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Medieval Dordogne

Overview

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…

Highlights

  • Ride through the forests & woods of the Dordogne valley
  • Pass through vineyards & fields of wheat and sunflowers
  • Visit castles and fortified villages
  • Sample local wines and specialities such as foie gras
  • Stay in unique hotels, such as a converted water mill

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 7 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 86kgs / 190 lbs / 13 st 8 lbs

Description

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.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Western, English or McLellan saddles are available.

Horses

Mixed breeds which include French saddle horses.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • Fortresses and Gastronomy is a trail ride
  • Prestige of Dordogne is a trail ride

Ages

16+ years

Health

Non specific but general good health

Weight

86kgs / 190 lbs / 13 st 8 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

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.

Accommodation

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.

Itineraries

Fortresses and Gastronomy Standard accommodation.

Prestige of Dordogne Luxury accommodation.

Other Activities

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.

Travel

Transfers are included from Bergerac airport or Bergerac train station, provided you arrive/depart at set times.

Arrival: Bergerac airport/train station 3:30pm
Departure: Bergerac airport/train station 12:00 midday

Private transfers outside of these times are available at an additional cost.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You will be met at 3:30 pm on arrival at Bergerac airport or train station and transferred c. 50 minutes to your first night's accommodation - a lovely converted water mill with a swimming pool.

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

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.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

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 although 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.

Day 4

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Today's ride continues through the Bessede forest before arriving outside another beautiful and unique bastide - Belves. Classified as one of the most 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 crystallisations. 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.

Day 5

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today's ride heads south through the chestnut woods of the Dordogne. 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 area's specialities.

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

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.

Day 7

Riding: No 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.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

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.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 7
Departure windows

Aug. 28, 2022 - Sept. 3, 2022

May 28, 2023 - June 3, 2023

June 25, 2023 - July 1, 2023

Aug. 27, 2023 - Sept. 2, 2023

Pricing

2022
Rider; Sharing
£2520 $2815 €2875
2023
Rider, sharing
£2805 $3130 €3200
Included 6 nights accommodation in shared rooms, full board meals, wine with dinners, set time transfers from Bergerac airport or train station, 4.5 days riding, entrance fees and wine tastings as described in the itinerary.
Not included Flights, train tickets, personal travel insurance, private transfers (outside of set times), tips and personal expenses.

Extras

2022 - Private Transfer from Bergerac on arrival day €90
Paid locally
Cost is per vehicle and is payable by anyone requiring a transfer earlier or later than the set transfer time.
2022 - Private Transfer to Bergerac on departure day €130
Paid locally
Cost is per vehicle and is payable by anyone requiring a transfer earlier or later than the set transfer time.
2022 - Single Supplement £330 $370 €380
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone in a single room.
2023 - Single Supplement £365 $410 €420
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone in a single room.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

You will be met upon arrival at Brive la Gaillarde Railway Station at 2:30 pm and driven to the famous prehistoric painted caves of Lascaux in the heart of the Dordogne (c. 45 minutes drive). Following an afternoon spent at this wonderful UNESCO World Heritage site, viewing its fabulous Cro Magnum paintings, you will be taken to your 4* hotel "Les Glycines" in Les Eyzies de Tayac. The hotel has a spa and indoor heated pool which you will be able to enjoy in the evening. Meet in the bar for a cocktail before a delicious dinner at a gastronomic restaurant in town.

Day 2 - La Roque Saint Christophe

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Following breakfast this morning, you will join Michel and meet your horses. The first day’s ride will take you through wonderful countryside and, from time to time, along the famous Saint-Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage trail to reach the Troglodyte City of "La Roque Saint Christophe” built on a cliff face. Before sitting down to lunch, you will have the opportunity to stretch your legs and visit this site which local men called home from Prehistoric times until the days of the Renaissance. In the afternoon, your ride will have you circling back to Les Eyzies de Tayac and to the hotel "Les Glycines". You will have time to enjoy the spa and change for dinner, which will be served at the hotel restaurant (Michelin guide featured).

Day 3 - Chateau de Commarque

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After a final breakfast at "Les Glycines", you will meet your horses once more. This morning’s ride will take you eastwards, heading to the impressive “Chateau de Commarque” which is situated in a national heritage valley and dates back to the 12th century. You will stop for another delicious picnic lunch at the foot of the fortress before you visit this secluded medieval castle on foot. The afternoon’s ride continues further east, through the farmlands and forests of the area, before arriving at the “Chateau de Campagnac” where you will leave the horses for the night. You will transfer by car to your own accommodation for the night, at the 4* hotel "Plaza Madeleine". The hotel offers another spa, as well as an outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi, and is set in the beautiful medieval town of Sarlat la Canéda”. In this exceptionally well-preserved city, you will witness more than 1000 years of architectural history exuding from its cobbled lanes, stone walls and ancient buildings. Dinner will be taken at a gastronomic restaurant near your hotel.

Day 4 - Chateau de Beynac

Riding: 3 hours

Following breakfast this morning, you will take a well-earned break from the saddle and instead have the opportunity to wander through the old town centre of Sarlat to visit its market. Sarlat features more beautiful medieval, Renaissance and 18th-century facades, carved doorways, fountains, turrets, gables and unusual roofscapes than you can imagine! The local shops provide a great location for hunting out souvenirs of your trip and in particular the wonderful gastronomic products of this region. At the end of the morning, you will be taken back to the Chateau de Campagnac where you will take lunch. After a short rest, you will meet your horses once more for an afternoon ride to the 12th century “Chateau de Beynac”; built on top of a cliff overlooking the Dordogne River. Another opportunity to stretch your legs and to visit this wonderful fortress, which was the scene of many a battle during the Hundred Years War. At the end of the ride, you will be transferred to the hotel "Plaza Madeleine" once more. You will spend this evening at the best restaurant Sarlat has to offer - a one-star Michelin - to savour a wonderful meal.

Day 5 - Chateau de Fénélon

Riding: 4 hours

This morning, you will be transferred to the wonderous “Chateau de Fénélon”, where your horses will already be waiting for you to start the day’s ride. However, you will have time before the ride begins to explore this remarkable private 13th-century medieval fortress, classified as a historical monument. You will stop to enjoy another wonderful picnic lunch before continuing your ride east through the indigenous chestnut and oak woods of the Dordogne. Your destination for today will be the 4 * hotel "Chateau de la Treyne". Overlooking the Dordogne Valley, this 14th-17th century Château is famous for its refined taste and discreet luxury. Situated on a listed site, the château is surrounded by a French garden, lined by century-old cedars and a large park with other rare species of trees. This evening’s meal will be taken at their one-star Michelin restaurant. You will once more have the opportunity to try some of the area’s best specialities and wines.

Day 6 - Rocamadour

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Through the morning you will enjoy a longer ride along the deep valley of the Ouysse River. Stop for lunch at the miraculous 12th century fortified village of Rocamadour, seemingly hanging on a cliff’s edge. Rocamadour is a popular destination for pilgrims and has been since the middle ages. Henri II Plantagenêt, Aliénor d’Aquitaine, Louis XI and Simon de Montfort are just some of the French and English aristocracy who came there to pay their respects to the statue of the Brown Virgin and the tomb of Saint Amadour. After lunch, you will have the chance to visit this amazing medieval village and its sanctuary. Then transfer back to your charming hotel, "Chateau de la Treyne". Another gourmet dinner will be served at the Chateau; a wonderful farewell and end to a great week of riding.

Day 7 - Depart

Riding: No riding.

After a leisurely breakfast, you will be transferred back to Brive la Gaillarde Railway Station, arriving at approximately 1:00 pm (c. 45 minutes drive).

Accommodation

All accommodations are of a 4* standard or higher. The first 2 nights will be spent at Hôtel-restaurant Les Glycines, nights 3 & 4 will be at Hôtel Plaza Madeleine and the final 2 nights will be spent at Château de la Treyne. If any of these hotels are not available for any reason, then a similar option of the same or a better standard will be booked instead.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

In the ideal, you should be an intermediate or advanced rider who is comfortable riding in the outdoors. However, for private groups, the pace and technical nature of the ride can be adjusted to suit the weakest member of a group. Overall, the pace of riding is not fast but there are some opportunities to trot/canter if guests wish to.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 6
Departure windows

At any time during: April 1, 2022 - Oct. 31, 2022  (Dates available to suit, availability dependent, for a minimum of 4 riders. Smaller private groups of 2-3 guests can also be accommodated at a supplementary cost.)

At any time during: April 1, 2023 - Oct. 31, 2023  (Dates available to suit, availability dependent, for a minimum of 4 riders. Smaller private groups of 2-3 guests can also be accommodated at a supplementary cost.)

Pricing

2022
Standard Room; Sharing
£4915 $5485 €5600
2022
Suite Room; Sharing
£6025 $6720 €6860
2023
Standard room, sharing
£5915 $6600 €6735
2023
Suite room, sharing
£6900 $7700 €7860
Included 6 nights accommodation in a twin or double bedroom, all meals from dinner on arrival day until breakfast on departure day, all drinks with meals, set time transfers from Brive train station, 3 full days riding (4-5 hours), 2 half days of riding (3 hours) as well as all entrance fees and wine tastings as described in the itinerary.
Not included Flights and/or train tickets to Brive, personal travel insurance, drinks outside of mealtimes, any souvenirs or purchases at visitor sites or wine tastings, tips and any other personal expenses.

Extras

2023 - Single Supplement (Standard room) £805 $900 €920
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Single Supplement (Standard Room) £920 $1025 €1050
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Single Supplement (Suite) £1820 $2030 €2075
Paid to Far and Ride
2023 - Single Supplement (Suite) £1580 $1760 €1800
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.