Type of horses:
Mixed breeds which include French saddle horses.
Nature of horses:
Responsive, well schooled and sensible.
Height of horses:
Approximately 14.2 - 15.2hh
200lbs / 90kgs
Western, English or McLellan saddles are available.
The Dordogne is a very famous region in southwest France, known for its history, chateaux, bastides, caves and food, among other things. The beauty of the landscape, of cliffs overhanging cultivated plains and rivers, of the dense and mysterious forests, verdant farmland and pastures, make the area an unforgettable destination for travellers.
This trail ride takes you through this beautiful and varied region, giving you the opportunity to see many of the areas sites while also taking the path less travelled - to give you a real feeling for the region and its people.
For lovers of French history this trail is a must, with the chance to explore fortified villages and castles included. The riding pace is not fast so you can relax and enjoy the landscape as it unfolds around you.
Our partner here also offers trails discovering the Bordeaux and Malbec vineyards, so if you've enjoyed this trail then you may wish to choose another one next time, or if the dates for this one don't suit, check out the others instead.
You stay in 3* hotels, some of which are within fortified villages. Each hotel is unique and includes a converted watermill as well as a charming B&B. On some nights there are swimming pools, whilst on others the villages you stay in are worth exploring before dinner.
All rooms have private bathrooms.
France is renowned for it's excellent food and wine, and this trail enables you to sample both. Meals are chosen to include specialities of the region and should be a delight.
Breakfast will be taken at your hotel and is traditionally French with plenty of coffee or tea and fresh bread or croissants.
Lunch is often a picnic which is brought by the back-up crew and will include fresh cheeses, pate, cold meats, breads and salads.
Dinner is taken in the hotels own restaurants or in nearby restaurants. Menus are varied and in most cases you will have a choice from a menu. Vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice. You will be able to sample local specialities such as foie gras.
A moderate amount of wine with dinner is included (c. 1/2 bottle per person) but if require extra or would like additional spirits, these are payable locally.
There are a number of visits included in the itinerary, such as Chateau de Bonaguil and Gouffre de Proumeyssac.
Most of the villages you stay in are worthy of walking around before dinner to stretch your legs and ease those aching muscles.
These itineraries are not suitable for non-riders.
Languages: English and French
Health requirements: Non specific but general good health
Age limit: 16+
Included: Riding, accommodation, full board, wine with dinner, airport/train station transfers (at set times), visits as detailed in itinerary
Not included: Flights/trains, private transfers (outside set times), insurance
Transfers are included from Bergerac airport or Bergerac train station, provided you arrive/depart at set times.
Arrival: Bergerac airport/train station 3:30pm
(Private transfer €90 per vehicle if outside this time)
Departure: Bergerac airport/train station 12:00 midday
(Private transfer €130 per vehicle if outside this time)
You will be met on arrival at Bergerac airport or train station and transferred c. 50 minutes to your first nights accommodation - a lovely converted water mill with a swimming pool.
After breakfast the horses are allocated and you set off riding through the countryside. At certain points you will follow the famous Saint-Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage trail. By midday you arrive at the Chateau de Biron whose architecture spans eight centuries and is one of the best preserved castles in Europe.
After lunch there is time to visit the castle before continuing your ride into the Dordogne. In the late afternoon you will arrive at Monpazier, a bastide which is famous for its architecture and was founded by the English King Edward the First in 1284. You have the opportunity to visit Monpazier, swim at the hotel pool or just relax before dinner in this beautiful, historic village.
Today's ride continues further north to the small village of Montferrand-du-Perigord. This listed site has conserved the authentic charm of its old house, many of which are superb examples of Perigord homes with Renaissance facades. Legend claims that this village has stood on this plateau since prehistoric times though the oldest remaining structures are the 12th century chateau and church.
Enjoy another delicious picnic lunch under the 16th century covered market before taking a moment to explore the village. The afternoon's ride takes you further north, through farmland and forest, before arriving at your accommodation. Before dinner there is the option to visit the nearby village of Cadouin. With its 12th century Romanesque church and Gothic cloister, the abbey of Cadouin is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Today's ride continues through the Bessede forest before arriving outside another beautiful and unique bastide - Belves. Classified as one of the mmost beautiful villages in France, you will be spending the evening within its fortified walls.
This afternoon there is no riding, but you will be driven to Gouffre de Proumeyssac - baptised the Cristal Cathedral. The largest developed abyss in the Perigord, the Cavern of Proumeyssac is a beautiful underground vault decorated with a multitude of crystalisation. \the tour is available in English and includes a beautiful light tour. After returning to the villages of Belves you can either relax before dinner or take a walk around the village.
Today's ride heads south through the chestnut woods of the Dordoyne. For lunch you will stop at a lovely family-run duck farm for a tasting of their products, including 'foie gras' and local sweet wine from Monbazillac.
In the afternoon, continue riding through the forest until reaching the medieval village of Villefranche du Perigord. You spend the night within the walls of this 13th century bastide which was built by Alphonse de Poitiers, broker of King Louis IX. This evening's meal again includes some of the areas specialities.
Your ride continues through the forests to the Chateau de Bonaguil, a medieval fortress built on a rock face in the 15th century. The picnic lunch is followed by a tour of this wonderful castle. Dating back to the Hundred Years War, Chateau de Bonaguil was classified as a historical monument in the 19th century and is a remarkable castle to explore.
The afternoon ride follows a variety of trails. Starting in the woods again you pass through pristine villages, vineyards and farmers fields of wheat and sunflowers. The ride ends at a charming B&B located in the countryside, where the farewell dinner is a wonderful end to a great week of riding.
After breakfast you are transferred back to Bergerac airport or train station (c. 1.5 hours drive).
|Accommodation:||You stay in a mixture of 3 and 4 star hotels, some of which are within fortified villages. One night is in a charming B&B whilst another is in a converted water mill. The hotels are chosen for their charm and uniqueness. All rooms have private bathrooms.|
|Minimum group size:||2|
|Maximum group size:||7|
|Ability description:||You should be an intermediate rider who is comfortable riding in the outdoors. The pace is not fast but there are some opportunities to trot/canter.|
|Type of ride:||Trail|
|Total riding time:||7 days/6 nights with 4.5 days riding (4-6 hours per day)|
|Departure dates:||2017: 30 April-6 May, 1-7 October|
£2183 per person sharing
£298 single supplement