Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Dordogne, France Walking Holiday
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Highlights

  • Walking through quaint hilltop villages graded as some of ‘The Most Beautiful Villages’ in France
  • Strolling through mixed woodland walking through areas rich in oak, chestnut and conifer
  • Viewing awe-inspiring medieval chateaux and fabulous views across the surrounding countryside
  • Enjoying the traditional, local French wine and cuisine at your overnight hotels and in local restaurants

Explore the very best of rural France with a self-guided walking tour in the Upper Dordogne Valley, an area of wonderful food, wine, and walks through quaint and unspoilt villages and towns.

As you follow trails through the countryside you will discover the perfect rural landscapes of the this region and some of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’ (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France). Stroll, relax and soak in the local traditions and timelessness of this characterful area.

The Upper Dordogne region is a walker’s delight, from hill top chateaux to woodland forest walking, you will be surprised at every turn by the variety and contrast of the walking here. Feast your eyes on the fabulous views from the quiet hill top villages and taste the local rich, red wines and mouth-watering French cuisine from the local family run hotels en-route. Dordogne is famous for its truffles and foie gras so make sure you build in time for a long gourmet lunch or dinner each day.

Begin in the little market town of Meyssac and walk along lush country lanes to Collonges La Rouge, a village built entirely of red sandstone. This tour also has two days built into it so that you have a choice to relax and explore picturesque Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne and Loubressac, or take optional loop walks and discover mixed woodlands and vineyards, perhaps with an obligatory wine tasting!

Continue towards the medieval village of Carennac with its typical Quercy architecture and visit the impressive underground limestone caverns of Gouffre de Padirac, before spending your last two nights in the enchanting village of Loubressac, which has fantastic views from its hillside setting.

An Australian travel writer published a great illustrative article after walking our Hilltop Villages of the Dordogne tour; read about Gorging in the Dordogne on the Sydney Morning Herald's "Traveller" website.

DAY 1: Arrive Meyssac

Arrive at your accommodation which is located in the small market town of Meyssac. Why not rest and relax by the lovely swimming pool after your travels?


The closest train station is Brive which is 25km away, you can take a taxi to your overnight accommodation from the station (cost approx. 45 euros) or the hotel can arrange a transfer if booked in advance. 


Dinner & Overnight: Relais du Quercy**, Meyssac


Your hotel has a swimming pool and a cosy restaurant, where you can
feast on regional specialities such as ‘tournedos sauce aux morilles,
cote de veau aux noix and cassoulet au confit de canard’.


DAY 2: Loop Walk via Collonges-la-Rouge

Today’s walk visits one of the ‘Les Plus Beux Villages de France’ -  an association of the most beautiful villages in France. However, first you’ll walk along the red sandstone tracks particular to this area, passing 'La Chaise du Diable' the Devils Chair, full of myths about cats and witches! The path then meanders through lush green country paths and shady woodland to the medieval hamlet of Collonges-la-Rouge where its turreted houses, built entirely of blazing red sandstone, emerge flamboyantly from the green pastures of the Limousin.


Perhaps take a dip in the hotel’s pool after your day’s walking exertions. This evening you may choose to eat at your hotel once more or choose an alternate restaurant. 


Overnight: Relais de Quercy**, Meyssac

Walk: 13km

DAY 3: Walk to Beaulieu Sur Dordogne

This morning you will be provided with a short transfer to the village of Curemonte with its three churches and weekly farmers’ market. It is situated high in the hills and provides splendid views over the surrounding countryside. The walk ends with a delightful wander down an ancient cobbled mule track to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, a village situated right on the Dordogne River. Settle in at your hotel and enjoy a well-deserved dinner of French cuisine.

Dinner & Overnight: Hotel Les Charmilles**, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

This small and friendly hotel has eight rooms, each charmingly named after a variety of strawberry!


Walk:  12km


DAY 4: Circular Walk or Rest Day

You have the choice of relaxing and exploring the pretty village of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, perhaps taking a riverside stroll, or opting for a 12km loop walk in the stunning surrounding countryside. Dinner is not included tonight, as you will no doubt wish to try one of the many excellent local restaurants in the town.


Overnight: Hotel Les Charmilles**, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne


Walk:  12km


DAY 5: Walk to Carennac

Continue deep into the Upper Dordogne Valley towards Carennac, passing small hamlets and walnut orchards along woodland trails and quiet lanes. Carennac is one of the most attractive villages along the river with its typical Quercy architecture. Here you have the option to hire kayaks and paddle along the river past the spectacular cliffs at Gluges (arrangements to be made and paid for locally).


Dinner & Overnight: Hostellerie Fenellon**, Carennac


This hotel offers a warm welcome to walkers with comfortable and simply decorated rooms, with an excellent restaurant serving regional delights.


Walk: 16km


DAY 6: Walk to Loubressac

Your walk today takes you to the Gouffre de Padirac which is an underground maze of majestic tunnels and stalactites. You can take an optional boat ride here to discover the underground beauty of the cave system. Follow the sandy tracks to the fortified village of Loubressac which is dramatically situated on a rocky outcrop with sweeping views over the Bave Valley and towers of St Cere.


Dinner & Overnight: Relais de Castelnau***, Loubressac 


Your accommodation tonight enjoys a quiet location in lovely Loubressac. Facilities include a swimming pool, terrace bar and gourmet restaurant.


Walk: 14km


DAY 7: Circular Walk around Loubressac or Rest Day

Depart Loubressac via a steep grassy lane with panoramic views over the Bave Valley and to the Chateau de Castelnau. Then enter the very scenic Autoire Valley where cliffs tower above you & the tumbling waters of La Cascade lie ahead. An energetic climb brings you to the view point over the valley where you'll follow a medieval & tranquil route to Loubressac. Options to La Cascade and Chateau des Anglais are recommended.


Enjoy a delicious dinner (included) at your hotel this evening and raise a toast to the wonderful walking and gastronomy of your week in France!


Dinner & Overnight: Relais de Castelnau***, Loubressac


Walk: 12 km


DAY 8 Onward travel

Check out of your hotel and bid farewell to the beautiful Dordogne. Onward travel.

Accommodation

We specifically select your accommodation in local, family run 2* hotels, to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay in France.  They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. Some of our accommodations have swimming pools (although not always guaranteed), so remember to take your swimming costume/suit for a relaxing dip at the end of the day!


Alternate accommodation

During high season, you might be booked into  different accommodations which are not listed in the description, and the start or end of some of your walking routes may be slightly altered. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described and details will all be sent to you.


Additional Nights and Extensions

You can add additional nights at any point along the walk, please contact us for more details and we can add this to your booking.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Solo Walkers

This tour is available for solo walkers but we would recommend that you are experienced in walking and navigating alone. If you are travelling solo the tour is slightly more expensive as some costs are not shared.


Meals

A delicious breakfast is included each morning and 5 dinners are included on Days 1, 3, 5, 6 & 7.  On the Days 2 and 4 dinner is not included which gives you the option to choose from one of the many local eateries.


You can buy lunch in the village patisserie before you depart each morning, or buy it en route. Your route notes have details for each day including rest stops and places of interest.



 

 

 




Relais du Quercy - Meyssac

Your hotel has a swimming pool and a cosy restaurant, where you can feast on regional specialities such as ‘tournedos sauce aux morilles, cote de veau aux noix and cassoulet au confit de canard’.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Le Beaulieu - Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

Ideally located in a peaceful, rustic setting this hotel is just a 5 minute stroll from the centre of town


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hostellerie Fenelon - Carennac

This hotel offers a warm welcome to walkers with comfortable and simply decorated rooms and an excellent restaurant serving regional delights (dinner is included tonight).


 

 

 


 

 

 




Relais de Castelnau - Loubressac

Your accommodation for tonight is set in a quiet location and facilities include a swimming pool, terrace bar and gourmet restaurant.


 

 

 

How to Book

This trip is available to start any day of the week between April and October. To make a provisional reservation select "Book". Option & Extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


Because every tour we book is unique availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:


  • You provisionally book the tour you are interested in for your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.
  • We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options
    and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5
    working days).
  • If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or
    an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.

Time of Year

Summer months July and August are likely to have hot days with temperatures rising into high twenties/start thirties degrees Celsius. We would therefore encourage you to travel in spring, early summer and autumn when the temperatures are more pleasant for walking.


If travelling during high summer, please make sure to always carry at least 2L of water per person, wear sunscreen and a sunhat.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Grade & Terrain

This walking tour is graded moderate. Daily walks are a mixture of country paths and forest trails. A couple of days are long and some of the trails have some short steep climbs. You should be a regular walker and have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this tour.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

Some of the routes on this walk are not way-marked but we provide you with detailed route notes and maps for you to follow.


Baggage Transfers

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).


Accommodation Location

During high season, you might be booked into different accommodations which are not listed in the description, and the start or end of some of your walking routes may be slightly altered. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described and details will all be sent to you.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care


General Information

The distances and ascents/decents are approximations of the recommended routes.

Please be prepared by packing all nessersary items, for example. proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.


Getting to Meyssac

Your first night’s accommodation in Meyssac is  approximately 20km from the closest train station at Brive-la-Gaillard. It will cost approximately 45 euros in a taxi to your hotel and the journey will take around 20 minutes depending on the time of day.


By Air: There is an airport in Brive-la-Gaillard However the choice of flights is limited. There is also an airport in Toulouse which is serviced by many low cost airlines  including Easyjet and Flybe.  Alternatively you can fly to Paris and take the train to Brive-la-Gaillard from here.


By Train: From Toulouse Airport you can take a shuttle bus to the centre and and then a train (2hrs 15mins) to Brive-la-Gaillard.


For more information about train times and schedules please visit the SNCF website.  


Getting from Loubressac

You can book a taxi  to Brive-la-Gaillard  (55 mins) and then all onward travel can be taken from there.

It is also possible to take a less expensive taxi fare to the train station in Puybruns which is a 15 minute ride from Loubressac and then a train to Brive-la-Gaillarde. However please bear in mind that there are only about 3-4 trains per day. You can ask the hotel to call a taxi or we can assist in booking one in advance.


Getting to Meyssac

Your first night’s accommodation in Meyssac is  approximately 20km
from the closest train station at Brive-la-Gaillard. It will cost
approximately 45 euros in a taxi to your hotel and the journey will take
around 20 minutes depending on the time of day.


By Air: There is an airport in Brive-la-Gaillard However the choice of flights is limited. There is also an airport in Toulouse which is serviced by many low cost airlines  including Easyjet and
Flybe.  Alternatively you can fly to Paris and take the train to
Brive-la-Gaillard from here.


By Train: From Toulouse Airport you can take a shuttle bus to the centre and and then a train (2hrs 15mins) to Brive-la-Gaillard.


For more information about train times and schedules please visit the SNCF website.  


Getting from Loubressac

You can book a taxi  to Brive-la-Gaillard  (55 mins) and then all onward travel can be taken from there.

It is also possible to take a less expensive taxi fare to the train
station in Puybruns which is a 15 minute ride from Loubressac and then a
train to Brive-la-Gaillarde. However please bear in mind that there are
only about 3-4 trains per day. You can ask the hotel to call a taxi or
we can assist in booking one in advance.

Included

  • 7 Nights in 2* handpicked & traditional hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 5 Dinners
  • Daily luggage transport
  • Information pack, route notes and maps
  • 24-hour phone assistance

Excluded

  • Travel to Meyssac
  • Travel from Loubressac
  • Dinners on Days 2 & 4
  • Lunches
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s) if applicable
  • Solo walker supplement if applicable
  • Airport/taxi transfers
  • Additional nights during the walk

we are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or for more advice from our team.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Dordogne is extremely popular during May/June/August/September. You will find up to date availability on our website.

How fit do I need to be?

This walking tour is graded Moderate.  Daily walks are a mixture of country paths and forest trails.  A couple of days are long and some of the trails have some short steep climbs.  You should be a regular walker and have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this tour.

How do the baggage transfers work?

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).

What equipment do I need?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

When is the best time of year?

The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and September when the weather is fair. Spring and autumn are also very good times for walking as the air is a little cooler for walking and the wild flowers are in bloom.

What about the navigation?

Some of the routes on this walk are not way-marked but we provide you with detailed route notes and maps for you to follow.

Which is the best airport?

Brive-la-Gaillard is the closest airport, however Toulouse is better serviced by many low cost airlines including easyjet and flybe from the UK. Alternatively you can take a flight to Paris and the train to Brive (4hrs) from here.From Toulouse airport you can take a shuttle bus and then a train (2hrs 15mins) to Brive.  From here you can take a taxi to your accommodation near Meyssac.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Great experience

4

Great holiday - distances not too long, villages very beautiful and pitoresk. Touristic, but not too much. Hotels were good, pity there was no airco in the rooms. Some steep climbs, but unfortunately almost all in the woods, so no views after the hard work.

Sanne

Amsterdam

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Fantastic walking in beautiful countryside

5

The walks are easy with great views every day and a pretty village to explore as well. Beautiful countryside. Accommodation was excellent with great meals. All hotel staff were very pleasant and helpful. Great to have two night stays, means you don't have to pack up every morning.

Sandra

Port Macquarie, Australia

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Probably not repeat - great, but once is enough.

4

This is a good "introductory-level" hike in beautiful French countryside. Not at all strenuous. The route guidance is exceptionally good, especially when used in conjunction with GPS. Recommend that Macs literature makes it clearer that Gouffre de Padirac (which is an amazing experience) is actually on the route and that it is well worth the effort and time it takes to do. The hotel rooms were adequate and the last hotel (Loubressac) was particularly good. All meals were great. Baggage delivered as expected - normal for Macs.

NGSafari

USA

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Great experience

5

Walks were fairly well documented. Could have used a little more guidance in places. Food? oh my, it was fabulous. Unfortunately I ate more than I walked off each day. Weren't many places for food supplies or cafes along the route (we were warned). I had envisioned stopping at a cafe mid day for a coffee or glass of wine but not much opportunity for that.

Norm

Sherwood, Oregon

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Wonderful walking tour through peaceful countryside

5

Wonderful walks across peaceful countryside in the lovely Dordogne. Beautiful villages, accommodations and food!

JPJ

California

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Magical

5

This was a wonderful trip. Every place we went to was just magical and beautiful. The Dordogne seemed largely under populated and we saw hardly any other tourists, maybe because we were traveling in April. All hotel staff were helpful and friendly. Few spoke English, so it's good to know a little French. We highly recommend the GPS app Ephigeny AND the Macs guide, as we relied on both. It would be great to know more about the history of the area as you go. Highly recommend!

Jody

Salt Lake City, Utah

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I would recommend this product

4

We thought the accommodation was adequate, the meals fantastic ( huge and delicious, much appreciated after a day's walking!) Generally the organisation was good, however there was considerable confusion regarding the pre-arranged transfer on day three. Had we known the hotelier was responsible for this, it would have made things much easier!

Davo

Adelaide

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Hilltop Villages with our grandson was a great trip

5

We booked a self-guided walking trip in France for us and our 12 year old grandson. Macs gave us great personalised service and communications before the trip and provided excellent information and maps. All the arrangements worked without a hitch and we were very happy with our trip. We came across some other walkers using another company and they commented that our information and maps were far superior to theirs, and the next time we saw them they had already investigated the Macs website.

LHBfans

Australia

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Experiences in the Dordogne

4

Most days the walk was picturesque and enjoyable as the instructions were very precise and able to be followed. The final day, the Loubressac loop walk was a wonderful experience and a high point to finish the trip. The day into Carennac was spoilt by inaccurate directions and the final section of the walk was ludicrous as there were no helpful directions once on top of the hill to get you to the destination. The same hill climb was repeated as the start of the next days walk. Why? It appeared to have just been added to the previous day at the last minute for no good reason. It made the walk 5 kms longer than what the print out stated. The trail on day 1 was not up to standard, in many parts the surface was shifting and dangerous as it was slippery and slimy. The walk could not be enjoyed as each step had to be closely observed in order to avoid a fall. The food was fantastic and the hospitality was consistently of a very high standard.

rich

Melbourne

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A relaxing week in the Dordogne

4

A beautiful walking route through the peaceful French countryside, along quiet lanes/tracks between pretty medieval villages. The trail goes up and down quite a bit, but nothing to difficult if you are reasonably fit (I'm not a regular walker) and there is usually a welcoming swimming pool at the end of each day. Good quality accommodation and food. I found the notes to be accurate and the walk is fine if you are solo traveller. Beautiful weather when I did it in early September.

Greg

London

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Hilltop Villages of the Dordogne

4.5 18

100.0

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