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Online Program

Adventures Online: Southwest France, From Bordeaux to Perigord

Program No. 24319RJ
Take an online journey through the Southwest region of France to learn about Bordeaux, Perigord and Occitanie during an online educational adventure, live from France!

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DATES & PRICES

Online Program

DATES & PRICES

Online Program

At a Glance

From world-famous vineyards to the artworks of Toulouse-Lautrec, Southwest France is known for its rich culture and heritage. Explore the regions of Bordeaux, Perigord and Occitanie all from the comfort of your home during this online learning adventure, live from France! Join local experts as they lead you on online field trips through the Dordogne Valley to learn about prehistoric cave paintings and introduce you to the exciting artworks of Toulouse-Lautrec at a museum in Albi. Learn about the art of wine during field trips to the Cite du Vin in Bordeaux, St. Emilion and the Medoc region, where you’ll pay a visit to a wine chateau. Discover the fortified city of Carcassonne and the clifftop village of Rocamadour as your experts share insight into their unique histories. Get to know your fellow Road Scholars as you take in insightful lectures on the region and enjoy an online field trip through Sarlat, known for its local market and products like truffles, fois gras and more.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Get an insider’s look into each region’s unique cultural, gastronomic and wine heritage in the Perigord and Bordeaux.
  • Explore the Dordogne Valley during an online field trip and learn about the prehistoric cave paintings of Rouffignac and Lascaux IV.
  • Admire the works of Toulouse-Lautrec during an online field trip to a museum dedicated to him in Albi.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. This session is offered live only and will not be available on demand. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Featured Expert
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Elizabeth Chandler
Elizabeth Chandler began traveling when very young. Her grandparents lived in Spain, part of her teen years were spent in Austria, and she enjoyed a glorious month every year in Normandy. She now resides in the small coastal village of Devon, England. After school, further studies gave her an appetite for history, culture, and the artists of Europe. Years of living in the Haute Alpes region of France sealed the deal. Since the early ’90s, Elizabeth has led groups of visitors of all ages.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Elizabeth Chandler
Elizabeth Chandler View biography
Elizabeth Chandler began traveling when very young. Her grandparents lived in Spain, part of her teen years were spent in Austria, and she enjoyed a glorious month every year in Normandy. She now resides in the small coastal village of Devon, England. After school, further studies gave her an appetite for history, culture, and the artists of Europe. Years of living in the Haute Alpes region of France sealed the deal. Since the early ’90s, Elizabeth has led groups of visitors of all ages.
Profile Image of James Higginson
James Higginson View biography
After spending his early years in Africa, James Higginson was educated in the UK and studied French and politics at the University of Essex before training for the theater in London. James has worked extensively in Europe, especially in France as a group leader with theater companies. He is passionate about travel and French culture. James has also traveled extensively in the U.S. and worked with Americans for over twenty years.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
South-West France: The Wines and Winemakers
by Paul Strang
South-West France is a wine lover's paradise that cultivates an astonishing array of grape varieties, many that grow nowhere else, and produces a fascinating assortment of wines. In this book, Paul Strang covers the South-West with enthusiasm and keen expertise, providing a history of its wine industry, including a near collapse and unlikely rebirth, and introducing readers to a region that seems to defy globalization.
Edible French: Tasty Expressions and Cultural Bites
by Clotilde Dusolier
French food-related idioms are explained and delightfully illustrated in this playful meditation on the French language.
F is for France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders
by Piu Eatwell
An alphabetized catalogue of quirky French culture and history tidbits.
The Food & Wine of France: Eating & Drinking from Champagne to Provence
by Edward Behr
Behr seeks out the best of French food, in encounters from Champagne to Provence, to tell the stories of French artisans and chefs who work at the highest level. He shares what he learns from these experts on French traditions and how to best enjoy this food.
Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings
by Amy Kelly
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.
French Wine: A History
by Rod Phillips
French Wine is the first synthetic history of wine in France: from Etruscan, Greek, and Roman imports and the adoption of wine by beer-drinking Gauls to its present status within the global marketplace. Rod Phillips places the history of grape growing and winemaking in each of the country’s major regions within broad historical and cultural contexts.
The Basque History of the World
by Mark Kurlansky
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.
My Life in France
by Julia Child
The touching and famous story of Julia Child in France, where she learned to cook and fell in love with French cuisine, all in her own words.
Camembert: A National Myth
by Pierre Boisard
Camembert - delectably fragrant, creamy-centered, neatly boxed - is the most popular and most famous French cheese. Originally made by hand in the Norman countryside, it is now mass-produced internationally, yet Camembert remains a national symbol for France, emblematic of its cultural identity. In this witty and entertaining book, Pierre Boisard investigates the history of Camembert and its legend.
The Cave Painters
by Gregory Curtis
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.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook
by Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet
This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Tasting French Terroir: The History of an Idea
by Thomas Parker
This book explores the origins and significance of the French concept of terroir (the specific taste of a particular place), demonstrating that the way the French eat their food and drink their wine today derives from a cultural mythology that developed between the Renaissance and the Revolution.
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3 days
DAY
1
Welcome, Orientation, Aliénor d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux, Wine
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and end at 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 2:00 p.m. Welcome, Orientation, Introductions. The Group Leader will greet everyone and review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, Zoom meeting protocols, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. We will then say hello to our fellow Road Scholar and our Study Leader, Libby Chandler. 2:15 p.m. Lecture. Aliénor d’Aquitaine (1122-1204) — who we know as Eleanor — was Duchess of Aquitaine, Queen of France, and Queen of England. We will learn about her life as the most powerful woman in 12th century Europe, a patron of the arts and courtly love, a warrior, diplomat, and much more. When she died at Fontevrault, the nuns of the abbey wrote: “She was beautiful and just, imposing and modest, humble and elegant…who surpassed almost all the queens of the world.” 2:45 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will “explore” Bordeaux and some of its highlights including the Musée d’Aquitaine and the Cité du Vin that opened in 2016 with its extraordinary architecture and exhibitions exploring the many and varied facets of wine across time and space. We’ll also “visit” Saint-Émilion, a medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of wine country; the Eglise Monolithe, a unique church carved underground over centuries; and the Médoc region, highlighted by a wine chateau where we will learn about wine production and how the terroir affects the way wines taste. We will also explore the Bay of Arcachon. 4:30 p.m. We’ll have a Q&A session and wrap up with notes for tomorrow. 5:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
2
Périgord & Prehistoric Art, Rouffignac, Dordogne, Sarlat
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and end at 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 2:00 p.m. Review of the day. 2:05 p.m. Lecture. France comprises a dozen historic regions and within each region are smaller “départements.” We will learn about the history and culture of the Périgord in the Dordogne Valley, inhabited by Gallic tribes long before the Romans. The Périgord abounds in beautiful landscapes, stunning chateaux, medieval villages, great wines, and traditional French gastronomy. It is also where art in prehistoric caves attest to human creativity since at least 10,000 BCE. 2:30 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will “explore” the Cave of Rouffignac — known as the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths — and see the replica of the world-renowned prehistoric cave, Lascaux IV. We will also see some of the most famous sites of the Dordogne Valley such as Domme, Roque Cageac, Les Jardins (Gardens) d’Erignac, the 17th century Château des Landes, and particularly Sarlat. This charming medieval town developed during the Carolingian era and today is renowned for its local market and products such as foie gras, truffles, nuts, and many other local specialties. 4:30 p.m. Q&A, wrap-up, and notes for tomorrow. 5:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
3
Occitanie, Gouffre du Padirac, Rocamadour, Albi, Carcassonne
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and end at 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 2:00 p.m. Review of the day. 2:05 p.m. Lecture. The modern region of Occitanie encompasses two former regions: Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées. While it dates administratively from 2016, it is in fact one of the oldest and most historic places in France. The vast area was known for centuries as the Languedoc, from langue d’doc, the language of “yes” in the native Occitan language. Its development was distinctively different from the north of France. Perhaps for that reason, it proved to be fertile ground for the popularity of the Cathars, who were declared “heretics” by the Church of Rome. Their anti-materialist beliefs — centered on poverty and achieving spiritual perfection — were considered so dangerous that the Pope declared a crusade against them. The invasion from the north, characterized as the Albigensian Crusade, began in 1209 and lasted for 20 years. The Cathars were destroyed and the Languedoc was added to the territory of the French crown. 2:30 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will “visit” the Gouffre du Padirac, a chasm more than 300 feet deep; Rocamadour, a medieval hilltop village; Albi and its cathedral, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site; and the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec with the world’s largest collection of works by the artist from Albi. We will also “travel” to Carcassonne and Toulouse to see some of their highlights. Carcassone is famed for its towering stone walls and turreted towers, the most picturesque of all France’s medieval towns. Toulouse, the fourth largest city in France, was founded by the Romans and is now the capital city of Occitanie. It is a place of great art, architecture, and numerous cultural attractions. 4:30 p.m. Q&A, wrap-up, and farewells. 5:00 p.m. This concludes our program.






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.