Village Life® France

Program Overview

Immerse yourself in the authentic provincial character of the Dordogne region in Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of France’s most beautiful and well-preserved medieval towns, on this one-of-a-kind, 7-night experience. Discover charming villages, medieval castles, and prehistoric treasures through specially arranged excursions, including Sarlat’s famous open-air market; the pilgrimage site of Rocamadour; the English-style gardens of Eyrignac; the fascinating prehistoric cave paintings of Cap-Blanc; the perfectly reproduced cave art at Lascaux and Rouffignac; and a specially arranged gabare cruise on the Dordogne River.

This program also operates in the Spring.

Program Details

September 12 to 20, 2024 September 19 to 27, 2024 September 26 to October 4, 2024 October 17 to 25, 2024
From $3,775 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Uniquely designed, 9-day, 7-night itinerary featuring excursions through the heart of medieval Sarlat.
  • Immerse yourself in the character and traditions of Dordogne, an authentic provincial treasure.
  • Unpack just once and stay in the family-owned Plaza Madeleine Hôtel in the heart of medieval Sarlat, across from the twice-weekly village market.
  • Viewing of the acclaimed simulations of Lascaux’s prehistoric art cave at the International Center for Cave Art at Lascaux.
  • Embark on a private cruise along the Dordogne River, with lunch in the charming village of Beynac.
  • Enjoy a local wine and cheese tasting at a Sarlat épicerie gourmet and specially arranged meals highlighting the distinctive flavors of the region.

Day 1 - Depart Home City

Day 2 - Bordeaux, France / Sarlat-la-Canéda

Day 3 - Sarlat-la-Canéda

Day 4 - Rocamadour

Day 5 - Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil / L’Abri du Cap-Blanc

Day 6 - Lascaux

Day 7 - Sarlat-La-Canéda/Rouffignac/Tursac, Madeleine Village

Day 8 - Beynac / Domme

Day 9 - Sarlat-la-Canéda / Bordeaux / Return to home city

View detailed program itinerary >

This program also operates in the Fall.

Plaza Madeleine Hôtel, Sarlat-la-Canéda

Enjoy the traditional pace of Village Life® during your stay in the family-owned Plaza Madeleine Hôtel, located just beyond the ancient walls of Sarlat-la-Canéda’s medieval quarter, a short walk from the village center. A grand 19th-century townhouse, this historical hôtel de charme marries traditional features with French esprit contemporain.

Each of the 39 stylish, air-conditioned guest rooms have been renovated and feature two twin beds or one queen bed, private bathroom, individual climate control, satellite television, phone, Wi-Fi access, safe, minibar, and hair dryer.

The hotel dining room—where continental breakfast is served daily featuring freshly baked breads, pastries, and charcuterie—is reserved for the exclusive use of hotel guests. There is a brasserie pub with lounge and private terrace, a petit lounge with computer facilities and Internet access, a heated outdoor swimming pool, solarium, and spa with Jacuzzi and sauna. The dedicated hotel staff is pleased to provide attentive service.

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Departure

Your trip will begin by departing your home city.

Day 2 Bordeaux, France / Sarlat-la-Canéda

Arrive in Bordeaux and transfer to Sarlat‑la‑Canéda. Check into the Plaza Madeline Hôtel.

Day 3 Sarlat-la-Canéda

Start the day with a presentation about preserving the village’s medieval architecture by a local expert at the hotel. Stroll through the streets of Sarlat-la-Canéda and see the 16th century cathedral of Saint Sacerdos and the sublime Romanesque design of the Chapel of the White Penitents. The cultural heart of Sarlat is the Place de la Liberté, where every Wednesday and Saturday one of France’s most storied markets is held—a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Enjoy lunch with a sampling of wine, cheese and other delectable local food at the market and take the rest of the afternoon to experience the market at your leisure. Join your fellow travel companions at the welcome reception at the hotel.

Day 4 Rocamadour

The UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Rocamadour has one of the most dramatic settings of any village in the world, essentially carved into a grand sheer limestone cliff. During the Middle Ages, pilgrims flocked here from across Europe to perform penance by ascending the 216 steps of Le Grand Escalier on their knees—seeking miracles from the sacred 12th‑century statue of the Black Virgin and Child, a walnut carving more than 1,000 years old. Embedded in the cliff above the doorway to the Chapelle de Notre Dame is a sword said to be that of the heroic knight Roland. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and explore Rocamadour at your leisure before returning to the hotel.

Day 5 Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil/L’Abri du Cap-Blanc

Discover Les Eyzes-de-Tayac-Sireuil, where the first known bones of Homo sapiens were discovered. Explore the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies in a guided tour and see L’Abri du Cap‑Blanc’s UNESCO-designated prehistoric cave friezes. Marvel at some of the earliest artifacts and remains of human civilization, along with one-of-a-kind life-size cave paintings.

Day 6 Lascaux

In 1940, the UNESCO-listed Lascaux cave was found by a group of four young boys. Today, you will gain insight into this incredible repository of stunning works of prehistoric art. Although the original cave is no longer accessible to visitors for the sake of preservation, you will see a perfect reproduction in the International Center for Cave Art at Lascaux.

Join the group after the tour for lunch at Aux Berges de la Vezere, followed by free time in the village of Montignac.

Return to the hotel and join the group for dinner at the charming Le Bistro de l'Octroi. There will also be a folk group presentation later this evening.

Day 7 Sarlat-La-Canéda/Rouffignac/Tursac, Madeleine Village

Step into Magdalenian history at the prehistoric village of La Madeleine, standing sentry above the Vézère River. See the historically significant remains of majestic caves occupied by families over more than 15,000 years.

Travel to Saint-Leon-sur-Vezerre for a brief tour, followed by lunch at La Restaurant de le Poste. From there, you will continue to Rouffignac.

Visit the massive cavern of Rouffignac, “Cave of a Hundred Mammoths. See the extraordinary Great Ceiling decorated with over 65 figures and beautifully rendered friezes of woolly rhinoceros and mammoth. You may also see representations of bison, horses and cave bears as well as 17th-century graffiti.

Return to Sarlat-la-Canéda for a gastronomic dinner at La Presidial.

Day 8 Beynac / Domme

This morning’s adventure takes you to Beynac, a stunning yellow stone village with an imposing medieval fortress. Enjoy an enriching tour of the impressive, fortified Château de Beynac, perched atop a limestone cliff. Take note of the delightful frescoes and incredible views below; plus, traverse an elaborate series of stone walls, parapet walks, watchtowers and passageways.

Hop aboard a 19th-century gabare, a traditional flat-bottomed boat, for a cruise toward the Château de Castelnaud.

Following your scenic cruise, sit down with your group over lunch.

Travel along the meandering road from Dordogne to Domme, an authentic medieval fortified village. Enter through its original ramparts and see graffiti etched by the Knights Templar on the inner village walls. See an unforgettable panoramic view of old pale stone houses topped with bright orange roofs yielding to the cliff’s edge — and a lush, green horizon stretching for miles.

Return to the hotel and raise a toast to your fabulous adventure over dinner.

Day 9 Bordeaux / Return to home city

Enjoy an early breakfast buffet at the hotel before your overnight return flight to your home city.