Village Life® France

Program Overview

Savor the fine wines of Bordeaux and immerse yourself in the Dordogne region in Sarlat-la-Canéda on this one-of-a-kind sojourn. Spend two nights in the UNESCO-designated port city of Bordeaux to explore its ancient history and the influence it had on the renowned wine region. From there, you will spend five nights in Sarlat-la-Canéda to see the medieval castles and prehistoric treasures of Dordogne, including the perfectly reproduced cave art at Lascaux and Rouffignac.

Program Details

April 17 to 25, 2025 April 24 to May 2, 2025 May 15 to 23, 2025
From approximately $3,995* plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Exclusive journey to Bordeaux and charming villages of France with opportunities to meet locals and learn about daily life.
  • Created in our tradition of innovative programming and educational travel.
  • Included excursions throughout your program.
  • Four UNESCO World Heritage sites — Bordeaux, Port of the Moon; Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France, Rocamadour; Jurisdiction of Saint-Émilion; and Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley, including Rouffignac cave and Cap Blanc rock shelter.

Day 1      Depart home city

Day 2     Bordeaux

Day 3     Bordeaux

Day 4     Saint-Émilion

Day 5     Sarlat-la-Canéda/Cap Blanc rock shelter

Day 6     Sarlat-la-Canéda/Rocamadour

Day 7     Sarlat-la-Canéda/Lascaux/Rouffignac cave

Day 8     Beynac-et-Cazenac

Day 9     Bordeaux/Return to home city

View detailed program itinerary >

This program also operates in the Fall.

Plaza Madeleine Hôtel, Sarlat-la-Canéda

Located near the heart of Bordeaux’s historical city center, the deluxe Hotel Burdigala is a modern oasis. Each of its 83 rooms are tastefully appointed with luxurious finishes, creating a sophisticated yet intimate environment. The hotel’s Madame B restaurant and bar offers the quintessential French venue for an evening nightcap..

Plaza Madeleine Hôtel, Sarlat-la-Canéda

The Plaza Madeleine Hôtel & Spa is 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 has been renovated or upgraded.

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Depart home city

Depart your home city for Bordeaux, France.

Day 2 Bordeaux, France

Arrive at Bordeaux International Airport and transfer to the deluxe Hotel Burdigala in Bordeaux.

Settle into your room and enjoy lunch on your own. A Gohagan & Company representative will be available at the hotel hospitality desk to assist with restaurant recommendations, as well as suggestions for touring in the area with maps provided.

Welcome Reception & Dinner: Join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception & Dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 3 Bordeaux

Wake this morning to breakfast at the hotel, followed by a walking tour of historical Bordeaux, also known as the “port of the moon.”

Bordeaux. Located on the Garonne River, the ancient city of Burdigala (now known as Bordeaux) was founded on the site of a 20,000-year-old Neanderthal settlement. The Celts set up a village here around the 3rd century B.C., which was then conquered by Julius Caesar in 56 B.C. The Romans operated from Burdigala for three centuries, establishing a wine trade that brought great wealth to the empire. The evolving metropolis continued to have a colorful history in the centuries to follow, from a series of Barbarian invasions to a famous shift in 1032 when it fell under the Duchy of Aquitaine. Eleanor of Aquitaine became duchess of this newly independent country at age 14 but her marriage to the King of England meant the city was linked to the English crown for the next three centuries. Bordeaux was reclaimed by France in the 15th century but did not enter its golden age until the 18th century, when port trade flourished and such grand monuments as the Église Notre-Dame church and Grand Théâtre opera house were built — many of them contributing to Bordeaux’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, this storied city is also considered one of the wine capitals of the world.

After the tour, seek out a local café for lunch on your own.

Free Time: Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure exploring the city at your own pace with dinner on your own this evening. Be sure to savor the delicious wine the region is known for. For maps and recommendations, you may stop by the hospitality desk.

Day 4 Bordeaux for Saint-Émilion/Sarlat-la-Canéda

Check out of the hotel after breakfast and enjoy a scenic drive from Bordeaux to the Dordogne region, stopping along the way for a visit to the Saint-Émilion vineyards.

Saint-Émilion. The UNESCO World Heritage-designated jurisdiction of Saint-Émilion in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region is comprised of eight medieval villages, each filled with chateaux and endless vineyards where grapes have been grown and harvested for centuries. Saint-Émilion was named after Emilion, a monk who fled his hometown of Vannes to seek shelter in the area’s underground caves in the 8th century. Stories of miracles he performed resulted in religious followers, placing Saint-Émilion among Europe’s most iconic pilgrimage sites.

Enjoy lunch at the vineyard as you explore these verdant winelands. Continue your journey to the medieval village of Sarlat-la-Canéda, where you will check in to the enchanting
Plaza Madeleine Hôtel & Spa. Settle into your room and explore the hotel’s amenities, which include a heated pool with a terrace and sun lounge.

Dinner is on your own this evening. A Gohagan & Company representative will be available at the hotel hospitality desk to assist with restaurant recommendations.

Day 5 Sarlat-la-Canéda/Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil /Cap Blanc

Today you will begin exploring the region’s remarkable prehistory with an excursion to Les Eyzies de Tayac-Sireuil, where the first known bones of homo sapiens were revealed.

Your day of discovery in the “Valley of Man” includes a guided tour of the National Museum of Prehistory, which was installed in the 16th century Château des Eyzies more than a century ago. See what has been found at these prehistoric sites with exhibits that include an assortment of weapons, jewelry, Stone Age tools and animal skeletons, including woolly rhinoceros and cave bears.

Savor authentic cuisine from the region with lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon you will visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of l’Abri du Cap-Blanc, a prehistoric rock shelter where you can see prehistoric friezes that date back more than 12,000 years. Marvel at some of the earliest artifacts and remains of human civilization, along with one-of-a-kind life-size cave paintings.

Return to the hotel this evening, where you will join the group for dinner.

Day 6 Sarlat-la-Canéda/Rocamadour

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning before setting out on a walking tour of Sarlat-la-Canéda.

Sarlat-la-Canéda. Author Henry Miller called this pre‑French Revolution capital of Périgord Noir “the Frenchman’s paradise.” It is a bon vivant’s dream — renowned for truffles, wild mushrooms, strawberries, walnuts and duck — and close enough to Bordeaux to procure the finest wines directly from vintners’ cellars. Its historical old town has one of Europe’s greatest concentrations of medieval, Renaissance and 17th‑century façades. A market is held in the village’s Place de la Liberté every Wednesday and Saturday — a tradition dating from the Middle Ages.

Stroll along cobblestone streets as you immerse yourself in the heart of Sarlat-la-Canéda. See the 16th century, Italian Renaissance-style house where French writer Étienne de La Boétie was born in 1530. Admire the 16th century Cathedral Saint-Sacerdos with its uniquely shaped bell tower, see the Chapel of the White Pentinents and explore the Place de la Liberté, the cultural heart of the village.

Get to know this gastronomical hub while sampling a lunch of culinary delights, including wine, cheese and local produce at the bustling Sarlat market. After lunch, you day of touring continues to Rocamadour.

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.

Return to the hotel and enjoy dinner on your own this evening.

Day 7 Sarlat-la-Canéda/Lascaux/Rouffignac Cave

After breakfast at the hotel this morning you will continue exploring prehistoric sites in the region with a visit to a simulation of the famous Lascaux cave.

Lascaux IV. In 1940, a quartet of schoolboys stumbled onto the Lascaux cave, a UNESCO-inscribed repository of stunning prehistoric art. Although the original cave is no longer accessible to visitors for the sake of preservation, the state‑of‑the‑art International Center for Cave Art at Lascaux offers a meticulous reproduction — opening a three-dimensional portal into the history of the site through 600 wall painting facsimiles.

Explore the Lascaux legacy at the International Center for Cave Art on a day-long excursion that includes lunch.

From there you will continue to 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 the hotel and join the group for dinner this evening at a local restaurant.

Day 8 Beynac-et-Cazenac

After breakfast at the hotel this morning you will enjoy a scenic drive to Beynac, a stunning yellow stone village with an imposing medieval fortress.

Explore the impressive, fortified Château de Beynac on a guided tour. Perched atop a limestone cliff, this 12th century castle features delightful frescoes and incredible views below. Relive the past as you walk through an elaborate series of stone walls, parapet walks, watchtowers and passageways.

From there, you will hop aboard a 19th century gabare for a cruise toward the Château de Castelnaud, followed by lunch at a local restaurant.

Farewell Reception & Dinner: Join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception & Dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 9 Bordeaux/Return to home city

Following breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to Bordeaux Airport for your return flight home