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Exploring Dordogne on Foot

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From£1,116
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From£1,116
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Homepage > France > Exploring Dordogne on Foot
  • Duration: 7 Nights
  • Difficulty: Level 2
  • Tour Type: Self Guided
  • Availability: Daily from 1st April to 30th September
  • Location: Souillac
Tour Details

Welcome to our Dordogne walking holiday in France. This particular hiking vacation in France is in the Dordogne and Quercy region and has been graded as a level 2 self-guided walking holiday. Quercy is a large limestone plateau cut out by the valleys of the Dordogne, Lot and Aveyron rivers. Many other streams that source from the Causses, part of the iconic Massif Central, arid stretches of land covered with sparse meadows and grazing flocks of sheep. To the north, Haut Quercy, formed by the Causses de Martel and the Causses de Gramat, leans against the Massif Central.

For the most part of this tour walking in the Dordogne, this hike crosses through the Dordogne River Valley, from Souillac to Saint-Cere, at times straying to the Causse de Gramat, to discover magnificent sites such as the valley of Ouysse, the hillside town of Rocamadour, Castelnau, and the Cirque d’Autoire.

No hiking trip walking in the Dordogne would be complete without a visit to the Gouffre de Padirac’s underground river, a strange and marvellous underworld.

Though your days will be spent investigating the wilderness of the region, your evenings won’t let you forget that this is one of the main centres of gourmet cuisine and gentle living.

Starting Location

Souillac

Price Includes

  • 7 nights bed and breakfast in selected 2 / 3star hotels
  • 7 Dinners
  • Information Pack
  • Navigation by Smart Phone App
  • Maps and walking instructions
  • Luggage transfers
  • Taxi transfers : Calès–pont de l’Ouysse, Bretenoux-Beaulieu sur Dordogne, Beaulieu sur Dordogne -Biars station

Price Excludes

  • Transport before and after tour
  • Single Rooms
  • Flights
  • Entrance to attractions
  • Travel Insurance
Trip Info

Route Characteristics

Walks of 4 to 6 hours each day. Some stages could be more than 20km and rolling uplands, ascents are mainly gradual than steep. We recommend some level of fitness for this tour.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Walking that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.

Itinerary

Day 1Arrival at SOUILLAC

Souillac is a small, prosperous town built around a Benedictine abbey on the banks of the Dordogne river. Spend the day visiting the Musée des Automates, and the remarkable abbey with three cupolas on pendentives, finely carved capitals and a statue of the prophet Isaiah, a masterpiece of Romanesque art. Stroll in the old historic city near the abbey.

Day 2SOUILLAC – CALES 11.8 miles 19 km.

Don’t miss to visit Souillac and its old town before beginning your walk. You will go to the Dordogne River and continue along before entering into a wood and joining the village of Pinsac, some kilometres further. There you will cross the Dordogne and will admire the castle of Treyne which is built on the edge of cliffs and dominates the river; it is a luxury hotel today. You will walk through woods along the river and will reach the small but picturesque village of Le Bastit which possesses a strange castle. After touring it you will continue the way through stunted oaks woods, cultivated fields, some with tobacco and large areas covered with grass where sheep flocks graze.

Day 3CALES – ROCAMADOUR 11.2 miles 18 km

First by taxi to the Pont de l’Ouysse where the Belcastel chateau rises in the distance. You will visit the Grottes de Lacave (1 hour and a half tour) and make your way up the Ouysse valley (a remarkable site in the Lot department), wild and mysterious and spotted with old watermills, including the 13th century fortified watermill of Cougnaguet where everything works as it used to! The subterranean waters of the Gouffre de Cabouy rise above ground here as the source of the Ouysse. You will continue the hike through the Alzou Valley and will arrive in Rocamadour for the night.

Day 4ROCAMADOUR – SAINT SOZY 12.5 miles 20 km.

This morning will begin with a quiet visit to Rocamadour city. This is the second most visited place in France after le Mont Saint Michel. Once a revered site among the Christian community, Rocamadour remains a holy place for many pilgrims, notably those on the path to Santiago de Compostella. Clinging to the cliffs of the Alzou canyon, the medieval village has many interesting facets: vestiges of a former castle and a hospital for pilgrims, Basilica of Saint Sauveur and the pilgrimage chapel of the Black Virgin, narrow old streets lined with beautiful gates and homes dating back to the Middle Ages.

You will leave the city through l’Hospitalet, a village built on the cliffs’ edge, and pass through Le Causse and the picturesque villages of Mayrinhac-le-Francal and Bougayrou to arrive in Meyronne, an old cliff side village that looks out over the river, yet sits in the shadow of an old fortified castle. You will cross the river to reach the pleasant village of Saint Sozy one kilometre later.

Day 5SAINT SOZY – CARENNAC 14.3 miles 23 km.

You will walk back to Dordogne River, climb to the church of Meyronne and continue through the countryside to another loop of the river. Then you will ascend on the causses (a dry limestone plateau) and continue through woods towards the lovely village of Montvalent, the hamlet of Veyssou. From this point, you will look out over the beautiful panorama of the Dordogne Valley. You will pass through the forests towards the small villages of Veysse, Floirac and Mezels before arriving in the charming village of Carennac.

Day 6 CARENNAC – LOUBRESSAC 11.8 miles 19 km.

The village of Carennac has built from the 11th century onward after a priory was founded by the abbey of Cluny. The village has a number of houses dating back to the Middle Ages, and a beautiful 12th century Norman church called St Pieter’s. Its cloister, half-Romanesque half-Flamboyant-Gothic, shelters a remarkable 16th century entombment. You will leave the village and walk across the Gramat Causse to the Padirac Gouffre. Here you will be treated to a boat tour that begins 103 metres below ground and takes you along 500 metres of river.

Next will come to a guided walking tour through the vast cavernous galleries, including the Grand Dome that reaches 94 meters in height! You will exit again into open air and continue your walk to Loubressac, a beautiful village opposite the feudal castle of Castelnau, a very imposing 12th to 15th century fortress and one the finest examples of the military architecture of the Middle-Ages.

Day 7LOUBRESSAC – BRETENOUX 10 miles 16 km.

In the morning, you will visit the charming village of Loubressac, with its narrow, flowered streets, ancient houses and its castle. After leaving Loubressac, you will walk to a beautiful site: the Cirque d’Autoire. From the top of the cliffs, a spectacular view of the Bave Valley spreads before you. You will walk down to the village of Autoire, nestled in the hollow of the valley lined by impressive cliffs. You will descend towards the Chateau de Castelnau, one of the most beautiful fortified castles in France.

After having toured the chateau you will continue on to the charming village of Bretenoux, which was built up around the Place des Consuls. A taxi will now take you to your destination for the day, Beaulieu sur Dordogne,a lovely medieval town situated on a wide bend in the river built around the 12th century abbey-church of St Pierre which belonged to an 12th-13th Benedictine abbey.

Day 8Departure

Taxi transfer to the Bretenoux/Biars train station after breakfast

Map

How to get there

By Plane to Paris or Toulouse. Then by train to Souillac. Souillac is on the Paris-Toulouse line and is about 5 hours from Paris Austerlitz station. To return, transfer by taxi to the Biars station to join Brives on the Paris-Toulouse line.

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