14253
France
Southwest France: Bordeaux and the Perigord
Savor history as you enjoy oenologist-led lectures, gastronomic heritage, ancient villages and prehistoric cave paintings in the timeless regions of Southwest France.
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 14253RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
3,539
Flights start at
875
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14 days
13 nights
30 meals
12 B 11 L 7 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In flight
DAY
2
Arrive Bordeaux, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Bordeaux
D
Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona

Activity 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.

Afternoon: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to 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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Bordeaux, History & The Wine Trade
Bordeaux
B,L
Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles over the course of the day; standing for up to 2 hours at a time during visits; possible use of public transportation; when sampling wines during a tasting, participants have the option to swallow or spit.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will hear an expert lecture titled, "Introduction to Bordeaux", to gain a background on this renowned region. We will then head out on foot to discover Bordeaux’s historic center. One of the sights we will see is the Saint-André Cathedral, a UNESCO monument. Next, we will enjoy a tasting of cannelé, the signature pastry of Bordeaux.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we'll learn about the importance of the wine trade while enjoying a wine tasting and meal featuring local products.

Afternoon: We will go on a field trip to the Museum of Aquitaine for an overview of the history of the city of Bordeaux and the region.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
The Châteaux, Villages & Vineyards of Medoc
Bordeaux
B,L,D
Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 50 miles throughout the day (about 2 hours) with stops; walking up to 2 miles; standing for up to 2 hours during visits; when sampling wines during a tasting, participants have the option to swallow or spit.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by motorcoach to explore the Medoc wine region. We will learn about the area with a lecture titled, “Bordeaux Wines: History and Economic Impact on the Region.” We will then be able to try some of these wines firsthand at a château in the Medoc region.

Lunch: At a château in the Medoc Region.

Afternoon: We will continue to explore the vineyards of the Medoc region, and have the opportunity to taste more wine along the way.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
St. Emilion, Free time
Bordeaux
B,L
Hotel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 54 miles (about 1.5 hours); walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; when sampling wines during a tasting, participants have the option to swallow or spit.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Via motorcoach, we will head to Saint-Emilion, to discover the underground cathedral there, constructed deep into the limestone. We'll also have the chance to visit and taste the wine of a château in St. Emilion.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to explore Bordeaux on your own. The Group Leader would be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
The Rouffignac Cave, Sarlat
Sarlat
B,L,D
Best Western Le Renoir

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 126 miles (about 2 hours 40 minutes) with stops along the way; walking up to 2 miles on even and uneven ground; standing for up to 2 hours during visits; getting on/off a small electric train.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart via motorcoach for Sarlat with an en-route discussion on the history of the Perigord. We will make a stop along out way and discover the Cave of Rouffignac. We will explore this "Cave of a Hundred Mammoths" on an electric train ride through the caverns and view more than 250 animal figure etchings that are scattered around this underground maze made over 140 centuries ago.

Lunch: You will be provided with restaurant tickets (meal vouchers) to purchase your meal at selected eateries.

Afternoon: Free time to discover Sarlat. The Group Leader would be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Dordogne Valley, Region Specialties, Medieval Bastides
Sarlat
B,L
Best Western Le Renoir

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking up to 2 miles throughout the day on even and uneven terrain; standing for up to 2 hours during visits.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Wednesday is market day in Sarlat! Take some free time to experience the open air market that occupies the town's main squares on your own. Together, we'll then take the motorcoach to Vitrac, a charming village along the Dordogne River.

Lunch: We'll enjoy the gourmet tastes of the Perigord through a cooking demonstration at a chef-owned restaurant.

Afternoon: On our way to explore Domme, a typical "bastide" from the 13th century, we will hear an expert lecture, "Introduction to Bastides." At the medieval village of Domme, which overlooks the Dordogne valley, we'll come to a better understanding of why this location was chosen for the construction of a bastide. We will proceed through the Dordogne valley to La Roque Gageac, a scenic town set in the cliffs that drop off into the banks of the Dordogne River. We will also enjoy an excursion to meet a truffle hunter, discover the secrets of truffles, a product famous in the Perigord region's gastronomy, and taste the "Black Diamond."

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Lascaux 4, Prehistoric Art of the Perigord
Sarlat
B,L,D
Best Western Le Renoir

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 48 miles (about 1.5 hours) with stops; walking up to 2 miles on even and uneven ground; standing for up to 2 hours throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart via motorcoach to see the replica of the famous prehistoric cave, Lascaux 4. En-route, we will listen to a lecture titled, "Prehistoric Art in the Perigord."

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will continue on to Les Eyzies, along the Vézère valley. Here we'll participate in a self-guided visit of the National Prehistory Museum of France. We'll see the largest Paleolithic collection from prehistoric sites in the Vézère Valley.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: We'll go on a walking exploration of Sarlat at night, when the picturesque stone streets and buildings are illuminated.

DAY
9
Gouffre de Padirac, Medieval St-Cere
Rocamadour
B,L,D
Best Western Hotel Beau Site Notre Dame

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking up to 2 miles on cobble stone streets and even ground; standing for up to 2 hours during visits; many unavoidable steps; the Gouffre de Padirac is a deep shaft accessible via elevator; elevator takes visitors down to the cave and back to the surface; from where the elevator stops at the bottom, further descent is required to the cave river; board boats on the river to reach the Salle du grand Dôme.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will take the motorcoach to the medieval village of St. Céré to see its preserved architectural heritage in the form of old houses, mansions and the beautiful Mercadial square. Once we discover this old village, we will go to the Jean Lurçat Museum to learn about and admire Lurçat's artistically woven tapestries.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will board the motorcoach and head to Gouffre de Padirac to explore this natural wonder. The Gouffre was created when the vault of an old underground chamber was eroded over many years by water pushing through the limestone rock. Eventually, the vault collapsed and left a gaping hole that we will see today. Scientists are not sure when the Gouffre was created, but they believe is has existed for several hundreds of thousands of years.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Cave Painting of Pech Merle and Rocamadour
Rocamadour
B,L
Best Western Hotel Beau Site Notre Dame

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking up to 2 miles throughout the day in uneven ground; Rocamadour is built into the side of a cliff and is primarily a pedestrian only village; some stairs may be avoided by using the escalator, but in the village there are many unavoidable steps.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Via motorcoach, we will go to Pech Merle. Here, we will discover authentic prehistoric paintings that are over 20,000 years old conserved on the walls of the Pech Merle cave. Some of the figures we will see include mammoths, bison, and horses depicted in their natural habitat.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will then return to Rocamadour and further discover this exceptional place that was one of the most famous pilgrimage sites of medieval times. This charming village sits perched on the rugged face of a cliff rising 492 feet above the Alzou Canyon. We will have the opportunity to follow the path of pilgrims on the Great Stairway or stroll the narrow, pedestrian-only streets. Free Time in Rocamadour to explore on your own.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you would like. The Group Leader is happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Transfer Toulouse, Albi, Toulouse-Lautrec
Toulouse
B,L,D
Best Western Les Capitouls

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 153 miles (about 3 hours 10 minutes) with stops; standing for up 2 hours during visits.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Via motorcoach, we will go to the small city of Albi. Albi was the capital of the Gallo-Roman Albigenses and later of the viscounty of Albigeois. After the Albigensian Crusade in 1209, and later the Inquisition, it was captured by bishops of the crown and established as a Christian city. In more contemporary history, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a native of Albi and still has a presence there today.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will examine the complete retrospective of Toulouse-Lautrec's works at the museum dedicated to him in Albi.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Toulouse, Historic Capitol of the Languedoc & Occitania
Toulouse
B,L
Best Western Les Capitouls

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles on cobble stone streets and even ground; standing for up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll hear an expert lecture titled, "Introduction to the Languedoc Region: Occitan People, Land, and Culture."

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: On foot, we will explore the sights of the historic center of Toulouse. Some of the places we will see are the Saint Semin Basilica, the largest Romanesque church in Western Europe and an UNESCO World Heritage site, the City Hall located within the "Capitole", referring to Toulouse’s role as a capitol of the Roman Empire and the governing magistrates, the medieval facades blending brick and stone of Henry IV's courtyard, and the 16th century Bernuy Mansion, whose octagonal staircase tower is the highest in the city.

Dinner: On your own to discover the local fare.

DAY
13
Carcassonne, Free Time
Toulouse
B,L,D
Best Western Les Capitouls

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 116 miles (about 2 hours 20 minutes) round trip; walking up to 2 miles on uneven ground.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will head out on the motorcoach to explore the Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this place has been a fortified settlement since the pre-Roman period. Over the years settlements withered and new ones were built. What we will see today is the remains of a medieval era fortified town.

Lunch: In Carcassonne, we'll enjoy Toulouse-style 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 slanting sides.

Afternoon: Free time to explore Toulouse at your leisure. The Group Leader would be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
In flight
B

Activity note: See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location. Avoid booking flights that depart earlier than 8:30 a.m. if possible.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar learning adventure and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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