the cliffs dropping to the banks of the Dordogne River. Afterward, an excursion will take us to meet a truffle hunter and discover the secrets of truffles, a product famous in the Perigord region's gastronomy. Following a tasting of the "Black Diamond," we will return to Sarlat.
 Dinner: On your own.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Le Renoir
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Lascaux II / Prehistoric Art of the Perigord
(Thursday, June 4)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart to se the replica of the famous prehistoric cave, Lascaux II. There will be an en-route lecture titled, "Prehistoric Art in the Periogord." We will then continue to Les Eyzies, along the Vézère valley.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Discover the Rouffignac Cave, known as the "Cave of a Hundred Mammoths," on an electric train ride through the caverns and view the more than 250 animal figure etchings that are scattered in this underground maze made over 140 centuries ago.
 Dinner: At a restaurant.
 Evening: Take delight in a walking exploration of Sarlat at night, when the picturesque stone streets and buildings are illuminated.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Le Renoir
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Dordogne Valley and Rocamadour
(Friday, June 5)

Note: Rocamadour is built into the side of a cliff. Some stairs may be avoided by using the escalator. However, there are many steps throughout the village that are unavoidable. Most of the village is pedestrian only.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach from Sarlat for the Dordogne reigion where we will taste locally made cheese.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an excursion to Rocamadour, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites of medieval times. The charming village sits perched on the rugged face of a cliff rising 492 feet above the Alzou Canyon. Follow the path of pilgrims on the Great Stairway or stroll the narrow, pedestrian only streets. Later, enjoy free time in Rocamadour.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Best Western
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: Gouffre de Padirac / Medieval St. Céré / Château de Montal
(Saturday, June 6)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will take a field trip to Gouffre de Padirac and the medieval city of St. Céré.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Discover the château de Montal. We will then return to Rocamadour.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Best Western
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cave Painting of Pech Merle / Albi
(Sunday, June 7)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will take a field trip to Pech Merle and Albi.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Examine the complete retrospective of Toulouse-Lautrec's works at the museum dedicated to him in Albi.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Toulouse: Historic Capitol of the Languedoc and Occitania
(Monday, June 8)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a lecture titled, "Introduction to the Languedoc Region: Occitan People, Land, and Culture." We will then take a field trip on foot to the historic center of Toulouse where we will see Saint Semin Basilica, the largest Romanesque church in Western Europe and an UNESCO World Heritage site as well as the City Hall located within the "Capitole."
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will continue to the church and cloister of the Jacobins, forming one of the most complete group of monastic structures in France. Afterward, we will visit the 16th century Bernuy Mansion, whose octagonal staircase tower is the highest in the city.
 Dinner: Enjoy Toulouse-styled Cassoulet, a slow-cooked casserole containing meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck, and sometimes mutton) and white navy beans. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole - a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanted sides.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Carcassonne / Free Time in Toulouse
(Tuesday, June 9)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy an excursion to Carcassonne.
 Lunch: On your own in Carcassonne.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to explore or rest in Toulouse.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Toulouse Saint Georges Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Departures
(Wednesday, June 10)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Depart to Toulouse Airport for return flights. Avoid flights earlier than 8:30 a.m. if possible. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Traveller's History of France


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A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, Portrait of an Age


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Adventures on the Wine Route, A Wine Buyer's Tour of France


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Description: A delightful and warmly anecdotal book, highly recommended for anyone touring the wine regions of France. Lynch brings the domains and appellations of French wine to full-blown life, and his portraits of the grand personalities who make the wine are priceless.



Aquitaine Map 524


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Description: A regional map of the Aquitaine region from Arcachon south to Pamplona, including Bordeaux and Biarritz, at a scale of 1:200,000.



At Home in France


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Description: Subtitled "Tales of an American and Her House Abroad," this account of life in a small village in southwestern France is shot through with Barry's irony and New York outlook on life.



Bordeaux Wine Region Map


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Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages


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Description: This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.



Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings


Author: Amy Kelly


Description: A spirited, meticulously researched chronicle that recreates the life and world of Eleanor of Aquitaine in 12th-century Europe. A Harvard University Press Classic, first published in 1950.



Insight Guide Southwest France


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Lonely Planet French Phrasebook


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Midi Pyrenees Map 525


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Description: A nicely detailed (1:200,000), frequently updated regional map of the central Pyrenees, centered on Toulouse.



Paris to the Pyrenees, A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James


Author: David Downie


Description: As much a meditation on history and on what it means to be French as a traveler's account (though it has that too), David Downie's spirited book is haunted by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix (say that 10 times fast!) and the Gallo-Roman forbears of modern France. On ancient trails through the forests of the rugged Morvan, they continue across the celebrated wine country of Burgundy and the centuries-old Via Podiensis on the Way of Saint James.



The Basque History of the World


Author: Mark Kurlansky


Description: Popular author Mark Kurlansky offers an engaging portrait of the seven provinces of Basque Land, discussing everything from language to culinary heritage and seafaring traditions.



The Cave Painters


Author: Gregory Curtis


Description: In this tale of art, paleontology and discovery, Curtis introduces the masterworks of cave art in France and Spain, visiting Altamira, Lascaux, Les Trois-Freres, Cosquer, Chauvet and others.



The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France


Author: Ina Caro


Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.



Timeline


Author: Michael Crichton


Description: Crichton's blockbuster fantasy combines time travel and adventures in Medieval France. A fast-paced, remarkably well-researched introduction to 14th-century Dordogne and Perigord.



Wine and War, The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure


Author: Donald Kladstrup


Description: This thrilling account of how the vinters of France saved their crops -- and their bottles -- as the Nazis approached shows that to be French is not just to fight for your country but also for your wine. Kladtsrub, who writes for Wine Spectator, and his wife Peatie, the authors focus on the activities of five winemaking families in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.





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