Arrive in Gourdon and pick up your car at the train station. Stroll up the winding narrow streets to the ruined castle for a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside. You can also take a short walk out of Gourdon and a short drive to the Grottes de Cougnac, with its prehistoric paintings.
Leave the Bouriane for the wild Gramat Causse, past flocks of Gramat sheep, their eyes ringed in black, and pretty villages of golden limestone, as you head for stunning Rocamadour, a near vertical town that was once one of the most important pilgrimage sites in France. You can walk to Rocamadour from your hotel or B&B and also into the Alzou Valley.
Today you have another opportunity to explore Rocamadour and the area around it in detail. Drive on narrow, hilly, winding roads with almost no traffic to the beautiful villages of Loubressac and Autoire, head for the Gouffre de Padirac, a large sinkhole with an underground lake and river. There is a delightful walk from Loubressac that takes you into an area little visited by tourists. You can drive as far as St-Cère and the Château de Castelnau.
See the very best of the upper Dordogne River valley. Enjoy vistas of walnut groves and cornfields, towering rocks and cliffs. Visit delightful villages, some of which have been designated “Plus Beaux Villages”, and the fairy-tale Château de Fénelon. Extend your drive to Collonges-la-Rouge, where a walk takes you into the countryside. You’ll also have the chance to visit Souillac and Castelnaud castle. Depending on your accommodation, today’s destination is either Carsac or Vitrac, from where you can walk up to the beautiful town of Domme.
There are many ways to spend today. The route takes you to many of the highlights of the Dordogne Valley, including Montfort Castle, La Roque-Gageac, Beynac, and Les Milandes, which once belonged to Josephine Baker, and can be extended to Sarlat, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in France. In each location there is ample opportunity to explore on foot.
Take the long scenic route to Les Eyzies, which bills itself as the capital of prehistory because of the famous caves in the area. Visit the beautiful bastide town of Monpazier and the abbey of Cadouin, which once had its very own Holy Shroud that was eventually proven to be a fake. Walk to les Gorges d’Enfer (the Gorges of Hell) and to the village of Tayac, with its fascinating fortified church, once a stop on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Visit some of the caves around Les Eyzies, then head for Montignac to see Lascaux II, the reproduction of part of the original cave which is no longer open to visitors. Along the way explore the lovely villages of St-Amand-de-Coly and St-Léon-sur-Vézère and climb up to see the caves of La Roque-St-Christophe, which were inhabited from pre-historic times until the 16th century.
Drive to Périgueux to drop off your car. But you don’t have to go directly there - take a roundabout route and visit the Château de Hautefort, prominently featured in the recent movie Ever After. Explore the gardens and walk along some of the paths through the woods. Then continue to Périgueux or head off to other adventures.