Arrive in Rocamadour, an ancient pilgrimage site clinging spectacularly perched on the side of cliff. If there’s time, stroll along the narrow medieval streets and visit the Chapel of Notre Dame, our Lady of Rocamadour, to whom sailors lost at sea prayed for rescue.
Today’s walk takes you through surprisingly remote countryside, along the same routes that pilgrims to Rocamadour would have taken a thousand years ago. Pass through dramatic river canyons, pause to visit a 14-th century mill, and finally arrive in the village of Lacave.
Walk past the dramatic setting of Belcastel, relax in the park of the Chateau la Treyne. You’ll also walk through delightful villages on your way to Souillac, today’s destination. Souillac is a bustling town with a delightful Romanesque church. Soak in the atmosphere of the Café de Paris, where refugee poets and artists congregated during the war.
Start the day with a short taxi transfer to Rouffillac, where you’ll start your walk. Head along the river and into the hills, past two castles, one of which is the spectacular Château de Fénelon. Pass through Groléjac, with its picturesque medieval streets. Today’s destination is Carsac-Aillac, a lovely village near the junction of the Dordogne and the Enéa Rivers. Terrain: 30% trail/gravel road, 30% bike path, 40% quiet paved road
You have several choices today. Explore Carsac, with its 16th- and 17th-century houses topped by lauze roofs and a delightful 11th-century Romanesque church. Enjoy a walk to Aillac or follow a bicycle path to Sarlat, one of the best preserved medieval towns in France. Spend a second night in Carsac. Terrain: 80% trail/gravel road, 20% quiet paved road or 100% bike path
Walk past Montfort Castle looming over the Dordogne. Arrive in Domme, a beautiful bastide town perched on a rocky crag over the river with a three-star view. Domme's medieval gates still stand, its maze of old streets invite you to wander, and you can even visit the cave where the town's inhabitants hid during the Hundred Years' War. Terrain: 50% trail/gravel road, 50% quiet paved road
Enjoy castles and stunning scenery today. Pass Castelnaud, crowning the limestone cliffs over the river. Visit the fascinating museum of medieval warfare in the castle. Wander through the beautiful gardens of the Château de Marqueyssac, then follow an ancient route to La Roque-Gageac, considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. You’ll spend two nights here. Terrain: 70% trail/gravel road, 30% quiet paved road
Today stroll through La Roque-Gageac, built into the face of an overhanging cliff riddled with troglodyte caves. Head to Beynac and climb up winding, cobblestone streets to the château, once owned by mighty Richard the Lionheart, that looms over the Dordogne and glares at its rival Castelnaud on the other side. Terrain: 30% trail/gravel road, 70% quiet paved road
Follow wooded lanes to Les Milandes, a Renaissance château once owned by Josephine Baker, the famous black American entertainer who became the toast of Paris during the 1920s. Today's destination is St- Cyprien, clinging to a hillside above the Dordogne. Its old houses cluster around a massive 12th-century church that was once part of an Augustinian abbey. At the end of the afternoon, you will be transfered by a short taxi ride to Les Eyzies-de -Tayac. Terrain: 75% trail/gravel road, 25% quiet paved road
Today you have two options, you can start the day with a short taxi ride to St Cyprien and walk through the quiet countryside and past artists’ studios to Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. This river valley is the land of the most famous prehistoric sites. If you prefer not to take a taxi, you have the option to visit two famous caves : Grotte de Font-de-Gaume and Grotte de Combarelles. Important note: both caves are closed on Saturdays, reservations are not
possible, limited number of tickets per day, first come first serve. You will also have the option for two walks from your hotel, the Circuit des gorges de l'enfer where you’ll explore a bit of the Vezere valley and reach La Grotte du Grand Roc, with its unique rock formations, which resemble coral. Or perhaps choose to visit the Village of Tayac, a short easy stroll that can be extended to include a more rigorous walk with a small portion of one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Terrain: 80% trail/gravel road, 20% quiet paved road or 40% trail/gravel road, 60% quiet paved road
Explore the Musée National de Préhistoire before departing for home or for other destinations. The nine-day tour begins in Souillac. On the seven-day tour you begin in Souillac and end at La Roque Gageac.
"The trails were a good mix of level of difficulty with breathtaking scenery! Service was excellent! The Randonnée staff in the home office was also excellent in answering all my questions, getting us set up with the tour, providing information and in general providing excellent service with a pleasant attitude. The trip was really great. I loved it. It was a wonderful experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!"
- L Devine