Explore pretty Dordogne and Lot by rail
The picturesque region of Dordogne is adorned with pretty villages, unique history and many attractions. Take in the beautiful countryside and relax on a journey aboard a heritage train and a river cruise.
You meet your group at Rail Discoveries' dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras International, departing on a Eurostar service from London to Paris, where you join the train to Souillac. Here transfer by coach to our hotel, La Vielle Auberge & Le Quercy Hotel.
This morning is free to stroll through Souillac's Old Town where you can find the treasured 19th century market hall. Listed by the French National Heritage Fund as an important historical monument in 2004, the hall is one of many historic buildings in the town centre.
Continue to Château des Milandes this afternoon, a historic castle built in 1489. As the former home of Josephine Baker, the famous music hall performer who first sashayed onto the Parisian stage during the roaring 1920s, the property has kept her spirit alive by presenting the preserved art deco rooms alongside exhibitions of her notorious costumes.
Enjoy a morning visit to nearby Sarlat which occupies a delightful setting lying between two hills. Mansions, built in warm golden sandstone, have been lovingly restored to their former glory and are clustered together in a maze of narrow alleyways and shady courtyards. Today is market day, which provides the perfect opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals among colourful stalls selling a variety of outstanding fresh local produce including cheeses, sausages, fruit and vegetables, as well as the foie gras d'oies for which the region is famous. This afternoon, continue with an excursion to the pretty town of La Roque-Gageac on the banks of the Dordogne.
La Roque-Gageac's beauty is breathtaking, melding stunning architecture with glorious French countryside to create a sense of serenity. With its medieval layout of winding cobbled streets, La Roque-Gageac has retained an oldworld feel you are sure to enjoy. Admire the ochre coloured houses, sheltering under dramatically overhanging cliffs, before setting off along the Dordogne in a traditional flat-bottomed Gabare boat, cruising past five of the valley's most beautiful châteaux.
Today's first stop is Martel, once a medieval 'city' of seven towers, it now is classed as a picturesque village. The town became very prosperous following the Hundred Years War, leading its wealthy citizens to construct beautiful buildings that you can still see today as you stroll through the ancient streets. Of particular note are the Palais de la Raymondi and the Maison Fabri, both of which are steeped in local history. Whilst the Maison Fabri is where Richard the Lionheart's brother Henry Short Coat died, the Palais was built by Martel's tax collector in 1330 as a status symbol, but was soon repurposed as a belfry.
After time to explore, we take a ride on the restored Truffadou Steam Train as it travels along a scenic line, formerly used to transport truffles, to the village of St Denis. First opened in 1889 to great success, the line ran scheduled services for almost a hundred years. Restored to working condition in the 1990s, it continues to delight tourists, remaining one of the very few heritage lines to run at its complete original length. Later, you head to the pilgrimage site of Rocamadour, named for St Amadour, a devout hermit whose uncorrupted body was discovered in a cave in 1166. Tourists and worshippers come here to also witness the Black Virgin, an 11th century statue of the Virgin Mary carved in walnut that is still on display in the small 12th century chapel of St Michel. On Day 5 you are at leisure to enjoy some lastminute sightseeing. The current abbey and church of Sainte-Marie de Souillac is one of the town's architectural highlights and dates back to the twelfth century, although damage sustained during the Hundred Years War and a subsequent fire led to extensive rebuilding in the seventeenth century.
Tonight you sit down to a farewell meal of authentic French cuisine, accompanied by a local band, undeniably a wonderful way to spend your last evening.
Today you bid farewell, or perhaps 'au revoir', to France. Travel by train to Paris for the Eurostar service back to St Pancras International.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
Explore pretty Dordogne and Lot by rail