Type of horses:
Mixed breeds which include Arabs and paints. Many are home-bred.
Nature of horses:
Kind, energetic and good trail horses.
Height of horses:
15 - 16.3 hh
100kg / 220lbs
English style leather saddles. Some horses are ridden bitless in hackamores whilst others have traditional bitted bridles.
The Black Perigord (Perigord Noir) region is the most visited area of the Dordogne. Named after the black oak forests which are spread across the valleys of Vezere and Dordogne, the area is rich in beautiful villages, magnificent castles and impressive cave systems.
Some of the most well-known villages and castles in France are contained within this area. Along the Dordogne are the picturesque villages of Beynac, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, La Roque Gageac, Domme and Sarlat. A little further south is the most beautiful village of Belves. Along this same stretch of river are the magnificent castles of Beynac, Castelnaud and les Milandes, as well the caves at Domme, and the troglodyte dwellings under the main square of Belves.
There are so many fascinating sights to discover both on horseback and on foot. Riding horses between these villages and castles enables you to step back in time and follow medieval tracks and forest pathways as you are seduced by the landscapes and history of the area.
The Perigord is also famous for it's culinary delights, particularly duck and goose products such as confit de canard and foie gras, as well as the infamous black truffles. Both red and white Bergerac and Monbazillac wines are produced in the region, so lovers of both food and wine will not be disappointed! Visits to two well-known restaurants are included in the itinerary to allow connoisseurs to sample these local delicacies.
Your guides offer many routes in France and travel their horses between the different regions. They are experienced and knowledgable guides who will delight in introducing this fascinating area to you. There are always two guides on each trail for your safety. Due to the logistics of guiding throughout France, each trail is only available on limited dates, so book early to avoid disappointment.
You stay in a mixture of B&B's and small local hotels. The following are the planned accommodations, but these are subject to availability and so there may be some changes:
Nights 1 and 7: La Ferme de Paytavit in Couze - this B&B is a family farm which shows the traditional character of the area, with exposed stone and a rich history.
Nights 2 and 6: Au bon Accueil in Limeuil - this B&B has it's own restaurant serving local specialities such as foie gras, cassoulet, cep snails or pork fricassee. The homemade desserts are worth mentioning too! There are only four rooms which have been recently renovated with TV's and WiFi.
Night 3: Hotel le Perigord Noir - this 3 star hotel is modern and friendly. Situated within a park there are 39 rooms and an on-site restaurant. Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Nights 4 and 5: Either L'etape des Peupliers (B&B near city centre) or L'hotel des Ramparts (hotel near city centre) in Sarlat.
Breakfasts are always taken at your hotel/B&B.
Lunches are picnics out on the trail - you are usually met by the back-up vehicle who brings fresh picnics to you.
Dinners are in local restaurants - sometimes these are restaurants within the hotels, or sometimes stand-alone restaurants. During the week it is planned to visit two well-known restaurants:
Le Presidial is an old justice court built in the 12th century and renowned for south-western traditional delicacies.
Le Bistrot de l'Octroi in Sarlat is well-known for it's traditional cooking.
All meals are included, but drinks are to your own account so that you can choose from the ample drinks menu's on offer.
Numerous visits to castles and medieval villages and their bastides are included within the itinerary. Non-riders are welcome to join riding friends and travel in the back-up vehicle, meeting the riders at lunch stops and in the evenings, but there is no specific non-riding itinerary.
Languages: English, French
Health requirements: General good health
Age limit: 16 years and older.
Included: Accommodation, riding, transfers at set times
Not included: Flights/trains, drinks, entrance fees to sites, tips
The train system in France is particularly good and reliable. Transfers are included from the train stations at Lalinde or Bergerac.
If you prefer to drive or hire a car then we can provide driving directions - groups with non-riders within them may like the flexibility of a hire car.
Transfers from Bergerac airport can also be arranged at extra cost.
Discover the castles and bastides of the Black Perigord on this horseback trail through the valleys of the Vezere and Dordogne. Visit the splendid city of Sarlat, considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Black Perigord region and experience the many culinary delights that this region offers.
You will be collected from Lalinde or Bergerac train station and transferred to your B&B in the late afternoon. If you have your own transport then you are also welcomed at the B&B in the late afternoon.
After breakfast, at c. 10:30am, you are introduced to the horses at Chateau de Bannes (a 15th century private castle). Set off riding through Lalinde's bastide and follow the canal towards the village of Mauzac which is situated on the right bank of the Dordogne. Stop for a picnic lunch before continuing to the ancient fishing port of Limeuil.
Dinner and overnight in a B&B or hotel.
After crossing the forest on horseback, you stop for a picnic lunch near the village of St Cyprien on the edge of the Dordogne. The afternoon ride takes you towards Milande Castle, the former property of Josephine Baker (1947-1968). Follow a medieval path between the castles of Tayac and Castelnaud-la-Chapelle to reach the place where you leave the horses for the night. There may be the possibility of visiting the Milandes castle this afternoon, time allowing.
Dinner and overnight in a B&B or hotel.
There is time this morning to visit Castelnaud-la-Chapelle's castle (12th century) and its museum - the castle offers magnificent views across the Beynac, Marquessac and La Roche Gageac. Today's ride takes you from the Ceou valley to the Dordogne valley where a picnic lunch is waiting for you at the base of a windmill in the Domme bastide. Either before or after lunch you can visit this royal bastide from the 13th century.
In the afternoon you with have great views of the Dordogne valley from this village and your route to Vitrac where you leave the horses. You are then transferred to the well-preserved medieval city of Sarlat for dinner and to overnight.
This morning's ride takes you from the horses resting place, through Sarlat and onto Campagnac Castle where you stop for a picnic. There is no riding this afternoon and you are free to explore the splendid city of Sarlat. Sarlat is the capital of the Black Perigord region and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with its stunning architecture, art and history.
Dinner and overnight in a B&B or hotel.
Ride along a path towards Meyrals which offers the chance to see the Puymartin Castle, which was first built in the 12th century then destroyed in the 14th century before being rebuilt in the 15th century! Picnic at the foot of Meyrals church before continuing to Limeuil through the Vezere's valley in the afternoon.
Your final day of riding takes you along the Dordogne river towards Cadouin where you stop for a picnic near to the 12th century abbey. There is time to visit the abbey after lunch. Continue through the Bessede forest which is the most important forest in the Perigord. Explore the village of Moliere with it's 12th century bastide before returning to Bannes castle.
Final dinner and night in a B&B or hotel.
You will be transferred to Lalinde or Bergerac train station after breakfast.
NB. Please note that the itinerary is a guide and may have to be adjusted due to weather or other local conditions, but always with your best interests at heart.
|Minimum group size:||5|
|Maximum group size:||10|
|Ability description:||You need to be a capable rider who is comfortable in all paces riding outdoors and you should be riding regularly. There are some sections where you will need to dismount and lead your horse.|
|Type of ride:||Trail|
|Total riding time:||8 days / 7 nights / 5.5 days riding (c. 5 hours riding per day)|
|Departure dates:||2017: 16 - 23 April, 29 April-6 May, 3-10 June (FULL).|
£1255 per person sharing
Single supplement: £312